I get asked a lot of questions. One of the them is, ”What do I look for in an author?” I mean really as a reader, what are the things that draw you to pick up an author’s material and become a fan, stand by them time after time, and just proclaim your loyalty for eternity? Here are some of my thoughts, the yardstick by which I measure the authors, size them up, and just say hit me, I can’t wait till I get that read of yours in my hand:
-A really cool name, something that just sticks in my brain pan, I can’t get it out of my head, is always there on the tip of my tongue, and just slides off the tongue like melted butter: Stephen Jay Schwartz, David Baldacci, Harlen Coben, B.R. Stateham, Lee Child, Paul D. Brazill, John Sandford, Giovanni “The G-Man” Gelati. Okay I have a new novella coming out next week, “Holy Chrome Bocce Ball Beach Bloodbath”, but you have to admit the name rolls of the tongue.
-An amazing voice, very distinct and unforgettable: Paul Levine, Big Daddy Abel, Brad Thor, Alexandrea Weis , Joseph Finder, Darren Sant, Suzanne Woods Fischer, Paul D. Brazill, Barry Eisler.
-When speaking about their craft of writing, they can impart passion and give you the distinct feeling that they live, eat and breath writing and totally groove on being an author: Stephen Jay Schwartz, B.R. Stateham, Brett Battles, …
-Are active on their Social network like they mean it, like they want to be part of the reader’s experience, like they write for just me. Authors that make the readers voice count; they get back to you and do not respond through their “people”. I would be very biased in this answer so I am not dropping names here, but if an author doesn’t want that contact, doesn’t take it seriously, I am not going to read their work anymore. They can talk to my people at that point and wonder where I have gone and why. Yes, I have an opinion on it.
- Write like they are involved and not just hitting a deadline that they either didn’t want to hit or had no idea where the work was going. Dead pages are also a killer for me. I like back story and history, but let’s move the action and tighten the suspense a little here please.
-Covers- I am not into darkness and abstract art.
-Drive, Desire, and Heart- I want all three. I want an author that is still in the game, not there to cash the check and punch out, I want the author that is driven to find any shape ,size ,or form they can to get as much of them and their work into my hands: digital short story, novella if need be, and if they can crank it out, another novel. You can’t tell me that if the author is at work at least 5 days a week, 20 days a month, that they get something to see the light of day on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis. How bad do they want me as a reader? I am more than a once a year reader, hit me.
-Humor-some have it, others do not. I prefer to read those that do. I need to chuckle at least once in a story, mandatory.
-Endings- I need a decent ending, something to hang my hat on. Far too many authors get me to the end of the action and then they run out of steam; they cannot deliver the final few pages. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth and on my brain. It is like all that time I just spend went for naught, and I need a good candy bar to get rid of the taste or a good ice cream cone. Don’t get me wrong; I like a good cone, but I want to savor it, just like the read.
What is your criterion? What floats your boat and makes you go back to an author time after time?