We all want to be seen; we want to be understood. To be seen, and to see in the eyes and thoughts of others a reflection of who we are, and of how we feel in our hearts, is a core need.
As readers look for a book to read, they are often looking for a reflection of themselves. They want to see, written down, a vivid picture of how they feel, and of what they want. They want you, as the author, to understand them, to empathize with them, and to cater to their interests and feelings.
This is why genre is important; genre allows readers to choose out a particular kind of emotional reading experience they want to have, and to not be forced to sort through millions of unclassified books to find what they need.
Genres, and the categories within genres, are exquisitely nuanced towards the readers’ needs. Excellent cover art is essential, because it conveys to the reader a clear sense of what, exactly, the book is going to do for them, emotionally.
To get at your reader’s hearts, and at their wallets, you must think of them as tender and honorable children. You must serve your readers the way you would serve good children, and make their experience of reading and enjoying the story as seamless and magical as possible. Imagine to yourself that you are arranging a cozy Christmas morning for two small children. Picture to yourself the details you would see to before you brought the kids in to see the tree, the presents, and the wonderful lights.
Be sentimental, and be real. The readers will know, and they will begin to feel about your stories the way small children feel towards Christmas morning. Emotion moves most purchasing decisions. Get at the readers’ emotions by being exactly the self-reflection that they want and need.