Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reading For Research

A lot of people wonder why I read romances if this is something I represent. There is a thought that if I have been reading romance all day, why would I want to pick up another story in the same genre? Wouldn't I want to escape from it?

Well, yes, there are times when I simply cannot read another romance and yes, I do read other things. But reading what I represent gives me a chance to diagnostically read the stories. I am not so much reading for pleasure, I am reading for research.

As an author, it is crucial to read for research. When you read a story and find yourself enjoying it, you need to stop and ask yourself why. The odds are, it is not simply because of the basic storytelling elements of plot, characters, and setting. There is probably a lot more going on with the story that draws you in. You can do the same thing with the stories that don't work for you. What is it that the author is doing strategically that isn't working for you.

This same level of research should be done when you are investigating new publishers or agencies. I have said this numerous times here on the blog but authors need to determine what the voice is of that publisher or agency. Each of the places have vastly different.voices and styles. Your job is to find out what they are really looking for, beyond the genre and see if your writing is really fitting that style. If not, you can either, learn it and adapt your writing, or find a place that better fits your style.

As an agent, this is what we do with our clients' manuscripts. We determine exactly where the best places are to send a project. We do not just simply send it out to everyone without doing that research.

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