• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

What Actually Matters to Your Audience?

https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/803463438... 150w, https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/803463438... 300w, https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/803463438... 640w" sizes="(max-width: 525px) 100vw, 525px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Photo by Ed Brownson
Let’s say you were house hunting.
You’ve got two small kids, two incomes, a decent budget. You’d like something with four bedrooms so you can have room for a home office and/or craft room, a garage for tools and the car, maybe a yard for a dog.
“I’ve got the perfect place for you,” says your plastic-smiling realtor. And she takes you to a decent but otherwise nondescript home. “You have to see this.”
You look around. “Um… the yard’s sort of small,” you point out.
“Yes, yes,” she says, ushering you through the living room.
“Does it have four bedrooms?”
“Sure,” she says, getting a little impatient. “And a garage. Sort of.”
“How’s the school dis…”
“Ta-dah!” She’s standing in the bathroom, and she moves her hands with a flourish… pointing to the toilet.
You blink. “That’s a toilet.”
“It’s a PLATINUM toilet.” She looks proud enough to bust. “And the SINK is platinum, too!”
You’re staring at her like she may be high at this point. “Um… okay. But how’s the school district?”
She is now obviously frustrated. “The kitchen sink is platinum too, you know. So are some of the doorknobs.”
You are really uncomfortable. Apparently platinum is a thing around here. “It’s lovely,” you say, hoping to mollify her. “Can we, er, look at the bedrooms?”
She grudgingly gives you the full walk-through. The house is serviceable, no question, but you wish that the owner had spent the money they’d blown on platinum-plating the plumbing on fencing the yard, or built an actual garage instead of the currently open carport. So this house will definitely be a no.
What does all of this have to do with your writing, you might ask?
(Or you might not. I was piling that on with a trowel there.)
It’s about reader expectation. You want to spend as much time working out your novel as you need to, giving care and attention to the craft of the novel. That said, if you spend half an hour fretting over whether or not to use a semicolon or a colon in a sentence, you need to ask yourself if this is a genre or an audience that is going to care about your deliberations, or is this going to be the proverbial platinum toilet: something you think is amazing, but your buyer won’t care about.
Some examples of possible platinum toilets:
Description. If you’re writing literary fiction or historical fiction or some genres of romance, a certain kind of in depth and often poetic description can be very necessary, and will be missed. But if you use that same language in, say, thriller, some Westerns, some horror, and some sci-fi, you’ll find your readers looking at their watch and wondering about the next listing.
Pacing. You’ll notice with movies, stories like The Remains of the Day aren’t break-neck thrillers and The Fast and the Furious doesn’t allow for a lot of introspection. Which camp does your audience fall into? What are they in the mood for? And how can you satisfy it with your work?
Voice. It’s great to sound unique. It’s bad to become so “unique” that it’s almost unrecognizable and incoherent. This often happens with sci-fi writers who want to create their own worlds and languages, or people who want to use a lot of dialect. That said, there are some readers who want voice above all things, and some authors who have made their living on voice. I adore the voices of Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus) and William Gibson (author of Pattern Recognition and Neuromancer) for very different reasons. Again, though, these books are more about voice than they are about genre, and if you love books with sharp plots, these authors aren’t your go-tos. Be judicious.
Darlings/self-indulgences. You may have a joke you love that you’re determined to shoe-horn into place. Don’t. You probably have a scene or character that doesn’t quite fit, but you still love it, so in it stays. Really… don’t. Because it won’t seem nearly as cute to the reader, and you’ll be the one paying the price.
Bottom line: always keep the reader in mind.
You are the first reader, the creator, and the first draft is always for you. But ultimately, the purpose of publishing is to communicate with readers. The purpose of economically successful publishing is to connect with an established and growing fanbase. You’ll only be able to do this by focusing on what you do best, where it intersects with what your audience wants… and leaving the platinum plumbing to somebody else.
Who do you think is your audience?  And what do they expect from authors they enjoy?  How can you better serve them — and what are you doing that isn’t addressing what really matters to them?

About Cathy YardleyCathy Yardley is the author of eighteen novels, published with houses such as St. Martin's and Avon, as well as her self-published Rock Your Writing series. She's also a developmental editor and writing coach, helping authors complete, revise, and get their stories published. Sign up here for her newsletter to receive the free course Jumpstart Your Writing Career.Web | More Posts

"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say."
Sharon O'Brien

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