Historical and Contemporary Romance Author

Thursday Throwdown: What Authors Really, Really Want

Before I launch into my post, just a quite note: I’ll be picking a winner from Monday’s contest for a copy of Erica Ridley‘s Too Wicked To Kiss tomorrow, so if you haven’t already commented to enter, be sure to do so today :).

Okay, onto the topic at hand.

My latest proposal went out on submission yesterday. This is the third proposal my agent and I have tried to sell since I received my contract with Kensington for Behind the Red Door back in April of 2008. Since you haven’t seen any sales announcements from me since then, I think you can safely assume that two of the three attempts were unsuccessful. We have yet to hear about the third, although I’m not holding my breath.

But this post isn’t to whine or curse the universe for failing to recognize my brilliance. Rather, it’s a reflection on what I’ve come to realize is most important to me. And perhaps it would surprise you to know that it isn’t landing another NY contract or getting the big bucks or racking up good reviews. Or maybe it wouldn’t, I don’t know, lol.

What I’ve realized, however, is that there’s really only ONE thing I want: to be read. I don’t write for any other reason than to share my stories with readers. Readers. Not my CPs (who are awesome, by the way, but have very different goals and motivations when reading my books than true readers). Not my agent (though, bless her, I think she’s my biggest fan). And not editors, whether they work for big traditional publishers or small epresses or any combination in between. Those folks I just listed are all in between you–the reader–and the story I want to share with you. Editors, in particular, can keep my story from ever making it into your hands

So, if that’s the way I feel, you might wonder why I don’t just self-publish my books. The answer is complicated, but I have to admit that I’m considering it more and more lately. When and if the time comes that I have a completed book that I really believe in and no publisher I want to work with makes me a reasonable offer for it, I’ll at least look into that possibility.

That said, I still want the help of a publisher to get my books into readers hands, and that’s simply because I don’t have a lot of faith that my books can find readers (and vice versa) without the help of a publisher. As much as I want you to be able to read my books and enjoy my stories, I want a publisher to believe in them and (most important) hel me get them into your hands. I’m only one person, and my reach is limited to what I can accomplish on the Internet, and let’s face it, the signal-to-noise ratio is high and getting higher.

But in the end, what I really, really want (and what I think most authors want) is to be read. Anything else is gravy.


  • Will Entrekin February 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I used to think that I just wanted to be read. I’ve realized that’s only part of the equation.

    Because what really matters isn’t what authors want–or more accurately, what you want–but rather what readers want, and how authors can fulfill that want.

    What I most want is to provide readers the services they desire. What I really want is to tell them stories they need to hear.

    It may in effect be the same thing. I’m not sure if the different ways of expressing it mean they are different things.

  • Melissa Blue February 25, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Amen, amen, amen!

  • Jackie Barbosa February 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Will, you’re absolutely right. I want the books I write to be stories people WANT to read. That goes almost without saying. (But obviously only almost, lol.)

  • Ericka Scott February 27, 2010 at 10:50 am

    What a great post — I think you hit the nail on the head. I want my stories read by…well…everyone!


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