January 31, 2017

Do You Offer Your Readers Convenience? Do You Exceed Their Expectations?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine 

While searching a subject on the internet, I clicked on an article of interest, and before I could read the first three words, a Fed Ex commercial popped up. Normally I delete ads right away. This particular ad, however, caught my eye.

There was a big header. Even though it had people bending over a table in the ad, that didn’t draw my attention, the title topper did. “See how Fed Ex can help your business save time on shipping.” Now I know about using Fed Ex, UPS and the USPO for my shipping needs so I wasn’t looking for a refresher course. But I was curious as to how they would showcase their answer. How were they going to help their customer?

The answers they showed were simple but sincere and insightful.  So what was that answer? Offer convenience –– exceed expectations.

That made an impression on me and piqued my interest as to how do authors offer convenience to their readers and how do they exceed reader’s expectations?

I began going through different books I had read, scanning the pages. Sometimes when I read certain books; I will mark errors I see, stumbling sentences, initials for phrases, confusing paragraphs and words that don’t fall off the tongue. In other words things that causes a reader to stumble when reading.

One item in particular that is a problem for readers is the author’s use of initials of phrases. Doing this leaves your reader having to stop, guess the phrase you are referring to, if they even know, and then go back and reread the sentence or if they are lucky, pick up where they left off. Authors need to keep things simple so as not to impede the readers flow.  

Another ease authors can make for their readers is making sure there are as few errors as possible for the reader to stumble over. I am an avid reader, and it is annoying when I am reading and run into blatant errors. A minor error doesn’t derail a reader, but words left out and misspelled words do cause the reader problems. The reader has to stop, come out of the story as it were, and reread what they just read. This doesn’t make readers happy and odds are, they may not buy another book from that author. Even worse, they may tell their friends how bad it was and you know word of mouth can make or break authors.

You might think these things don’t have anything to do with being convenient for a reader. But it does. When a reader chooses to sit down and read a book they want to enjoy the book, they want to lose themselves in your story. They don’t want to play guessing games with the words.

There is another form of convenience for your reader––and that is to make sure your website makes it easy for them to click on your book, and buy it. If your cover and description on your website entice them to buy your book you want to make it easy for them to do it right then. Be sure the click takes them to Amazon or Barnes and Noble to buy your book.

If you have the time, however, you can set up your site, where they buy it directly from you. When they do that, it means you must mail it, which some authors don’t like to fool with, but, it also means you get to “Sign” the book for them. People love to have author signed books. This is convenience for a reader. It is also exceeding their expectations to be able to go to the author’s website and order the book direct from the author and it be a signed copy.

What are some other suggestions you could make that would be convenient for readers and that would exceed their expectations?

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