A LIVE READER IS A SPECIAL PLEASURE TO A WRITER
I am very, very honored lately by a phenomenon I had noticed, but not paid particular attention to, until I finished writing Book 1 of Pride’s Children: watching someone get hooked on my writing.
It starts on here or on Wattpad. I notice my stats go up – I’m getting more views than normal, and the list of posts visited on my blog takes on a pattern.
Here on the blog, I notice the sequence of chapters and scenes, one right after another.
On Wattpad (where I had been posting a scene twice a week), because of time constraints (it takes time to format and post a scene), I have a notice after Chapter 14, Scene 7:
If you like Pride’s Children, the whole story is up on my blog – link. Please tell me if it is inconvenient for you as a reader to switch to my blog, and I’ll reconsider posting the remainder here on Wattpad.
The special position of serials and live writing
So a reader knows I haven’t abandoned the story.
Every reader of a live serial knows that there is always a possibility the author won’t finish.
That gut feeling is balanced by knowing the work is available as soon as possible. It’s a trade-off. Many people, burned once too many times, refuse to read until the serial is finished. I don’t blame them – I’ve started reading several, only to find the author has other things to do, for whatever reason, and stopped, for now or for good, before I could finish reading.
Live writing (okay, I thought I had enough of a buffer. Hehe) was MY choice.
Readers owe writers nothing; writers owe readers…?
Until a book is published and available for sale, writers owe readers nothing. George RR Martin doesn’t ‘owe’ his readers the rest of his saga, even though they (Geek and Sundry on Youtube, Write, George, write like the wind) seem to think so, and are especially persuasive.
Writers have no more control over the real world than anyone else.
Even popular writers may find a publisher 1) having the rights to the rest of the books in a series, and 2) refusing to execute those rights. Ouch!
If you know only half the readers you need to survive will buy the next book, you may end up abandoning those readers.
What does the reader owe the writer?
There is, especially right now and for this book, no ‘contract with the reader’ made by anyone who chooses to read a few words of the story.
I, the writer, hoped to heck I’d get to this point, promised MYSELF I’d get to this point, have promised MYSELF I’ll get to Book 3 and write The End.
But readers have not made ANY promises to ME, implied or explicit. Nor should they.
Context: finishing Book 1 of Pride’s Children
But, until I had actually finished (even if there are two more books planned, plotted, outlined to the last detail, and in rough draft form), I might have been on that same list of author interruptus. For all I knew, as I slogged along for all those years, I might be incapable of finishing.
Or force majeur might have kept me from finishing. Things HAPPEN.
The pleasure of the through reader staring on the blog
But now that I AM done, I get to enjoy my readers more.
It warms the cockles of my heart.
The pattern starts showing: I may not catch the beginning, or a reader may have been here all along, reading weekly, but now the Scene pages get viewed in succession over a day or two, until I get another hit on Chapter 20, Scene 6 (End of Book 1).
Whew. Another one made it safely to To Be Continued.
The pleasure of the Wattpad reader
I notice a different pattern: if it is a Wattpadder, Chapter 14, Scene 8 shows up on my list of views, and I know ONE more reader there has made the leap, clicked on my link, and done the hard part: moving to a new venue.
Since Wattpadders read on mobiles, this requires effort. It also usually means they read the first almost-14 chapters on Wattpad – which is a kick all by itself: I am not a undemanding writer.
The through reader is better than chocolate
These readers tend not to skip or skim. If they read at all, they get immersed (several have been wonderful enough to let me know).
It is an honor to be taken seriously like that.
I DON’T NEED ANY REACTION TO BE HAPPY: seeing the pattern complete makes me squee.
The reader who makes it through silently, like my chinchilla Gizzy (if she read), is welcome.
One in ten or so takes the additional step of letting me know what their reaction is, and those comments and emails are balm to the twitchy writer’s soul while doing all these OTHER tasks necessary to make a book salable.
My request of the through reader is different
EVERY response that comes, even simply reading to the end, is welcome. Readers owe me nothing. I repeat: nothing. I grew up in the time when you didn’t even realize the writer might still be alive!
Additional possible reactions: Like. (Or vote on Wattpad.) Eventually, consider buying (though they’ve already read the story, so at this point I don’t anticipate that). If Book 1 is for sale, a review on Amazon will be welcome (I promise I’ll put a link out when that’s true, and I’m trying my darndest to make it happen asap).
But MY preferred form of response, whatever else you do, Gentle Through Reader, is that you take a moment, think very hard, and see if there is ONE person you would recommend Pride’s Children, Book 1, to (dangling preposition and all) – and get them started on Chapter 1.
If you’ve done that – and that explains why I’m getting more through readers – my humble thanks to you.
And if you read the whole thing, your vote on the prologue – keep, rewrite, delete – is welcome any time, too.