I love you all, of course. You each have your own individual ways of blessing me, challenging me, and making me smile.
Here are the ten reading styles I've found among my readers:
Breathless—You see the wonder in every word. Each book you read takes your breath away. I’m totally flattered by your raving reviews until I realize you raved just as crazily over another book that I couldn’t even finish. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine was completely flattered when a doctor calls her “breathtaking” until he uses the exact same term for an ugly baby. I may not totally trust your judgment, but I’ll be using your review in the next meme I make. (If you haven't already made your own.)
Attentive—You may have enjoyed the story, but you’re concerned about that typo my editor missed. You don’t want it to distract from anyone else’s experience, so you send me a complete list of all the things I should change to fix my novel. Sometimes I want to mimic Adam Sandler and shout, “Once again, things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!” Instead, I take notes and use them to improve on the sequel.
Unexpected—You're a man who reads romance novels with your wife. Or you’re in a retirement center, and you stole the book from my best friend who was reading it to you as a group, but she read too slowly and you couldn’t wait to finish it. Or you’re the girl in my daughter’s middle school English class who borrowed my book from her teacher’s library three times and refused to return it. You’re not the audience I write for, but learning that one of you has read my book totally makes my day.
Type A—You read books because you’ve heard it’s what successful people do, and you want to be able to check that off your list of steps to success. You apologize to me for not having time to read more of my novels because you want to help me be successful too. I appreciate your sentiment and the new readers who find me when you drop my name to your sphere of influence.
Nurturing—Because you love my characters, you love me. I’ve tricked you with my words into thinking that I’m a funny and exciting person, so you want me to move in next door or be my BFF or bake me crumpets. I want that too, though I’m a little afraid that if you were to see me checking the mail in my bathrobe, my true boringness would be revealed, and you’d be disappointed.
Spiritual—You only read my books because they are Christian, and the church sermons are your favorite part. My characters sometimes have a few too many flaws for your comfort, but when they get into trouble, you pray for them. You forgive all my writing mistakes because my message is most important. We’re in this together, and as I grow in my faith, I hope that sometimes my message challenges even you.
Romance Junkie—You’re a reformed Danielle Steel reader. You love romance and know that without God’s love, it’ll leave you empty, though you still rate my kissing scenes, and it’s the chemistry that keeps you turning pages. I’m glad you found my books. May love change your life the way it changed mine.
Repetitive—You like series because you know what you’re getting into. You don’t like the risk of trying new things. Somehow you took a chance on my books, and now you’ve read them all multiple times. My characters have become your safety net. You slurped down the epilogue in Finding Love in Park City like the last scoop of Ben and Jerry’s. You email me to suggest I write stories for Genevieve’s family. Oh how I hate letting you down. If I could write faster, I’d totally do it just for you.
Pre-Published Writers—You love books with all your heart. You fall asleep with story ideas in your head. The desire to write runs in your blood. You read for research. My novels are your textbooks. You put me on a pedestal and feel like publication in unattainable. Just remember that everyone starts somewhere. Don’t give up on your dreams. My ceiling is the floor on which you can build.
Strangers—I’ve never met you. You’re not reading this. We’ll probably never interact. You won’t remember my name. You might remember “that one book where the guy was presumed dead” or “the mystery series with the girls who own a coffee shop/tea house,” which is still pretty cool. Even though I’m nothing to you, I hope my words bring you joy or peace or hope or whatever it is you need today.
Wherever you're at in your reading journey, I'm glad you found me, I hope this is just the beginning for us, and, as 1 Timothy 4:15 says, I pray you "see me mature right before your very eyes." If so, know you're an important part of my growth.