The Author’s Promise – 2 Things Writers Should Do

The Author’s Promise – 2 Things Writers Should Do

Writers Write is a resource for writers. If you are starting a book, we have put together a post on the author’s promise to help you finish it.

‘The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, travelling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for the alone.’ ~Donna Tartt

I have read thousands of books and reviewed many of them – 800 according to my Goodreads profile. Sometimes, I finish a book, and I think, ‘Wow! I loved that. I wonder what else the author’s written.’ Sometimes, I finish a book, and toss it aside with great force, and sometimes, I discard it without a second thought.

I have spent hours thinking about what makes me turn the page, pushing sleep away, determined to finish the story. I have spent just as much time thinking about what makes me want to throw the book away so that nobody else has to go through the literary torture I endured.

I believe it’s simple. I want to be entertained, and I want to learn something.

  1. I do not want a lecture. Show me a story driven by great characters, and let me come to my own conclusions.
  2. I do not want contrived literary manipulations, and obscure, incoherent writing. I am your reader, not your therapist.
  3. I also do not want to get lost in your unplotted stream of consciousness. I am not your editor. Please take some time to plot your novel.

Sometimes, magic happens and writers are able to produce that special something, that novel effect. Those are the books I will keep on my bookshelf and never forget. I know most books don’t fall into this category and don’t expect them to. I do expect to feel as if I haven’t wasted my time.

In the end, I think we’ve summed it up perfectly on our Writers Write – how to write a book – course. We suggest writers make this author’s promise to their readers, and try to keep it.

The Author’s Promise – 2 Things Writers Should Do
Image by Dixie Leota

The Author’s Promise

‘I, the author, undertake to fulfil your expectations on both an emotional and intellectual level. I will begin with this promise and I will try to overcome all obstacles in a satisfying, meaningful way through the middle of my book until I can discharge my side of the contract. I guarantee that in the end you will have either gained new insights, have your dreams confirmed or spent a thrilling vicarious journey with my characters.’

As a writer, you enter into an agreement on two levels:

  1. The emotional – you will provide an entertaining, inspiring story for your reader
  2. The intellectual – you will give your reader a new insight and a new outlook and takes him on a journey to another world, be it internal or external

If I have been entertained, informed, and inspired, I am a happy reader who will gladly spend money on your next book.

TOP TIP: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 8th April 2014