Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Engaging Readers and Our Love of Westerns

Post by Doris McCraw aka Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

The regularly scheduled post has been preempted by this short post. If I've done my job, it should be a 5-7 minute read.

How do we engage people to want to learn history, read history, and the stories we tell about the history of the West?

We have a short window of time to pique interest. We want to share our love, our passions, and our stories. Unless they are already a fan, the information dump is usually a turn-off. Leaving people wanting to know more, well, I think that is more of a win.

I liken this to the 'crisis' class I was semi-required to attend today. In a crisis, you narrow in on the event that is the issue. You tell the authorities what they need to know, leaving out the minute details that are not important at that time. Later, when the crisis is no longer threatening, you will have time to add the other details. If the media is involved, and they try to be first on the scene, you have to ignore their demands and focus on taking care of business. You talk to them later.

It may be better to be brief, leaving people wanting to know more so that they will engage. Once you have engagement, you are far more likely to build a long-term relationship with the reader of your blog, your essay, or your book. 

The other lesson from the class today? Dealing with situations is usually a team effort. As writers, we are used to going it alone. When I decided to pursue this 'next' career, I purposely sought out others who were writing what I was at the time. I connected to a group that was writing a series. By doing so, I was able to not only learn from them but also connected with a wider audience. Never a bad thing as an author.

Those are the thoughts for now. With luck, the regularly scheduled post will show up next month. For now, it back to the book "Under the Stone, Women Doctors in Evergreen Cemetery". It's due soon, so, until next time...

Mock-up of the book cover

Doris McCraw


  1. Doris, You are so perceptive. My task is to get younger people to try our historicals. For the most part, they won't even read the first line. It's a shame history is not a larger part of the curriculum--if it's there at all. When my daughter taught 4th grade, she had to sneak in Texas history because she was supposed to teach only what would be on "the test". Traditionally, 4th grade has been when students study state history. So sad to see the state of education. Sorry, I'll get off my soap box. :) I do love history, and I appreciate that yours is well-researched and accurate. Thank you.

    1. Soap box is fine, Caroline. It is something I think about as I not only market my work, but support other authors. One thing that struck me when I was working lock-up with juveniles. Even though the time "The Outsiders" was set it, those kids related to the story. That 'relating' is what I'm trying to tap into.

      Also, thank you for your kind words about my research. That is something that is important to me. Doris