Literary leverage

As a writer, it’s important to remember that only a tiny percentage of people read, far fewer read full articles instead of just headlines, fewer still read books, and—even if it’s a massive hit—only a minuscule fraction of those rarified few will read your book.

Knowing that you will never reach everyone frees you to write for a particular someone. You can tell a singular story just for people like them, a story that speaks to who they are and who they are becoming, a story they won’t be able to put down or forget.

The right book at the right time can make a lasting impact on the life of the right person, and people who read books exercise outsize influence on the world. So while writing books will never earn you a mass audience, it may very well be the lever you need to make the change you seek to make.

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Complement with Stories are Trojan Horses for ideas, Strange and incongruous relation, and my advice for authors.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels, including Cumulus, Bandwidth, and, most recently, Veil. He sends a monthly newsletter documenting his journey as a reader and writer, tweets more than he probably should, and lives in Oakland, CA.