Five Types of Readers

On the Goodreads Blog last June, Cynthia (no last name published) posted comments about five types of readers she has encountered.

She said, “As an author, you will encounter many different types of readers over the course of your career.  Some will turn into adoring fans; others might remain a mystery.  Here are five types of readers you’ll probably come across:

1 The Early Buzzer: This type of reader takes pride in reading books many months before they are published, reading books by authors you’ve never heard of, and leaving thoughtful book reviews most likely including quotes from the book.  On their bookshelf: titles without final covers, debut authors.

2 The Casual Reader: Considering that the typical American reads about 5 books a year, you’ll most likely encounter the Casual Reader.  This person leans toward popular bestsellers or classics.  On their bookshelf: The Girl on the Train,  The Catcher in the Rye, and something by Stephen King.

3 The Want-to-Reader: This person has every intention of reading your book, has heard so many good things about it and definitely will eventually read your book.  There are just 300 books on the want-to-read shelf.  (So many books, so little time.)

4 The Dedicated Reader: This reader will be meticulous in writing down every last detail of their reading experience, including where they purchased the book, how long it took them to read the book, where they read the book and what they were wearing that day.  Most likely to point out any factual errors or inconsistencies your editor might have missed.  On their bookshelf: You’ll likely find multiple bookshelves organised by date, season and genre.

5 The Follower: This is the best kind of reader.  Once they’ve read the book, they’ll fall in love with your writing and want to hear about everything you do.  They’ll likely follow you on Goodreads and ask when you’ll be coming to their town on book tour.  Expect lots of ‘likes’ on your content. On their bookshelf: Other books in your genre.  Books you’ve read and loved yourself.”

I suppose this is all well and good, but what I really liked was the first comment on Cynthia’s post published by Peter, who said: “‘Publishing career’ is a bit of a misnomer in my case, but, as far as it goes, here it is:

1 The Secret Reader: This is someone who has bought the book and you are aware from the limited details you have been given that they know you.  But they haven’t told you that they bought it.

2 The Not-So-Secret Reader: This is one of your friends who has bought the book and has let you know that they bought it.  You would have given them a free copy if you’d thought of it.

3 The Window Cleaner: The window cleaner hasn’t read your book (in fact, he probably isn’t aware that you have written one), but he whistles a jolly tune as he wipes the foam from your panes.

4 The Doorman: The doorman snickers as you walk past.  If you knew that you had written a book, he would probably snicker louder.

5 The Reluctant Discussers: These are your friends to whom you have given free copies of the book.  They haven’t mentioned anything about it, possibly because they are overwhelmed or have better things to talk about.”

As for me, if anyone cleans my window it is I, and we don’t have a doorman, so I am spared the attention of these two.  I think all authors wish for more Readers, secret or not-so-secret, and we have to put up with Reluctant Discussers.

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