They’re our readers…eventually?

by Phil Sexton
Publisher, Writer’s Digest

We often talk about where to find readers and how to build an audience for our work. It’s all part of developing a platform, right? Write consistent blog posts. Send out an email newsletter. Develop a Twitter following. Write the best book you can. We all know the drill.

One thing we don’t talk about, however, is developing a new generation of readers.

Is this the right forum to discuss such things? Maybe not, but I think so. We all have a vested interest in working to create the largest pool of readers possible, some of whom, hopefully, will end up reading and appreciating our work.

To that end, I wanted to mention a new edition of an excellent book that I think is well worth reading. It’s not a Writer’s Digest book, or an Abbott Press book. I don’t know the authors and I’ve no connection with their publisher. But I think it’s a book worth knowing about, particularly if you’re a parent to young children, or friends with AbbottPresssomeone who has young children.

The book in question is Reading with Babies, Toddlers & Twos:  A Guide to Laughing, Learning & Growing Together Through Books by Susan Straub, KJ Dell’Antonia and Rachel Payne. It may sound silly to bring up a book about reading to children in a blog devoted to writing and publishing, but, as a (still fairly new) dad to a nine month old daughter, I can tell you that the experience of reading to my child has been eye-opening and given me no end of appreciation for how much the act is shaping her cognitive abilities. She’s growing up with a love of books, which is already apparent, choosing which ones she wants to hear, and actively engaging with the ones being read to her. Beyond helping to ensure that she adopts a reading habit early, the act ultimately benefits writers as well. The more effort we put into encouraging our children to read, often and broadly, the more adult readers there will be down the road. Self-serving? Sure. But necessary – and good for them, too!

If you’re a parent, or know someone who is, are you consistently promoting the act of reading to the children around you?

If you’ve developed a regular writing habit, you should be proud of that. If you’re actively building a platform and an audience of active readers, I applaud you. But if you’re not promoting the act of reading to a new generation, please consider doing so. It will help ensure an audience for your book years from now, while at the same time serving a much larger – and perhaps even more important – purpose. I’d love to know your thoughts below.

Keep writing!