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My Ideal Reader

The nice thing about having your own blog is that you can do pretty much whatever you want to, including quoting friends out of context. In the comments section of last week's blog here, the brilliant writer A.S. King said, in part, "I am not my ideal reader."

Then later in the week, the South Dakota Book Festival posed a question on Twitter about which genres people favored most. My answer? Eclectic. When further asked if I meant individual books that mixed genres, I replied, no, I meant that I like a little bit of pretty much everything.

This all got me to thinking: Who is my ideal reader?

Certainly the January Magazine reviewer who likened The Thin Pink Line to the work of Jane Austen or the Boston Globe reviewer who likened Vertigo to Ruth Rendell or the reviewers who have variously compared The Sisters 8 series to Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket and Edward Gorey are up there - no need for me to go all Alice Hoffman on those reviewers! And then there's the African American Dartmouth student who says that anytime she hears someone diss Chick-Lit, which is how my first five adult novels are generally classified, she wants to shove one of my books in the disser's hands - I like that girl, think she'll go far in life.

Still, I'd have to say that my ideal reader isn't the reader who likes my writing for any one thing I do. It's those readers who have eclectic tastes, same as me; those readers who are along for the ride no matter what direction I decide to go in next.

I can think of just two readers off the top of my head, outside of my mom, who will read anything so long as it has my name on the cover: a woman in North Carolina and another woman in California. Neither are relatives. Neither know me from before I became published. I've never met them in person, and couldn't even identify them in a police lineup! They're people I encountered online. Both started reading my books when the first, The Thin Pink Line, was published in 2003, and both have kept reading through all the changes since: from Chick-Lit to Victorian suspense to short stories and essays to YA to tween to The Sisters 8, which are targeted toward 6- to 10-year-olds.

So I guess that's what I need more of: not readers who are looking for a brand, looking to have the same experience over and over, but rather, readers who click with the crazy mind behind the work and are willing to take a chance on anything that crazy mind might come up with next.


Be well. Don't forget to write. 

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Well, really, I was trying to clarify what I was *originally* saying, which was: I write for me. But by saying that, I did not mean I was my ideal reader. (I meant, I don't compare myself to other writers or wish I was someone else, which was what your blog was about!) but back to today...I do keep an audience in mind when I write, no doubt.

I think my ideal reader is: You. Eclectic. Someone who likes a lot of things and has appreciation for something different each time. My Ideal Reader has an open mind, likes to think, and picks up my book to experience an adventure...and doesn't mind being surprised. In short, my Ideal Reader ROCKS.

Has anyone told you that you rock today yet, Lauren?



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No one has told me I rock yet today, and I thank you for the implication that I just might.

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ideal reader

my ideal reader, i've noticed, has changed with each novel... i think of my ideal reader as someone who gets what i'm trying to do, but sees where i fail. and maybe because the novels are so varied (my theory?) the ideal reader changes too?

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Always a thrill to see you! I definitely get that one's ideal reader varies as one's books vary. Maybe I was thinking more of a career ideal reader???

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...but did you see Masha's collection of writings from the Afghan Women's Writing Project on Red Room's homepage this week?

Huntington Sharp, Red Room

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It's never O/T when it's about Masha

Masha Hamilton always rocks, whether it's with the Afghan Women's Writing Project or the Camel Bookmobile.