To me as a reader, the thing I connect with most when I discover an author I like, or come back to a favorite time and again, is voice. As an author, it takes a while to find your voice and then you have to work to develop it and hone it. Each author has a unique voice and not all voices will resonate with all readers. This seems like a pretty no brainer thing to say, but sometimes as a writer you’ll be encouraged to stop doing this that or the other thing – usually by people who don’t connect with your voice.
Reading is personal. It’s intimate. Your buttons may not be mine. Or worse, your buttons might be what I hate so we can’t connect as writer to reader. And that’s how it goes. Those readers then find authors who DO connect with them. Just like my readers enjoy the things I do and we connect that way. To me, this is the very foundation of any author’s tool kit.
I don’t write books for people who don’t like my voice. This isn’t a hostile statement in any way. It’s a fact based on the reality that writing is not only my craft but also a business. Why would I try to change my voice, which works for my readers, to appeal to people who don’t like my voice at all? As it happens, more than not being interested in it, I don’t think it’s a successful thing for authors to try anyway.
Our voices are our voices. Some readers will connect with us and some won’t. It’s why I prefer Lara Adrian’s books to some other authors who write vampires. It doesn’t mean she’s better or worse than those authors, it means I like her voice best. I like the way she tells her stories and delivers her world to readers. I like the words she uses, the way she uses them and the things her characters do and say make sense to me. Who I am and what I’ve experienced in my life is totally part of my preferences, just like it is for everyone else. And it’s why others will like different author’s vampires.
Everything my characters do, they do on purpose. The words they use they use on purpose. They way they have sex, they way they have disagreements, they way they connect or don’t with their friends and family – this is all purposeful and it’s part of my voice as a writer. I’m fortunate to have clicked with readers who like my voice and my books. I write my books the way I do because that’s how I write. It’s pretty simple really, though creativity is obviously far more complicated than that. I love it when readers discover me for the first time and they connect with me and my voice! I totally get it from both sides now because I too have my favorite authors and their voices! It’s a pleasure to connect like that – one of my very favorite things about this job!
I get asked for advice from time to time and it’s not always easy because the creative process is different for each one of us as writers. But I think we should treasure our voices. Work on then. Hone them. Be better with each book. But not to please people who don’t like your books. You can’t worry about that. You cannot continue to please your own process and your readers by abandoning that to appeal to people who don’t like your writing. There are many other writers out there and those writers will appeal to different readers. You are not in competition with people whose voices are totally unlike your own. Build your own voice. Be proud of it – though that doesn’t mean your words are special snowflakes that are perfect the moment you type them and you don’t need to be edited, this is false, LOL. Voice doesn’t mean you don’t need to tighten your story. Voice doesn’t mean you don’t have to get rid of that prologue or that scene that does nothing at all to move the story. It means you know your story and how to tell it. It means you treasure your readers and those who seek you out because they love the way YOU tell YOUR stories. Stop worrying about the people you don’t connect with, that’s part of life.