U is for User-Friendly
I graduated from LSU with a business degree and for the majority of my professional life I’ve developed training materials, taught classes, and composed instruction manuals…all for the purpose of teaching people how to properly use the tools they were provided to do their jobs. I’ve also had the opportunity to design some of these same systems from the ground up – to tailor how the framework is presented to the operators and help guide their interaction. Believe me when I tell you that there is not one single aspect of what I’ve been doing for the past 30+ years that is not made easier by the concept of “user-friendly”.
But have you ever thought about how that phrase applies to your writing?
Think about it…how many times have you been told not to use twenty words to explain something that could be done in ten? More user-friendly. Don’t try and show off your extensive vocabulary by using obtuse words the reader will have to look up when simpler words will accomplish the same result. More user-friendly. Construct your book with short chapters or multiple scenes per chapter to provide the reader plenty of breaking points. More user-friendly. Break-up your paragraph structures so they aren’t so repetitive and keep the reader engaged. More user-friendly.
These are just a few examples, but I think you get my point. Writing a book is more than just an intriguing story, compelling characters, and a unique voice. Technical considerations such as these could be a deciding factor when a prospective buyer picks your book off the shelf and studies it. I know I have put back plenty of books I was on the fence about because they contained pages and pages of long worded paragraphs, or lengthy…thirty page chapters. I did that because I didn’t view the books as easy reads. To me, they weren’t user-friendly.
Think of it this way -- those of us seeking publication, we are creating a product for sale. And hopefully the people who purchase our product will want to recommend it to lots of other people. What better recommendation is there than, “It was really easy to use!”
Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.