When Romance Falls Short of Reader Expectations

I recently picked up a new book by a well-known author with loads of awards to their name. It was my first dive into their work, and I was excited to read it.

After several chapters, I wondered if I was expecting too much because the story lacked the quality of a seasoned writer. Upon further examination, I noticed an older copyright date. Had the publisher unearthed a gem from a time when ebooks didn’t exist and romance fiction standards were different?

Here’s the catch: we’re living in 2023 and readers have particular expectations than when I was a kid. But are these expectations fair?

Storytelling has developed since Shakespeare entertained the masses. With the passing of time, our knowledge has increased and our world has rapidly advanced.

Reading preferences have also progressed, just like television programs. Remember 90s TV shows and cartoons? They were the bee’s knees back then, but watching them again with my girls? Not always as thrilling (except for the original Animaniacs, which is still top-notch!).

In the same way smartphones have outpaced the trusty old Motorola flip phone, fiction has transformed. Nowadays, readers crave a front-row seat to the hero and heroine’s adventures, with minimal narration and description. They’re a discerning bunch and appreciate following breadcrumbs, rather than being spoon-fed the obvious. The best part? There’s a treasure trove of books just a click away, offering readers a world of choice while writers endeavour to keep them entertained.

As a reader, I have a set of reasonable expectations, and as a writer, I give my all to meet them with every word I type. I know my next book will be better than my last because I’ve worked hard on my writing craft and dedicated hours reading in the genre I write.

We all grow and change, as do our reading tastes. Readers will demand higher standards, and writers will strive to meet and exceed these expectations.

The nature of writing is always changing. Publishing old work as “new” may deter new readers from exploring an author’s recent work, but the author may have no control if the publisher owns the rights.

Keep this in mind the next time you read a book which doesn’t reach your expectations and think about reading something else by the author.

I know I am.

Until next time,

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