3It’s Not About You: Writing for Your Reader

“If the writer doesn’t sweat, the reader will.”

—Mark Twain

IF YOU WALK INTO A store looking for a new computer and the first salesperson you meet immediately points to a group of computers and says, “Any of those are good,” and then walks away, there is a good chance so will you, and with good reason. Why? You were never asked what you were seeking, how much you could spend, or if the computer would be used for business or pleasure or your child’s homework assignments. In brief, the salesperson never considered or asked about your needs and preferences. Just as it would come as no surprise to learn the salesperson who was indifferent to a potential customer’s needs was soon out of a job, the same ...

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