And Your Readers Are?

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, Learning, Reading, writing 2 Comments

By Lynn Hobbs

Years ago I was taught to write to a certain group selected to be your target market. Various writing workshops and writing conferences included this type of training. Age and gender or ages and genders were to be strictly adhered to for whatever you were writing. Consistency was of utmost importance.

The argument was believable, and presented to sway the author to the standards of a secular writing organization.

For example, you enjoy writing mysteries. After a few books are published, and your readers continue reading your latest work; you get a sudden urge to write a western novel set in the 1800’s.

If you do, all of your readers who love mysteries will find another mystery author to follow. You lose those readers, and the new readers you need are enjoying the established western author they already have. Your new western novel may not be widely read.

As a Christian author, I have Christian standards that secular authors don’t, and I always pray for guidance before I write. My readers are male and female, and include a wide range of ages.

I have attended writing conferences from both sides. Secular in the first years of my writing, and after discovering I was the only Christian writer in the group, I quickly left and chose Christian writing groups and conferences. No more secular, but I did learn a lot of writing basics.

A new author can listen to a secular group, but they miss out on what Christian writing is all about….and it’s for all readers, not a select group.

Besides writing Christian fiction, I felt led to write the inspiring, true story of the life on my mother. “Lillie, A Motherless Child” is about her entire life with 16 siblings during the Great Depression in Houston, Texas. Her own mother died when she was seven. I give God the glory, the book won 1st place in biography in 2016 by the Texas Association of Authors. The book had pictures, recipes, and was published in large print.

“Large print? Why large print?”

Simple. Many of my readers requested a large print Christian book be available for their personal use and to give as gifts. I was happy with the choice, and my readers wanted more. My new Christian fiction series, The American Neighborhood Series, is also in large print. After considerable thought on the word count of a large print book, I cut back on the total amount for each of the three books. “Eyes of a Neighbor” and “Heart of a Neighbor” are published. My current work in progress is book three, “Mind of a Neighbor.”

I didn’t want a book that was too heavy, or large. A relaxing read would be awkward if you couldn’t maneuver it, and large print is soothing to read.

But don’t think because someone wants a large print book, they want the word count cut back. I learned a lesson by a review I had been given on Amazon. I don’t ask my readers to give me reviews as some authors do in e-mails, but I’ve decided to start asking. This particular review I am referring to has a special place in my heart. It was written by a 100 year old Baptist preacher. He liked the book, but thought I had hurried writing like I had a deadline to complete. He wanted a larger word count in that large print book of the new series.

My point is you cannot put readers in a particular category, and yes, we all learn daily about the craft of writing!

You cannot put readers in one particular reading category. @LynnHobbsAuthor #ACFWBlogs #writing #writetips Click To Tweet

Lynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, River Town, and Hidden Creek, and won 1st place Religious Fiction in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by Texas Association of Authors. She is also the author of Lillie, A Motherless Child, which won 1st place Biography 2016, TAA, and the American Neighborhood Series: Eyes of a Neighbor. Her current work-in-progress is Mind of a Neighbor. Visit Lynn on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Comments 2

  1. My readers really got me shook;
    they’re a mystery to me,
    as why they’d want to read my book
    ‘stead of watchin’ the TV.
    My stories are American,
    and so it makes me wonder
    about the letter from a Chinaman
    and an email from Down Under.
    I guess maybe tales do speak
    when they’re carryin’ the Word,
    but all ever really seek
    is that readers don’t get bored.
    I’d love to chat some more to you,
    but there’s a call from Timbuktu.

  2. I so agree, Lynn. I started out going to secular conferences, too and when I finally did go to a Christian conference, I was struck by the difference. While most of the writers I met at the secular conferences were very nice, they were so focused on dollar signs. Not that I don’t want my books to sell, but sales aren’t in my hands. 🙂

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