Keep Readers Interested to the End

Do you buy more books than you can read? Then you probably put aside more books than you finish.

That also probably means that you’re the proud owner of an e-reader, whether it’s a Kindle, a Nook, a Sony or an iPad or any other digital e-reading device.

Because it’s so easy to buy and download a book – one touch usually does it – many consumers are happy to try out a book that, in a bookstore, they might have put back down onto the counter or refilled onto a shelf after perusing a few pages.

I think that the more people buy books, especially e-books, the fewer they might finish. But that isn’t a problem. Most books aren’t worth finishing (even if their authors have struggled to complete them). And more people, as they sample more books, are putting those books down because they can, without guilt, and because they know they aren’t being judged by what they haven’t decided to finish (really – does anyone check up on whether you’ve reached the end of a biography or a novel or a political treatise?). People sometimes even stop short before finishing books they actually like.

Most books, like most articles in magazines and newspapers, are too long. Not in terms of words (though that can be true), but in how they explain their subject. Not that we’re too muddleheaded to stay with an article that explores something in depth. No, most articles make the same point over and over again, often to the detriment of the argument. When it grows tedious, it grows less interesting and ultimately less useful.

This is something you should consider when you’re writing your own book. Keep it straightforward, keep it lively, keep your reader interested. It doesn’t mean you have to write short (though that certainly can help these days), but that you say what you mean in a transparent way.

Your readers will tell you this as you write your book and communicate with your audience through your platform.  They’ll let you know where you’re getting too dense, or wandering off point, or just boring them.

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