In his superb book The Writer’s Little Helper – Everything You Need to Know to Write Better and Get Published – by James V. Smith, you will discover a list of traits you should pay attention to in order to sell your fiction successfully. What do readers like in a book? Here are the 21 traits which James V. Smith compiled from his studies and that readers love:
These traits are arranged in a certain order:
- Appeals to the intellect. The mechanics of a novel: research, organization and structure of a story.
- Emotions, from connection to excitement. How to engage a reader to create buzz and go viral.
- Appeals to the soul. It shows if your writing matters and lasts, and if it brings you to the next level as a novelist.
Number one and two are as important for non-fiction as they are for fiction.
- Utility (writing about things that people will use in their lives)
- Information (facts people must have to place your writing in context)
- Substance (the relative value or weight in any piece of writing)
- Focus (the power to bring an issue into clear view)
- Logic (a coherent system for making your points)
- A sense of connection (the power of personal involvement)
- A compelling style (writing in a way that engages)
- A sense of humor (wit or at least irony)
- Simplicity (clarity and focus on a single idea)
- Entertainment (the power to get people to enjoy what you write)
- A fast pace (the ability to make your writing feel like a quick read)
- Imagery (the power to create pictures with words)
- Creativity (the ability to invent)
- Excitement (writing with energy that infects a reader with your own enthusiasm)
- Comfort (writing that imparts a sense of well-being)
- Happiness (writing that gives joy)
- Truth (or at least fairness)
- Writing that provokes (writing to make people think or act)
- Active, memorable writing (the poetry in your prose)
- A sense of Wow! (the wonder your writing imparts on a reader)
- Transcendence (writing that elevates with its heroism, justice, beauty, honor)
This list of 21 was made by the author after studying thousands of reader reviews on Amazon.com and of professional reviews of bestsellers. There are patterns in the way people responded and sorted. Reader remarks were put into categories, every writer can learn from.
There is nothing little about the dynamic fiction-writing advice inside The Writer’s Little Helper. With big ideas, time-saving tips, and revision-made-easy charts, James V. Smith, Jr. offers effective guidance in short, easily checklists, Q&As, and practical tools.
About the Author: James V. Smith Jr. is the author of six psychological thrillers and five nonfiction books. He is also a former feature writer for the Dallas Morning News and the Indianapolis News.
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