Over the past two weeks, we’ve discussed ways to identify our target audience and how to draw these readers into our story with personal experiences. Today, in our final segment for this series, we’re focusing on engagement. How can we keep the reader’s attention?
1.) Identify a clear theme that carries for your readers. What does your audience care about? This is huge. Find something that they feel passionate towards. If you’re book has a strong enough theme, this can sell the story to a particular population. Strong themes will cause readers to advocate your book.
2.) Establish a reason for the story from page one. Why should the reader continue? This starts with a hook that draws the reader into the story from the first line. Make something matter. Place your character in a complex-curious situation. Arouse questions.
3.) Show growth. People are as flawed as our characters. They want to see the HPV (happily-ever-after). They long to believe in characters that can change and transform worlds. Why not? People do this in reality all the time. So give your readers a reason to believe the characters they identify with can also have an impact on the world.
Sometimes we forget why we write story. We forget the power of a tale in a reader’s life. Not every story has this profound ability to impact and change, but great stories, the classics, often leave such a trail in their readers’ hearts that one can’t walk away without pondering something new. This is what draws readers to great books, and it’s part of what makes us writers. Why do you write stories? Go ahead and answer that question. Once you’ve done so, focus on your audience. They need a writer to tell a story worthy of their hearts. Is your story one of them?