I was reading a blog post the other day and the author stated that when readers buy books, it’s in the hope that they’ll enjoy them.
I think that’s basically correct. I want to be entertained, enlightened, and educated. My Three E requirements.
I think that readers want something more. They want a book that adheres to their principles of life.
Remember the bell curve? I absolutely loathed statistics, so bear with me. Let’s say that the top of the curve is a reader’s comfort zone. Here’s where she finds books that perfectly align with books she enjoys: one man, one woman, happy ever after, a relationship based on monogamy, heroine and hero are both decent people with admirable qualities. I’ll put myself as the Reader, because that’s pretty much what I like.
What happens when I pick up a book about a wolf and a human heroine? It’s different enough to be outside the “comfort zone”, but it’s still okay, because most of the criteria are there. The wolf wants a mate for life. The relationship is based on monogamy. Although the wolf isn’t a human, technically, he still has values and a belief system.
What if I pick up a book about a jewel thief who steals because she likes stealing, who gets excited by the idea of fooling the police. I’m not likely to enjoy that book because the heroine isn’t someone decent with qualities I admire.
Everyone’s bell curve is different. It’s made up of your experiences, your expectations, your beliefs, and your values. What you enjoy might be totally different from what I enjoy, and that’s absolutely fine. But I’d be willing to bet that almost everyone has a 10 – 20 % degree of tolerance for books outside their comfort zone.
What do you think?