How Many Books should I Read Before I understand the Genre I am Writing
This is a question that I keep hearing and I firmly believe that anyone who asks this needs to read more books. It’s something that is fluid and not standard. It changes like the seasons or the tide. It is very important to writing otherwise you will never understand what that genre is about. But it is especially important to writing because it will help you keep in touch with the industry, which in turn will help you set yourself apart.
My fiancé loves reading as much as I do. However, even he can't always understand the current YA genre. Since he is guy who grew up on YA literature, I have to remind him that books change every few years - as do the tastes of those who read them so some thing that would have been SERIOUSLY TABOO even just ten years ago are considered normal now. Writers can write about whatever they want, but for those who become authors, understanding our readers is a significant part of our careers. We lose touch with our fan base and our writing will begin to reflect this separation. (This does not mean following fads because the industry will make its own place for you if your work is good enough.)
But for me, it isn't only about keeping in touch with my fan base to continue writing what they love to read. I read to broaden my horizons and to learn about the worlds that my fellow authors have created. When authors stand alone, I feel that we are unable to create the quality of books that we would be able to if we did so together - and I'm not talking about being co-authors.
As a reader, I can understand the frustration of other readers when during a season of releases I maybe only find one or two books that I can dive into and become a part of those worlds. Recently however, I find myself finding more books than ever I can dive into and enjoy. Why? Because we've all become connected with each other and our readers in a way that has never happened before. We can blog and talk with one another. We can meet authors and fans alike and learn about each other.
Although the internet makes this possible, it is the books that we read that create these bridges for us to enjoy. Authors and readers alike can grow as they learn more about the genre they enjoy. So when I hear the question about how many books a person should read to understand the genre, I tell them they need to read more!
Enjoy and remember that if you ever need an escape, look at your bookshelf and you can choose the world you want to be a part of and the characters you want to get to know!