IWSG: What Readers Want

Logo for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Picture of a lighthouse with text reading "THE INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP"

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!

August 3 question – When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

Well, shoot. You can’t really get behind the way that question is phrased, can you?

I think we all know a reader or two who is into comfort reads in a big way. Here is a book. It follows a warm and familiar path to a warm and familiar ending. There are 127 of them in this series. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t write that kind of books. I’m not all that interested in them, and I think I’d be doing those readers a disservice, if I tried. I think I’d wind up resenting them, in the long run.

I think there are readers who want originality. I try to write for those readers. It’s as simple as that.

It’s the same as writing Science Fiction for people who want Science Fiction, or Romance for people who want Romance. You wouldn’t ask Do you write Romance, or do you try to give readers what they want? Because it’s the same thing. The readers find what they want. You just write the best damn books you can.

I don’t think it’s all that much of a leap of faith to believe that there are other people like me out there. If I enjoy writing the book, there are people who will enjoy reading it. And there you have it. My tiny little worldview in a nutshell.


  1. Reply

    I couldn’t write 127 books in a series either. I agree with you that it’s important to write stories you enjoy writing, and you’ll find writers who enjoy them too.

  2. Reply

    I like that take on this question. I mean, I really like it. And I agree that if you write what you love, there’s got to be readers out there that will love it, too.

    I think the fear behind the question is a matter of scale. How many readers like me are there? How many books will I sell?

    For example, I have a novel that started as paranormal romance. So, I wrote it in third-person. But it turned out to be more like urban fantasy. Mostly. And genre conventions for UF demand first-person (I have yet to read UF that doesn’t use it).

    So, do I rewrite the whole book because I’m afraid most UF fans will see third-person and close the book? Or do I keep the POV the way I wrote it, at the risk of a book that won’t sell hardly any copies?

    Does that make sense?

    Anyway, fantastic post. Thank you for getting me thinking about this!

  3. nancygideon


    I’m right there with you on this one! I’ve always written for myself and the work has found its own audience within the genre. Do I promote? Heck yeah! I’m not a savage!

  4. Reply

    That’s basically my belief as well. I write the kind of thing I’d want to read. I’m pretty sure there are more people out there who’d want to read that kind of thing, too.

  5. Loni Townsend


    Yes, yes, yes! I had the same reaction! Granted, you were more eloquent in the response, and I like the comparison with the romance twist on the question. But YES!

  6. Diane Burton


    Great post Exactly what I’d say. 127 books in a series??? Yikes! By that time, where would the originality be?

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