Monday, October 24, 2011

What do Readers Want?

Welcome to today's Rolling Mystery Blog Tour. I'm the 3rd blogger on the list. See what Mollie, Nancy, and Ryder have to say about our subject. Leave us a comment and tell us what you want in a book.
http://www.molliecoxbryan.com/2011/10/what-do-readers-want/
http://chickdickmysteries.com/2011/10/24/what-do-readers-want/
http://ryderislington.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/what-do-readers-want/

If there were a definite answer to this question, all the mysteries would be pretty much the same. There would be no subgenres, and writers would use the same formula and plug in the information.  
        But I believe that readers have reasonable expectations. I know I do. When I pick up a mystery, or any novel as far as that goes, I expect the first sentence to hook me. I don’t necessarily put the book down if it doesn’t, but it better happen soon. I don’t expect a body on the first page, and if the plot is intriguing, but the characters are less so, I’ll stay with the story. (see Rolling Mystery Blog Tour 10/17/11).
         I pay close attention when my readers tell me what they like about my mysteries, and what they don’t. Fortunately, most readers who take the time to contact me, have encouraging things to relate. They like my zany characters, as well as the humor, the historical settings and accurate background information, and the romance developing between my protagonist (picture a redheaded Lauren Bacall) and her detective (picture Leonardo DiCaprio in a fedora). For instance, in my first mystery Murder at the Arlington, I write about Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1952 and the couple of decades prior. Readers who are familiar with the area can relate to the history lesson. This is true with all my books. Murder at the Galvez (out soon) takes place in Galveston, Texas in 1953. I learned from reading old newspapers, that the development of nearby Pelican Island was a hot topic. I used this controversial issue as a basis for the crime in my mystery. I'm sure however, that readers of different subgenres have different expectations. I write cozies and here's a list of what cozy readers don't and do want.
They DON’T want:
1.  Graphic violence against women
2.  Reading the point of view of the killer
3.  Static, unchanging protagonists in a series
4.  Predictable plots or convoluted plots.
Here’s what they DO want:
1.  Light romance
2.  Twists and turns and a surprise ending
3.  Feeling good after reading the entire book
4.  The discovery of something new.
However, if I had to answer this question in a few words, I say that readers want to connect with the characters and the story, no matter what genre.
        
        

3 comments:

  1. Fantastic list. I like that you have a firm grip on what your readers don't want. I loved your first line: If there were a definite answer to this question, all the mysteries would be pretty much the same. There would be no subgenres, and writers would use the same formula and plug in the information.
    Well said!

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  2. Great post, Kathleen. Love the photo! You're right about expectations, readers definitely have them, and you don't want them to be disappointed!

    Nancy
    http://chickdickmysteries.com

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  3. Thanks for your comments, Mollie an Nancy. Reaching out to readers is what it is all about.

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