Monday, June 24, 2013

Let's Talk About Trust, Baby.

The reader writer relationship is all about trust.  When you pick up a book you trust the author is going to tell you a good story, one you'll enjoy (though definitions of 'enjoy' may change).  The reader has to trust the writer enough to spend time and money on that book.  But the writer has to trust the reader too.

The writer has to trust the reader to understand what's going on and not over explain.  They also have to trust that the reader is intelligent enough to notice when they didn't figure out all of the plot and tried to skip over glaring holes.

I can forgive plot holes and bad writing before I can forgive an author who saw the problem, and tried to fix it with a few sentences of an incomplete description.  Knowing the author was aware of the problem but didn't care enough about the reader to fix it can destroy the trust between a reader and a writer.


28 comments:

  1. It is a tough balance, especially when you get feedback. You might have several beta readers who don't have problems with something, but one person does and you're left scratching your head, unsure what to do.

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  2. You're right, trust is key. Authors who keep trust and present a good story get my $$ over and over.

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  3. That's a great point and it's, sometimes, a leap of faith when you pick up a book by a new author.

    To me, it's even more about the time spent than the money. Even if a $.99 ebook sucks, you're still spending time to find that out.

    Reading is always an adventure, though. :)

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    1. Reading is an adventure, and it's always fun to see what we discover.

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  4. I agree with Stina. It's balancing act. But I also agree that authors need to take it seriously and do the best they can to anticipate and fix problem areas.

    I've become fairly good at judging books based on reviews (if they have enough of them to get past the promotional family-and-friend-five-stars). And Amazon's free sample feature can help to a degree.

    As for overwriting (as I've heard it called), that's a sign of a new writer for sure. I still cringe when I read my first attempts at fiction. *shudder* LOL

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  5. "I can forgive plot holes and bad writing before I can forgive an author who saw the problem, and tried to fix it with a few sentences of an incomplete description. Knowing the author was aware of the problem but didn't care enough about the reader to fix it can destroy the trust between a reader and a writer."

    Lots of wisdom here. I'll have to keep that in mind as I write. Thanks, Sara.

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  6. I agree completely. I really don't like when every little thing is explained. I have a brain, I can probably figure it out :D

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  7. Great points-- love the thought about the balance others have made in the comments. Going to tuck this advice away to remember!

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    1. Balance is important, but I think if the author trusts the story, and themselves, it will show in the story as something the reader can trust too.

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  8. Overwriting. It does make sense. Something new to think about. Thanks for sharing...
    Writer In Transit

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    1. I think it's fairly common with new or inexperienced writers. At least I know I was guilty of it.

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  9. Totally with you! I also don't like being treated like an idiot. Don't tell me things a billion times. I'll get it the first time if it's done right.

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  10. Recently read something with this problem?

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  11. Trusting an author is a hard commodity to come by.

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    1. It can be, but when you find an author you really trust it's a great relationship.

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  12. Well said! I get especially impatient with a writer who keeps reiterating the same thing over and over again, as though I didn't "get it" the first hundred times.

    It's also annoying when a writer gains my trust, only to lose it again by taking me and all her other readers for granted. It's as though she thinks, "I"m a star now. They'll buy my books, no matter how crappy they are." I know, in reality, some of those "stars" are pushed by their publishers to keep churning out books faster and faster, so they don't have the time... or take the time... to get it right. Plus, the trend seems to be to have a co-writer. Star writer comes up with an idea, co-writer pens the book, and the public is expected to buy it simply because the star's name is on the cover.

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    1. Unfortunately, I've had some authors lose my trust that way too. I do understand some of them are up against some very stressful time restraints but it's still a letdown as a reader.

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  13. Spot on, Sara. Such a great way of putting it. There is a lot of trust involved!

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  14. Well said, Sara! I expect, when I open a book, to read a story that the author cares deeply about. I may not like every story that I read, but I have to know that the writer cared enough to produce the best book they could. It's astoundingly easy to tell when they do and when they don't.

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    1. Well said to you too! As readers we have to know the author cared about the story too. Otherwise why should we even bother?

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  15. That's so funny, I just posted this quote from John Green yesterday "Books are a weird collaboration between author and reader: You trust me to tell a good story and I trust you to bring it to good life in your mind. I can only hope I help up my end of the bargain."

    A little different then what you're talking about, but it made think about my writing in a whole new light. Great post!

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  16. This is why I pay a little extra $$$ to my editor to read through my draft and look for major holes and such. Much easier to.fix them early on than in the final edit or allow them to get through to the final product.

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    1. So worth it. Also worth taking the time to make sure you get it right.

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  17. I think this is one of the more concise and accurate descriptions of where author and reader relationships can go wrong. Keeping your reader in mind helps so much when writing.

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    1. Thanks, Caitlin. An author needs to stay true to themselves and the story. I've seen some books where the author was so busy trying to make all the readers happy the book was a complete mess. But, keeping the reader and thereby the end product, in mind while writing does help us stay focused.

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  18. Ahhh the trust, the trust:)

    It's also so important because once an author has the trust, I know I for one will buy their book on spec - but it does have to be a book or two into our "relationship." :)

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  19. You have such great points to share. There is great trust a reader places in the author's hands. If I'm going to buy a book, I will hope that it will be well thought out and as good as it can be. I agree with Mark as well that once that trust is developed I will continue buying an author's books.

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  20. That's interesting, Sara. I'm trying to think of an example of an author who took a half-a#$ed approach to fixing a problem... I think I'm lucky in that I haven't encountered one!

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