Why Writers Must Be Readers

ImageI often get asked, how does someone become a better writer? My answer is always to read more, more, more.

Here are the reasons why writers must be voracious readers:

  • Attention to detail – People who read a lot learn grammar, spelling, dialogue and more from books.
  • Knowing what’s going on in your genre – Over 200,000 books are traditionally published in the U.S. in any given year. Do you know what’s out there in yours?
  • Comparison titles – When it comes time to get an agent can you compare and contrast your writing within your own genre? What types of books should yours be placed beside in a bookstore?
  • Gaps in the marketWhen the writing mood strikes and you’re reading to put pen to paper and start an outline or your first chapter, stay away from things that have been done and open your mind to what readers are still looking to find. What do you as a reader want to read that hasn’t been written before? Start there.
  • Inspiration – Use reading as fuel for your own writing passions. Don’t let the success of others’ writing success cripple your own. Yes, there are a lot of books out there, but if they made it then you can too.

So do yourself a favour, get a library card and get reading!

Q: How does reading help you as a writer?

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

9 thoughts on “Why Writers Must Be Readers

  1. Great post! I find that the more I read, the more I “read like a writer”- as cliche as that phrase is. I am able to analyze what I like and don’t like about certain passages and voices, and that helps a ton as I write my own book.


  2. There’s a quote from Stephen King about how you can’t be a writer if you aren’t a reader, and I really think that’s true. I mean, when I’m in a writing class at school and we go around to talk about our favorite books, I’m always rather skeptical when people say they ‘haven’t read anything for a long time’ or they ‘just don’t read much anymore’. I need to read books as much as I need to write them, and I know that almost 100% of what I know about writing I didn’t learn in a class. I learned it from READING.


Leave a Reply to Jennifer Browne Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: