There was a time when I knew my audience innately and writing flowed to and through them but what happens if your audience changes? Recently, I’ve come to want more from my writing for the sake of audience and desire to include greater shares of readers. Albeit, this is altogether different than the audience changing, it is more closely related to an expanding horizon of readers.
How do you increase readership in a basic sense?
The answer is multi-fold. First, good writing. Second, consistent writing. Third, writing what you know and then, writing about what you know. It goes without saying, if you want readers to grow in number, your content must warrant them. In today’s quick-pace publishing landscape, how often do you see one novel from an author clearly well-edited that you thoroughly enjoyed; so much so, you research the author to learn more and find their website, blog, random media and additional materials. Taking a closer look you clearly note their Internet work is unedited and sometimes poorly written . . . I don’t know about you but when this happens to me, I’m often disparaged and curious as to the variable. It makes for a tenuous budding reader interest on my part. The best use of every writer’s spare time is to “clean it up” on the Internet – make certain everything rings with a bell of clarity and consistency, with proper editing, featuring researched topics.
A mortal literary sin I’ve fallen victim to, is lack of consistency, not in relativity of accurate data but in seeming bursts of material followed by hiatus’ that can really put-off readers. And, I know it is a folly of mine, I’ve had since elementary school. When you have good writing that is relative throughout all your media with content you can even brag about – don’t stop there. Keep your eye on the ball, keep it in play, stay the course, move the game forward.
Expressly, if you are a blogger or entertaining syndicated columnist or features writer . . . don’t shirk readers with five weeks of effort followed by three weeks of off the radar. Readers have a synergy with writers, especially columnists and/or bloggers. People used to laugh at Internet bloggers when they came on the scene, the “Oh she’s just a blogger” was a chiding remark heard round about under the breath between others. Today, it is obvious, bloggers often experience take-off careers with par excellence! And, they earn them through consistent and loyal presentation.
Of course, writing Rules 101 states, “Write what you know.” Novice authors often think, “Well, I’m from XYZ, haven’t traveled the world, only know ABC, how can I write what I know and be compelling?” It seems like a reasonable question. Writing what you know is about morphing experience for reader consumption. For instance, you reside in a small town. All around you are characters and monumental visual imagery to share with readers – so many stories – so detailed and so riveting – so much so they entertain an entire landscape for generations. In writing what you know, take the bits and create original characters, combine some stories, take out the boring part, put your genre of spin on it and create a new community that is all your own that your readers will love to share. Or, if you are from the city, with its diversity, developing universal intonation when wielding the pen should come naturally, you can speak to the world – you know its characters.
So, content, consistency and knowing your story grabs readers who, in turn, share what entertains them and expands your reach.
How do you make a pivotal shift toward greater audience without compromising your writing style?
Your style is your own. Every writer is special in that regard. Many emerging authors start out wanting to write like a previously famous author and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – eventually their own voice emerges – but for a surety, all writers have a method that is theirs. The glory of a literary or nonfiction writing career, is the art. Every keystroke belongs to the writer who strikes it – just as every brush stroke belongs to the artist holding the paint brush.
Expanding your audience isn’t a sell-out. I know a famous artist who has famous artists for relatives. His family members market their work and earn a great living doing so but my friend believes it is a sell-out to broaden audience through sales and marketing. He believes his art should speak for itself. It is the classic, starving artist syndrome and while I see both viewpoints – I know the art is best served viewed. Regardless of what comes first, art or marketplace, each is essential to the audience – without the art their is no market and without marketing their is no realization of the art’s existence. The same is true for writers. In thinking of audience, and growth, you are not duping readers – you are privileging readers to have greater awareness and access to your work!
It isn’t a sell-out to increase readership through expanding writs within and around genre, target and secondary markets.
It is my hope we all reap our greatest intended rewards regarding our art and our audience!
About the Author:
Ms. Donna L. Quesinberry is a mother, daughter, sister and friend. Donna
has five adult children and eleven grand-children. She also has two dogs
(Scuddle and Charlotte) from two states, and four cats (Cali, Garfield,
Jersey and Lucious), from three states. And, she’s thinking about getting a
goat and some laying hens in 2019. Ms. Quesinberry is also a federal proposal
and grant writer, business developer and capture administrator through dpInk
Ltd. Liability Company as Founder and CEO. She has a small publishing initiative through DonnaInk Publications, L.L.C. as CEO and President. She has an inactive partnership, Developmental Arts and Community Services, L.L.P. as a General Partner and manages an Airbnb at the J. F. Cole House (J. F. Cole Mercantile, since 1889) in the historic district of downtown Carthage, North Carolina, where she is the Proprietor / Host along with her son, Mr. Hatcher who has a work-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) post-insult fifteen years. Donna has written and published works since childhood. She has over 10,000 published stories to her name. She is a former syndicated columnist, online university course instructor, author, poet and journalist/stringer and story writer. Her second volume of a poetic series is being released fall 2018 and a year plus over-due.