Reading is the best possible hobby anyone can have. Alright, maybe I'm biased. But that doesn't stop it being true.
Writers are always told to read as much as they can, and read books in the same genre as they write. Now, I don't need to be told about the first one. For as long as I can remember, a well-stocked bookshelf has been the most important piece of furniture in my house. There are certain bodily functions that we must perform in order to live - as far as I'm concerned, reading is one of them.
Recently, I was advised that my novels are most suited for a young adult (YA) market, rather than adult. That was fine by me, because as long as there is someone who wants to read what I write I couldn't care less how old they are. With that in mind, I've been having a look at the shelves where, hopefully, my novels will sit one day.
Up until then, I was doing my best to read literary works, particularly those shortlisted for the Orange and Man Booker prizes. After all, if I'm writing for an adult audience, I should aspire to write in this style, shouldn't I? Thankfully, I was wrong. I liked reading quite a lot of them, but sometimes felt I was ploughing through just for the sake of getting the book finished. Wonderful as many of these novels are, they're just not what I want to read on a regular basis. Now, though, I've bought a few current YA science fiction novels and I'm thoroughly enjoying them: it's as if someone has finally given me permission to read exactly what I want!
This just shows how important it is to get advice from people who REALLY KNOW books and the current market in publishing. Feedback from non-writer friends has been good but not constructive. Feedback from writer friends has been constructive but not specific enough for me. Feedback from agents and an editor has truly hit home. I love to read what I love to write, and I can't believe I didn't make the link sooner!