Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Forget About Readers

Readers should always be at the front of your mind - while marketing, pricing, editing, designing covers, being available online - with the ironic exception of when you're writing. You can't worry about whether that book will sell, if fans will like the sequel, what the reviews will be of your novel that touches on a third-rail subject like race or religion... you just have to immerse yourself in the story and write the best damn book you can.

(Upon edits, you can decide if you want to pull back, self-censure, or tailor your book to meet your fans' expectations. But put your heart into it first.)

The exception to this is if you're writing to the market, solely to make teh moneyz. Then tailor your story up front, to fit nicely within genre expectations... then forget about readers and still write the best damn book you can. You won't be happy with anything less.


  1. Excellent advice. Thinking about readers and marketability will only stifle creativity in the first draft.

  2. I don't think it's the readers you should forget. You want to reach readers. (I do, I want someone to read my book and enjoy it, an more than once.) I think it's all the hoopla one has to forget while writing. You know: the hooplah, the sales figures, the business end of it, the platform. You can't be thinking about that and be immersed in writing a scene that you want to be a pleasure to read for someone.

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  4. I agree with this, and it's made writing so much less paralyzing. If I sit at my keyboard and start worrying about whether readers might like my book, any words I do manage to write are stilted and awful. I always feel like I'm a passenger on a roller coaster, and if I try to wrestle the story too much it ends up being a disaster. So I just let the words flow, then make the choices you listed during edits.

    1. Hail and greetings! Glad to meet (even if in passing) someone else who has to run as fast and hard as they can to catch the words falling out of thin air when the writing bug strikes. Here's to many successful stories and books coming your way!

  5. Great advice, Susan. I swear, if I thought about anyone actually reading the book I'd be frozen with fear.

  6. This hits home because I started the fourth book in my Fairhope series last night and kept hearing the ghosts of bad reviews in my ear while I was writing. It's terrifying. I had to stop and meditate and remember that I'm writing this for myself. I'm writing this for the readers who will love it, and as long as I'm true to myself and my story, there will always be some readers who connect with it.


Erudite comments from thoughtful readers