This is a question that keeps authors up at night.
How does a book become a "Must Read?"
Is it a catchy title?
Is it a beautiful book cover?
Is it word of mouth advertising?
Is it excellent mechanics?
Is it excelling in english 101?
Is it creating intimacy with your audience...and if it is, how do you do that?
So, intimacy, huh? Are we talking behind closed doors, or sensual intimacy? No. I'm talking intimacy of sharing the details and minutia of your day with your mom or best friend. I'm talking about the intimacy you put in your journal that is shoved in a drawer where no one would ever think to look. I'm talking intimacy of honesty in your writing that makes you believable in every way, shape, and form.
This is how I feel intimacy is developed - please chime in if you have any ideas on the subject...or, call me out if you think I'm way off base! I'm still learning, here!
I believe it's creating characters that could be your reader's sister, best friend, lover, crazy ex, or odd next door neighbor that no one ever sees and everyone talks about.
I believe it's honesty in the writer's voice...so that your reader becomes enveloped in your story, becomes invested in your characters, and digs their toes into the beach sand or the bed covers, turning page after page until the story is finished.
I believe it is a setting that you know so well, it's like taking your reader by the hand and on a personal field trip through your mind.
I believe that it's listening and learning from your editor, taking tips and tricks from successful writers, and weaving them all into your current story, and starting from there - using them when you weave your next tale. This is what will make your next story the best book you've ever written.
Plotting, Pant-sing, Character building exercises aside. Us authors need to work on developing our voice, first and foremost - and the only way to do that, is to write. Write every day. Write about anything and everything. And like my friend Dan Harmer said, write like your parents will never read what you've written down. (He said something slightly different, but I don't even like to think about a world without my parents in it - so I'll say it this way: Write like you're jotting your story in your diary that NO ONE knows about.)
This is nowhere to be timid. This is your opportunity to confront your subconscious. To drag those deep, dark, scary, sensual, inspirational, and/or devotional thoughts into the light of day. Fillet your soul and let the world see what you bleed... And that is what I feel makes a must read: