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What POV Should I Use?

POV, or point of view, is the narrative mechanism used to tell stories. Choosing from the many available POV options can be difficult for self-publishing authors. Here are 5 things to take into consideration:

1. Genre

Self-publishing authors should be well-versed in the genre they write in. Most genres have POVs that are used commonly and POVs that are rarely, if ever, used. As a general rule, self-publishing authors should follow the genre norms when deciding on POV. For instance, most cozy mysteries are written in the 1st person perspective. If a self-publishing author doesn’t have a very specific reason to use another POV for their cozy mystery then the 1st person POV should be their default because it is the genre norm.Two people and a dog symbolizing the cast of a novel by a self-publishing author
POV preferences change over time so self-publishing authors should weigh current genre trends more heavily than historical ones.

2. Cast

A self-publishing author should consider how many characters play a significant role in their story.

Certain POVs are better for larger casts while others are better for smaller. For instance, an epic fantasy story following five characters on five adventures would be harder for a reader to follow if each was told in 1st person POV. 3rd person tends to be a better choice for large cast groups. 1st person POV works best when there is one main protagonist whom the self-publishing author wants the reader to feel close to.

3. Complexity

When a self-publishing author writes a story with complex settings or a complex plot it is often difficult to give readers all the information they need while in the 1st person perspective. This can be worked around if the narrating character also needs the information but, as a general rule, complex settings and plots are better served by the 3rd person POV.

4. Deception

If a self-publishing author wants to conceal important information in a story, the 1st person POV is often the best choice. This POV is frequently used in mysteries, thrillers, and other books where the self-publishing author needs to hold back information from the reader.

This information can be something the narrator knows, such as their involvement in a crime they are helping to investigate, or information unknown to both the character and the reader such as the narrator being a ghost.

5. Time

1st person POV is an excellent vehicle for stories told in the past. This doesn’t mean historical stories particularly, but the past within a story. Journal entries or letters between characters are a 1st person account of events though the events are happening in the story’s past. Similarly, a character can recall to another character, or directly to the reader, how they got to the present in the story.

Choosing what POV to write in can be tricky for a self-publishing author but choosing a book printing service is easy. InstantPublisher offers custom printing services. Visit our website today to see how you, a self-publishing author, can print your own book simply and affordably.

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