In the age of text messages and all of the associated abbreviations, we have added to the American lexicon a new set of signifiers, such as LOL, OMG, and BRB. Almost all these terms are inane, but none so silly as BFF, which means Best Friends Forever. As Writers, we need to realize that we have our own BFF. The Author’s BFF is the reader.
There are two kinds of readers, which I call before and after. Before readers are those who read your work as you rewrite. I am not talking about friends and family. They will only tell you how good it is. Join a good writing group, or groups. If you are not a part of one, go online and look for one, or ask you local librarian or book store owner.
I feel most comfortable if between a dozen and twenty before readers have taken a look at my work. These readers are indispensable for all kinds of input. They will tell you what you cannot see. They will find spelling errors and grammatical snafus. More importantly, they will help with content.
Many Novelists cringe at the idea that they need help with the content of their book. But let’s face it, we’re not perfect. I will be making mistakes until I’m in a pine box. Before readers will tell you if a character is flat and the dialogue stiff. They can help with plot holes and issues of backstory and foreshadowing. Writers, get over yourselves and listen to them. The before readers in your writing group are you friends, even your BFF.
Writers write so that they can be read. Duh. So when that novel hits the books store shelf, anyone who buys your book is your friend. If he becomes a fan, then he will look out for your next book. These after readers are your best friends, even your BFF.
While you may make an accidental fan such as this, most fans are made even before your book is published. This is where publicity and marketing come to play. The notion of book marketing used to make my eyes glaze. Now I am fascinated by the idea of creating my own fanbase.
This is not an article about how to market your book. Others have done that superbly. I highly recommend my friends Toni and Shannon, whom I compassionately call the Wondertwins, who run Duolit – http://selfpublishingteam.com/. But we need to wrap our minds around the fact that “If I write it, they will come” is a pipedream. We need to learn book marketing and practice it, or all the time we put into writing our novels is wasted. Our after readers who make our fanbase are our BFFs because if it were not for them, we would be failed novelists.
If you read this blog, then you are in my friends. Let me know what you think in the Comment section below.