What Is a Reader Magnet?
A year ago, I had no idea what a reader magnet was. In my literalness, I envisioned a nice refrigerator magnet with a picture of a book and a puppy. And maybe a kitten and a chicken for good measure. I don’t know about anybody else’s readers except mine – but we all like books, puppies, kittens, and chickens.
Then I stumbled across the idea of a “short story” that would give a reader a taste of the author’s brilliant writing. My first thought: That’s dreadful.
The Short Story that Wasn’t a Reader Magnet
Case in point: I wrote a short story called Barter and Bargains three years ago and submitted it to millions of contests. (I typed jillions, but autocorrect frowns on exaggeration.) The maximum word count allowed was 5,000, so I had to trim my 7,500-word story back with a hatchet.
I received two recurring criticisms:
- The story was too nice.
- The critic/judge wanted to know more about the characters.
I learned four things from the experience:
- I write nice characters that people want to know more about.
- I am a great storyteller.
- My writing craft skills needed work.
- I can’t write short.
- Wait, make it five: I’m not deflated by criticism.