If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many

August Guest Bloggers

8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe

August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Finding an Audience

Phyllis A. Whitney
Phyllis A. Whitney was one of my favorite authors. I read her young adult novels as I grew up and her romantic suspense later in life. In particular, I read her books on writing and wanted to be like her. I remember that she started writing short pieces for religious markets. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to follow in her footsteps and made an amazing discovery.

I began writing short devotional services for my church. Eventually, with collaborators, I tackled writing original one act musicals for our annual Christmas presentations. The experience has been enriching for me spiritually, but it has also taught me how important it is for an author to find an audience.

Many writers participate in critique groups that are beneficial in helping improve plots, characters, and techniques. A critique group consists of peers who evaluate a work based on its acceptability for the market place. This review is valuable and particularly helpful in assisting writers with developing works for consideration by agents and publications.

A critique group is different from an audience. An audience reads or watches a writer's work because they choose it. Perhaps audience members will have different reasons for making their choice: (1) because they want to read/see it; (2) because they felt obligated to read/see it; and (3) because they have time to kill and the author's work offers something to occupy that time.

The audience may have different reactions to the author's work. Perhaps they will share or not share their reactions with the author. But, their presence in the author's life is valuable. Even reluctance to share is a reaction an author needs to evaluate.

First, an audience reminds the writer why he/she writes. The audience is the person/people the writer envisions as he/she writes. The audience is the story's mirror image.

Second, the audience's attitude toward the piece tells the writer something different from the critique group's opinions. It lets the author know how his work affects someone who made the decision to read or see it. It may be gratifying or grounding, but either can help the author improve. The audience reaction comes from personal preference more than a business perspective. Of course, it doesn't hurt if the audience is simply being supportive. Every author needs groupies!

Third, the audience gives the author purpose. So often the solitary pursuit of writing seems to have no outcome. Only if an agent agrees to represent the work or a publisher sends a contract does the author feel validated and can tell his/her relatives and acquaintances that he/she has a "job."

If you find an audience that wants/needs/requests/demands to see and react to your work, you'll have a job--perhaps more of a job than you expected. If you write well enough to affect hearts and minds, so that your audience returns to subsequent efforts, you have made a substantial achievement.

So, who's your audience or where might you find one?


Jim Jackson said...

Our Salad Bowl Saturday guest blogger on 4/6, Ricky Bush, talks about his efforts at finding an audience. I’ve always had a target audience in mind for my novels and based on early reactions my analysis seems accurate – unfortunately that group of people also seem less engaged in the social aspects of promoting a book, so it is like pulling teeth to get someone who loves the book to spend the few minutes to post an online review.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Jim, you make a very good point--knowing your audience only helps identify the people you want to reach with promotion. Motivating your audience and soliciting their support is another blogging topic. You've given me a lot to consider. Thanks!

Gloria Alden said...

Good blog, Paula, with much to ponder and think about. I didn't feel I could rightfully claim I was a writer until I had a short story published in an anthology even though I had been writing for years before that. Now with my first book published and selling well for a self-published book, I'm getting validation that I am indeed a writer by the positive comments I'm getting. But am I getting reviews on Amazon? Only a few, I think, although I haven't checked for over a month.

carla said...

Very good point here. Writing is communication. Pen to paper, part one. Readers READ you, part two. We must never forget that part!

E. B. Davis said...

I wish critique group assessed work for acceptability in the marketplace, but I don't think that they do. Yes, they may do line edits and such to bring the writing up to professional standards.

But from my point of view, I think acceptability in the marketplace takes place in the agent/publisher venue where the viability of getting a manuscript to market is considered. Target markets are discussed and how to sell the script to the public. My audience are men and women like me--and the only reason I'm on the social media is due to my writing. I'm not sure how I'm going to meet people like me. I have ideas, though.

What's wrong with the picture? A lot of writers are not particularly extroverted. To go the marketing mile, I'll have to reinvent myself somehow.

Kara Cerise said...

Good blog, Paula. I think it's important not to rely entirely on one group for feedback. I imagine a few writers have had the eye opening experience of writing for an audience that is different than originally thought.