It could be said that an unofficial ‘contract’ is made between an author and their reader upon the purchase of a book. The author has promised to deliver the blurb on the back of the book and prove to the reader that the monetary investment and investment of their time is a worthwhile one.
The reader ‘promises’ to continue reading and possibly recommend the book to others so long as the author provides a meaningful reading experience.
What do we mean by engagement?
In a nutshell, a reader is engaged in a story when we have created characters they have an empathy with and a plotline where they want and need to know what will happen. This is deepened by our skill as writers, we must give the reader the opportunity to visualise, feel and hear what is going on, so much that they are almost drawn into the story themselves. This ensures they keep turning the pages until they get to the end.
We should have our potential readers in mind before we begin writing, throughout the whole drafting process and afterwards as we edit and market our work. Ultimately we want our readers to be ‘lost’ in our stories and saddened when they get to the end at no longer having the book to enjoy and having to leave our characters behind.
What aspects might disengage a reader? How can we overcome them?
- A ‘slow’ opening.
- Density of text on a page.
- Dialogue where it’s not clear who is speaking.
- Repetition and inconsistencies.
- Excessive description.
- Drawn out exposition and backstory.
- Showing and
- One-dimensional characters.
- Predictable storylines.
As authors, we generally only get one chance to engage our readers. When we’ve lost them, we’ve lost them.
All the above can be related to our own experiences as readers. We can think back over some novels we have read which we have found engaging. What was it about them that has had this effect?
You must keep this in mind if you want to write a novel and get it published especially if you want to make money from writing a book. Reader recommendations are the only way yours will become a bestseller. If you’re interested in a ‘Write a Novel course,’ follow the link below: