Expectations Of Writers And Readers


When a writer puts the first word on paper; a dream world opens before him, a world that ignites his creativity as well as fantasy. Former makes him produce his magnificent work but the latter makes him a celebrity overnight (in his dreams.)

You may be writing out of creative compulsions or the satisfaction of venting your voice could be your trigger, most writers harbor a secret wish – to be read, to be reviewed and admired. Admiration comes easily but you never know how hypocritical it is. Reality hits you when you see how much money you are earning from your books.

You may stay determined with the cliché – “never give up” but when you read others’ work and feel that many average books are overflowing with 5 star reviews; you wonder whether something is wrong with you when you feel like dropping a book that has been fetching 5 stars… (for whatever reasons!)

However, there are critical readers too. They know what they want, their discerning eye can’t be escaped. Their expectations are immeasurable.

You think you have the most original ideas, you would be the best seller but your readers feel you ramble, you repeat and the setting of your story is vague or the title of your book is a misnomer.youtuber-2838945__340

You think you write perfect English, your beta readers are excellent helpers and you have a long list of friends under the acknowledgements but your readers find typos and structural errors in your book.

Each reader expects an amazing book; he doesn’t want to think what were your compulsions or exhaustions. He doesn’t want to buy your excuses. He doesn’t want to digest your lack of finances for hiring an astute editor. All readers are not writers and they have every right to judge your book according to their own parameters. All readers are not kind enough to overlook imperfections in the plot, style of writing or characterization.

Then there are writers who focus on money. They write just what sells. The day writing becomes a chore for you, you are no longer a writer, and you become a businessperson, churning out book after book, devoid of any real emotion.

Your writing may not be “like a windowpane” or “impenetrable fog” but it has to be an “exploration,” it has to “enrich the life of those who read it.” If it is just inconsequential chitchat between a few characters, going around in circles, you may befool a few readers but not all.

Robert Frost’s definition is worth pondering: “The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader. I know people who read without hearing the sentence sounds and they were the fastest readers. Eye readers we call them. They get the meaning by glances. But they are bad readers because they miss the best part of what a good writer puts into his work.”

Are you an “eye reader” or a critical reader? Do you drop a book if you don’t like it? What do you expect from your readers?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.


28 thoughts on “Expectations Of Writers And Readers

  1. Great post, Balroop. I’m a savorer of books when I can be. (The exception is when my phone is reading to me and I don’t get to taste the words.) I think I’m a pickier reader than I was in the past. Now I notice all kinds of niggling problems – mostly because they’re faults I’ve had to correct in my own writing literally thousands of times. I don’t have a lot of patience for “good enough” writing. We owe it to our readers, in my opinion, to labor over the tedious details and produce the very best read we’re capable of. Though not always successful, we must strive to be the best we can be.

    1. I can understand your thought Diana, when an author comes across “niggling problems,” he makes a mental note of eliminating those in his own book. Readers may not mention it but they know the shortcomings of an author. Good that you feel inspired from the readers’ perspective too. Thank you for sharing your view. Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Excellent post, Balroop… I read thoughtfully for the enjoyment of the read and take time to reflect upon the writing and make a few notes as I read. Generally, I will finish a book even if it’s not meeting expectations–unless it is so poorly written that I cannot bear to go on. That has happened very rarely, and i suppose that is because I check reviews carefully and take a look inside the book when I can. . I post reviews for books that I really enjoy (4 or 5 Stars). As for my readers, I hope they will take time to really read and reflect upon my books and that they will enjoy them. 🙂

  3. Wonderful post Balroop. Everyone has their own unique of taking in what they read. For me, I’ll persevere through a slow start to a certain extent. Too many characters jammed into a story loses my interest. And don’t get me started with head-hopping, lol 🙂

    1. I agree with you Deb, packing too many characters in the beginning mars the interest of the reader. Curse words and sexually explicit words really put me off.

  4. What a great glimpse into writimg, Balroop! Well said. I would say I’m emotional reader. I’m looking to feel something. It can be well written and edited with lots of high praises but I have to connect, too. I can overlook a few mistakes if the I’m pulled in. I want to get lost in a story and see the poetry bloom in the words. Thanks for writing this and showing the depth of work and frustration writers have and what readers expect.

    1. I am glad to meet a reader who cares about emotions. You are so kind Denise, all readers don’t overlook errors and even mention them in their reviews. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      1. One or two typos can happen even in a traditionally published book and although, I notice I can over look them. Even some formatting issues, too. If its a lot and throughout the book that’s different, but I think it needs to be well edited, well written and have that connection to be fully successful. I do email authors and let them know what I find, too.

  5. Very interesting topic, Balroop. As a reader, I feel I am on the critical side of things. I cannot overlook plot holes, bad structure, poor grammar and boring stories. However, as a creative writer I know how much work it takes to begin a story, novel and work past these drafts that contain all of the above mistakes. A pro editor is a must. No excuses.
    I’d like to mention too, that reading a poorly written book is a real eye opener for us writers. They make us see the flaws in writing and we can then look at our own and better see where we need to improve. There’s no better way to be a writer than to be a reader first. You know this already though. 🙂 I will read through the comments now to see everyone’s opinion on this topic. Juicy.

    I’ve been away and it’s nice to get back and catch up with your blog, Balroop!

    1. You are absolutely right Lisa, minor errors make me extra careful. If an editor does shoddy work, the onus is still on the author. I don’t like the editing that changes my voice or kills the emotion in the thought.
      Seems like you had a long and lovely break 😊

  6. I am a critical reader by nature, and I do not hesitate to drop a book if it does not capture my interest after a bit.

    As to what I expect from my own readers? That’s the thing, I really have no expectations. I write because creativity flows through me and writing is one way it expresses itself. I have always written, I always will write. But I do not place expectations with any kind of artistic endeavor. If people like it, fantastic. If they don’t, one cannot expect everyone to respond to any given offering. And so it is. Aloha to you, Balroop! 💕

    1. I like that Bela, if your writing is inspired from your creative attitude, it would continue to flow irrespective of critical analysis.
      Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts dear friend. Have a wonderful week 🤗

  7. This is very interesting and as I writer I can relate to your words.
    I am maybe more critical than I was in the past. But still I know what it takes to write something, to send it out in the big world, not knowing how people will receive it. So I am careful not to judge so quickly. As for people wishing only to make money I don’t read them.
    I’d better like books that give me something, that make me think or invite me to new discoveries of the world or who I am.
    Take care Balroop and thanks!

    1. Thank you Marie, I don’t know how I missed this and I my apologies for this late reply. I am glad you have developed a critical approach to reading others’ work, very few risk that but it helps the writers in improving their style. A sugar-coated appreciation is not good when there are some flaws.

  8. Thoughtful. Powerful. Honest. As a reader, I have no patience for books that are not well-edited, that ramble on without reason or rhyme, that seem too self-important in their words, or more desirous of selling lots of books. I can figure this out by Chapter 2, and I stop reading. But most books I read (at least two a week) are chosen by me because I’ve read the author before and trust him/her or the book has been recommended (by friend, on Goodreads, on a blog).
    As a writer, I am relentless to not publish anything that hasn’t gone through the beta reader system, a critique group, many proofreaders, and a paid editor. Plus, a book I publish has to win through my own ‘reading’ merits (see above).
    After that, I’m let it go as a writer, because I know different readers like different kinds of books. All we authors can do is be honest (and thorough) in our own writing.

  9. Hmm…as regards me, it depends on the topic/genre as to what kind of reader I am. I’m an “eye reader” for non-fiction. I’m there to solve a problem and get information. Unless the book has unexpected humor or some other reason to slow me down, I’m there to get the info as fast as I can and move on.

    Poetry, on the other hand, will always make me take my time. It’s like the difference between commuting to work on a freeway or taking the scenic route through a wooded route filled with fall color. Really, there’s no reason to read a poem if I’m not going to savor the nuances.

    With fiction, it really depends. If I truly like it, I’ll slow down. If it’s excellent, however, sometimes I’ll speed back up, just from the desperate need to know how it all comes out. I’m a re-reader, though, so oftentimes I’ll pick up a book again within a short time, just to savor the nuances. With Lord of the Rings, my all-time absolute favorite, I’ve read it about twenty times. I know all the plot points. Every time I pick it up now, it’s to roll each word over in my mind, to linger again in this marvelous world that Tolkien created.

    So for me, at least, it all depends. : )

  10. I am impressed by your honest and in-depth analysis of your reading and knowing yourself so well! Your approach resonates with me Cathleen and I love that analogy of taking a scenic route to see the Fall colors 🙂 I never read a fiction book twice but poetry holds me forever and if I like it, I may read it for a thousand times, just to savor the words, the cadence or the rhythm. Thank you for sharing your perspective, much appreciated.

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