What Makes You Throw the Book Down?

books_for_sale_186809Today I’m participating in a Round Robin topic:

You loved the blurb. First page sounded interesting. You bought the book. What makes you throw the book against the wall, stomp on it and go find another?

For me, the number one reason is lack of editing and proofreading. I’ve picked up several books that sounded so intriguing, the story so promising, but then I’m stumbling over typo after typo, elementary grammar mistakes, and disregard of the basics of writing.

It’s as if the author dashed off a first draft and immediately published it, without another read-through or anyone else taking a look at it.

The story cannot overcome these fatal errors for me. I encourage all writers, whether you have a publisher or are self-publishing, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by putting out an error-riddled book. Have it edited and proofread–probably more than once!

For more opinions on why readers throw the book down, visit these bloggers:

* Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/*
* Anne Stenhouse at http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
* Diane Bator at http://dbator.blogspot.ca
* Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com
* Margaret Fieland at http://margaretfieland.com/my_blog
* Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
* Geeta Kakade at http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
* Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
* Beverley Bateman – http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
* Rhobin Courtright – http://rhobinleecourtright.com

Published in: on April 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm  Comments (16)  

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I can overlook errors because most books have them, but what distracts me is redundancy…telling me the same thing over and over but in a different way, and the inability to use a Thesaurus to avoid word repetition. To me, those as signs of a lazy writer, but we all have things that bug us, right? Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed your post.

    • Very true, even “Big House” books do have an error or two. But it’s the error on every page or every paragraph that makes me give up!

  2. As a publisher, editor, and author, I heartily concur. No author, no matter how good, can edit themselves, myself included. Everyone needs a good editor.


    • Yes, I certainly need to be edited! I was amazed at the number of things to be changed when my first two novels were republished and re-edited!

  3. Hi Heidi, so true. I think editing is the skill you can teach and even talented writers sometimes need to be taught. Anne Stenhouse

    • Yes, we do! I love writing because you keep on learning!

  4. Sometimes the writer never really gets beyond that initial premise that sounds so promising. The major reason I throw down a book after a great opening is that the writer seems to be just filling pages rather than developing and following through on the story. A great beginning is one thing, but you need a great middle and ending also!

  5. Good points and important ones. Ones that many of our group have mentioned, so writers need to pay attention to this. I think any book needs a second set of eyes, editor or proof reader, before publishing.

  6. I find errors in almost every novel i read so I ignore the typos. Now fact checking, that is another matter.

  7. I agree with Connie about ignoring the typos. For me, not involving me in the character’s head up front is a downer. I’m reading a book that starts with pages of omniscient backstory. I was ready to put it down when (suddenly?) on page 17 the real story starts and I’m finding it quite engaging. But what if I hadn’t waded through the slough?

    • I can ignore a certain number of typos if the story is good and the characters draw me in. But if it’s riddled with errors, I have a difficult time and I may not be willing to tackle another one of the author’s books.

  8. When I realize that the ending is going to be “life is tough and then you die,” when there’s no hope left inside the story. It doesn’t have to end happily but the characters for me have to be transformed in some way that suggests a fuller life, that they’ve learned life lessons, that they have some hope for the future. Without that I feel like I’ve wasted my time cheering them on only to discover they weren’t up to the challenge. I have to say that The Tale of Edgar Sawtelle was one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read but I did want to throw it against the wall at 2:30 in the morning when I realized that there was no good ending for these characters, not a one of them! Well, maybe the dogs who escaped…

    • I certainly agree with you, Jane about unsatisfactory endings! They don’t necessarily have to be “happy” but like you say, at least give some hop.

  9. Heidi when I wrote for my print publisher I realized editors/copy writers make mistakes too. With those first books I often had friends point out the mistakes till I checked the original and found they weren’t there…so what are you going to do once you ‘pass it on’.
    Now if I see stuff like that I ignore it as it isn’t always the writer’s fault.
    Punctuation and grammar I can skim but facts and story flow/pacing have to be right on the nose or book meets delete button or wall.

    • That’s very true, Geeta. Everyone makes mistakes. My main problem is having started to read self-published books that were just riddled with mistakes–no excuse for that many!

  10. I can overlook a few typos in the whole manuscript because even the big guys miss one or two, but I agree that noticeable editing problems are a turn off. Even with a perfect edit, I have to like the characters. If I can’t connect with at least one of the main characters, I stop reading.

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