10 kinds of books authors should be reading right now

Reading for authorsIf you’re not writing, you should probably be reading. Here’s one take on a reading list for novelists—what fiction authors should be reading and why.

1. Read the classics. You’ve heard that there are only so many stories in the world. If storytelling is your stock in trade, you should probably know what they are.

2. Read debut authors. Find out what’s working right now. What do agents and publishers want? What do readers want? You can’t find a more obvious signpost toward what gets a book published today than a successful debut novel.

3. Read “bad” authors. What makes writing good? What makes it bad? Why is Dan Brown a bestseller despite the fact that his writing routinely gets slammed? Find out for yourself.

4. Read your genre. Is it too late for you to add your oeuvre to the teen dystopia wasteland? Are Bridget Jones wanna-bes washed up? What’s been done to death? What hasn’t?

5. Read outside your genre. Cross-pollination between commercial and literary fiction can be especially ripe with potential. What ideas and trends can you steal from other genres?

6. Read literary fiction. Even if you’re known for slingshotting readers through formulaic cyberpunk thrillers, you’ll enrich your stories and add depth by spending time away from the keyboard sinking into the rich characterizations of literary fiction.

7. Read commercial fiction. Some who wander are indeed lost. Read the bestsellers and learn how to drive the story relentlessly home.

8. Read a good series and a bad series. Find out how to successfully sustain an overarching story over multiple books. Find out what happens when you don’t.

9. Read the thing that everyone hates. Find out why everyone keeps reading it anyway.

10. Read different takes on your own ideas. Find out how other authors have twisted the threads and pulled them together in ways you might not have chosen.

Let’s make your own book a book other authors will want to read. Email me at lisa@lisapoisso.com so we can schedule your manuscript for editing.