What All Great Books Have in Common

Maybe your only goal is to become profitable on Kindle—do you care how good your book is? I know you do… not to mention you’ll be most profitable on Kindle if your books are good. You’ll get the most notice if your books truly speak to your audience. You could make the argument that there are some extremely badly written books out there that are still profitable. That’s true, but that’s not you.

You definitely don’t have to write anything that’s full of literary genius to be successful. Sometimes, people just love to read something that has a good story. That’s why I don’t believe you have to take expensive creative writing courses or anything like that. Everyone is capable of coming up with a good story—it’s part of your nature, whether you’ve flexed that muscle yet or not. You just need to get words down on paper that allow people to escape and dive into your book.

Here are some things all great books have in common:

Good Story and Good Story Line

What does it mean to have a good story? There’s no easy answer to this question. A good story is one that draws people in and allows them to escape from their daily life. It’s a story where people really feel connected to the character and to what is going on. They find themselves interested and invested in what’s happening.

The definition of “good story” is different depending on who you’re speaking to. What you think is a great story might be very different from what I think is a great story. All that matters is that there is some kind of audience out there for what you write. That’s it – that’s all that matters. Not what all the “fiction books” tell you matter. The readers, and your audience in particular, are all that matter.

If you’re not sure that’s true, visit the Amazon page for your favorite author and take a look at their reviews. Even if you love a book, you will no doubt find some one star reviews that exclaim how terrible it is.

That brings me to my next point – you can’t please everyone. As long as you know you’re writing a solid story for your audience, don’t worry about trying to make everyone happy with it. Your book doesn’t have to be universally loved, or technically perfect, to make an impact on your readers.

Write stories you enjoy and others will enjoy them, too.

Real Characters

Great books have great characters. Your characters have to seem REAL… real enough that people can easily relate to them. Maybe not real in every way – especially if you’re writing about mystical figures in sci-fi and fantasy – but in the most important ways. The best books have characters that go through important, often difficult events in life.Great characters are richly drawn – so much so that people feel like they know these characters.

They aren’t just names and words on the page; they become real to the reader. If your story is good and your characters are good, readers will forgive and forget all kinds of things. But if your story and your characters aren’t good, it doesn’t matter how technically perfect your book is. That’s why I recommend you focus on the former rather than the latter.

Relationships

People also care deeply about how your characters relate to one another. Real-life relationships are flawed and so are the relationships you will have in your book. You’ll have heroes and villains, love and hate, disgust and passion, and so much more as part of the relationships your characters have with one another. You can’t just come up with one great character and have that character float around flatly a bit – you need to come up with great characters all the way around and have those characters interact with one another in important ways.

Ups And Downs

You’ve no doubt noticed some common themes so far… things I talk about over and over again. Your characters will have many ups and downs. To make your book interesting and important, you need to present obstacles your characters must overcome. Most importantly of all, your main character must have many obstacles thrown his or her way that he or she needs to overcome. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a romance novel or an action novel, these ups and downs are important if you want to have an excellent book.

Something Readers Really Care About

Once again, your readers really have to care about what’s happening in the story. You can’t just have two people meet and fall in love and have nothing else interesting going on in between. You can’t just write about a character nothing ever happens to.

After you’ve chosen your genre, consider why it is your potential readers buy books in this genre. Take a look at the reviews they’ve left for similar books in your genre. You can find some clues as to what they like and don’t like, and what they wish they could find in books like the one you’re going to write. You’re writing for your readers, so you really need to do a big study of exactly what they need and want out of a book.

You have to realize that there are an incredible number of books out there. People have many other options besides your book. If they are choosing to read your book, you need to deliver on what they really care about. You need to pay attention to why it other books in your genre have been so successful and what you can do to your book so it meets the same fate.

All the best,
Patti

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