Learn how to make it impossible to put your book down with this FREE online class by Anne Victory, editor for NYT and USA Today best-selling authors.
📘 Make your readers feel like an eyewitness or that the story’s actually happening to them.
📘 Learn techniques to create irresistible page-turners that banish boredom—and keep readers transfixed.
📘 Master easy-to-apply, instant-impact tips from a professional editor whose clients have sold millions of books.
Voice. Authors have to cultivate it—it’s one of the major things that builds reader loyalty, especially in a saturated market. But what exactly do people mean when they talk about an author’s voice, usually in statements like these:
“Make sure your editor doesn’t interfere with your voice.”
“It took me years to find / cultivate my author’s voice.”
“Don’t edit the voice (life) out of your story.”
It’s pretty simple really. Let’s think about it in terms of music. Have you ever flipped through radio channels and heard a song that was completely new to you, but you instantly knew who was singing? There are some artists that could never be mistaken for anyone else—Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Tom Petty (RIP), Adam Levine, the list goes on. And then there are others that even if you love them, you might easily mistake one of their songs as being by someone else. Their voice just isn’t that unique.
With writing, voice is a bit more complicated—it’s a whole host of things combined. It’s the way you put sentences together, your settings, your dialogue, your tone. Some of my favorite authors can make me feel like I’m actually visiting the places where they set their stories. Other writers’ prose almost has a lyrical quality to it. Some stories make me wish I were hanging out with the characters. Let your sense of humor come out, have your characters engage in snappy banter. All these things contribute to your voice.
Your writing voice takes time to develop, but trust me, you’ll get there. In the meantime, here are three things (aside from reading widely and writing) that you can do to let yourself shine:
Notice how in the tips above, the word friend keeps coming up? That’s because your fans are kind of your friends. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but they develop a relationship with you through your writing. They like you. They want to hang out with you. Developing that relationship is what makes readers put you on autobuy, read your backlist, sign up for your newsletter, and tell their friends about you. And that’s a wonderful thing.