Updated: Oct 15, 2020
Most writers I know love to read, and for those who don’t… What are you doing? How do you expect other people to read your book one day when you won’t read theirs? It’s all fun and games reading until you get to your story and you’re writing, but something about it seems… familiar! You’re unconsciously copying another story but in your own version. Oops! Backspace… backspace. Hopefully, with these pros and cons of reading books in your genre, you can be cautious while reading and writing. Most of the points I’ve gathered along with my reading and writing journey. Maybe you’ll pick on one or two…
There are quite a few pros and cons but I’ve narrowed it down to the most important. If you know any more, that might be relevant, don’t hesitate to comment below! Since I write and review mostly Young Adult Fiction, I’ll use that genre as an example.
PRO: Endless Inspiration
Within the past decade, there’s been an exceeding amount of YA books being released every week! Thus, endless inspiration for readers and writers alike whether or not the book is popular.
CON: Feeling like everything’s been written already
Yes, this is in relation to my first pro, but it doesn’t mean everything’s been written! Taking risks in writing a book you think has already been written is impossible. Why? It hasn’t been writing by you yet. I’m sure if I would’ve written Twilight, The Fault In Our Stars, etc they would’ve been different. Classical retellings are a perfect example. Everyone knows the book is based on a certain concept, but it’s told differently.
PRO: Reading and writing a genre you like
Some writers find it hard to read in their genre, then try to write something different or similar. If you’ve broken this barrier and can easily read as many books in your genre as you can, then go you!
CON: Fearing your story won’t be liked
There’s a con to reading in just your genre, that’s why I like to spice things up. You’ll read so many YA books. With your story, you’ll fear no one will like it because it’s not similar to the popular YA books.
PRO: Attraction of book covers
Even though the saying goes, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ many readers will buy books just because of the cover. I’m guilty of it. With the evolution of book covers in recent years, whether you’re self-publishing or traditional—it’s good to have a grasp of what your target audience likes.
CON: How your target audience reacts to your book cover
With an abundance of book covers to choose from and people having various tastes nowadays, it’s difficult to tell whether your audience will be inclined to your book cover. With self-publishing or even traditional (sometimes), there’ll be a few mock-ups of book covers to choose from. Include your readers in the decision. This way, they’ll feel part of the process and more likely to buy your book.
PRO: Using other books as research
If you’re new to writing in the genre, reading is a good way to get started and get as much information from these books as possible. Whether it’s setting, how a certain system works, experiences, behaviors, description, etc.
CON: Not feeling confident after reading
If you read too many books in your genre before you write, then a sense of insecurity might wash over you as you compare your work to other books.
CON: Last but not least, unconsciously replicating another story
Okay, so you’ve read a ton of books in your genre, you have an idea in mind and start writing. Once you’ve finished a particular scene or chapter you read over it and realize—oops! I’ve just re-created a scene that’s already been written and published from another book. It happens but realizing it before anyone else can read it is a good thing. You’re so into writing and full of motivation you don’t realize that in some way—someone will say ‘hey, this is just like that one scene in this other book’ then it’ll be too late to change anything. Unless they’re a beta reader or a friend, you want feedback from.
So, there it is, folks! Pros and cons. Some might sound similar to others, but I hope you can comprehend what I’m trying to say. Maybe you’re not guilty of the cons, good on you! However, it’s a good idea to keep these in mind. In the comments, let me know any others you might think are relevant that I haven’t mentioned!