15 Ways to Make Readers Hate Your Book

July 30, 2016 | Posted in Author Resources, Writing & Grammar Tips | By

15 Ways to Make Readers Hate Your Book

15 Ways to Make Readers Hate Your Book

All authors want readers to enjoy their books. Authors want readers to feel good, come back for more, and tell their friends to read the author’s book. No author wants readers to hate their books, stop reading, or feel like throwing the book and/or Kindle.

In life, we can’t make everyone happy, and everyone won’t always like us. The general rule is that 30% of people will like you no matter what, and 30% will never like you no matter what. You can affect whether or not the remaining 40% will like you.

The same concept applies to books and readers. Every reader won’t love your book. Approximately 30% of readers will love your book no matter what, and 30% will hate your book no matter what (e.g., don’t like the genre, don’t like sex in books, don’t like strong language, there is a trigger for them in the book). Worry about the 40% of readers who could go either way. Focus on making them love your book, and use the tips below to avoid making readers hate your book.

1. Book Covers That Don’t Fit
The book cover is often the first thing a reader will see. Readers have expectations for the covers of specific genres. If a book cover screams romance but is really a mystery, readers will feel misled. Not only do readers expect the cover to fit the genre, they also expect the cover to relate to the story and give them some insight into a piece of the story and/or a character. If a book cover features a castle on it, there better be a castle that plays an important part in the story.

2. Too Much Description and/or Background Information
Readers do not want to be overloaded with background information (a.k.a. info dump). Giving too much background information at once can bore readers and lead to skipping pages or putting your book down. If the information is integral to the plot or the character, then by all means, share it, but spread it out throughout the story. Share the information through a mix of narrative and dialogue.

When it comes to detail, readers don’t want to know everything, nor do they need to know everything. Yes, detail helps paint a picture for readers, but readers don’t need to know every nook and cranny of a room and every characteristic of every item in a room. Detail can help explain what a character is doing and why, but readers don’t need to know every single thing a character does before and after the important piece of detail. If each step is explained in detail, you risk readers skipping that section, which could lead to readers missing an important piece of information that was included in the detail. If it isn’t important for the plot or the character, stick with something simple.

3. Unwarranted Romance and/or Gratuitous Sex Scenes
Don’t throw in romance just because. Romance needs to fit with the plot and the characters. If a romance between two characters isn’t necessary to make the plot work or for character development, then don’t add it. Romance thrown in just because will stick out to readers and leave them trying to figure out how the romantic relationship fits with the plot. A romance thrown in just because can also change the way readers look at your characters.

Don’t add sex scenes just for filler or because you think readers want them. If the sex scene isn’t integral to the development of the relationship between two characters, doesn’t move the plot forward, or doesn’t add to the characteristics and development of a character, leave it out. There’s no reason to throw in a random sex scene just because. It leaves readers with the impression that you were looking to provoke a reaction in the reader or attempt to garner interest in your story again.

4. No Hook Within Chapter One
Within the first chapter, preferably the first page, authors should “hook” the reader. The reader should be enticed with an interesting character or premise. Present something that is different, stands out, captures the reader’s attention, and leaves the reader wanting to know more. A hook is an attention-getter that causes readers to keep reading. If a reader’s curiosity hasn’t been piqued, they may choose not to continue reading your book.

Read more about Creating a Hook.

5. Death of Too Many Characters or Death Without Meaning
If it’s a war or big fight scene, it’s okay for multiple unknown characters to die. However, killing off a main character’s entire family and all of his/her friends throughout the story will cause a problem with readers. It feels like a ploy to garner sympathy for the character or turn the character into a victim or “poor me” character who always has something bad happen to him/her and his/her loved ones.

Yes, you can kill off one or a few characters readers might have connected with; however, there must be a meaning or purpose to the death. If there is no meaning to the death, readers will feel the character was killed just for the sake of adding drama/conflict to the story through means of a main character who is now grieving.

6. Predictable Plot
Yes, there are similar plots, especially within specific genres. Romances are one genre that have one of the most predictable plots—girl meets boy, stuff happens, and girl and boy live happily ever after. A general predictable plot is fine, but your plot needs to stand out so it isn’t completely predictable. What makes your story different? Are there any unexpected conflicts and/or twists? What makes your characters unique? What makes readers feel your story is different from all the other stories in this genre?

7. Stereotypical Characters
Stereotypical characters are ones that readers easily recognize like Mr. or Ms. Perfect, the victim, the school bully, the boy/girl next door, the damsel in distress, the antihero, the absent-minded professor, and the femme fatale. Readers already know everything about this character and can figure out what will happen with this character quickly. Your character needs to be unique. Something about your character needs to stand out to readers so they can connect with your character.

If you create a stereotypical character, be prepared for readers to complain about a boring, flat character who they couldn’t really connect with.

8. Cliffhanger Not Done Right
A cliffhanger is designed to leave readers in suspense while they wait for the next book, but it needs to be done right. An abrupt ending with no closure that doesn’t answer any questions or resolve any conflicts will lead to angry readers who want to throw your book. A cliffhanger done right will resolve at least one major conflict for one main character. A cliffhanger done right will answer most of the questions readers have but will leave them with new questions at the very end.

9. Head Hopping and/or Unclear POV
Head hopping and/or an unclear POV will leave readers wondering who, what, and why. Head hopping occurs when the viewpoint shifts between characters without proper transitions. Readers won’t know who is doing what, why a character is doing something, and why a character is feeling a certain way. Readers will have no idea if it is Laura or Mark who is late to the meeting nor will they know if Laura is upset with Mark or Mark is upset with Laura. It can make it difficult for readers to determine whose head they are in and whose experiences they are following. This leads to confusion and destroys the emotional connection readers have with characters.

Read about Choosing a POV.

10. Overused Clichés
Clichés lose meaning and impact the more they are used. Clichés are boring and readers get a sense of “blah” when they read a cliché instead of feeling what the author intended to convey. Instead of using a well-known cliché, use your own words to create metaphors that will resonate with readers.

11. Unhappy Non-Ending
Everything doesn’t need to be a perfect happily ever after at the end of the story. The ending can be unexpected, happy for now, or even not so happy, but don’t leave readers without an ending and a sense of closure. This will leave readers feeling disappointed, disgusted, and dejected.

12. Characters Who Break Character
Characters can change throughout the course of the story, but this change should be gradual. Bob can’t be a vindictive, heartless jerk who kicks stray dogs in one chapter and then two chapters later be a kind, caring man who volunteers at the homeless shelter and adopts stray dogs.

A sudden change will leave readers confused, unable to connect with the “changed” character, and with unanswered questions as to the how and why of the character’s change. A character’s change needs to occur over a period of time and something needs to trigger that change. There has to be a period of reflection showing the character recognizes who he was and what he was like compared to the person he is becoming.

13. Awkward Phrasing
Awkward phrasing is difficult or confusing to read. Awkward phrasing includes sentences that are too wordy, have dangling and/or misplaced modifiers, are repetitive, and include unnecessary passive voice.

Awkward phrasing can slow readers down and leave readers guessing at the author’s intended meaning. Readers might miss something important or interpret a sentence in a different way than the author intended. Readers may have to read a sentence several times in an attempt to understand what you are trying to say. Readers don’t want to have to guess at the author’s intended meaning, nor do readers want to reread sentences. If this occurs too often, readers will become frustrated and may stop reading your book.

14. Lack of Consistency
Consistency is important not just to your characters and plot but also to readers. If consistency is lacking, readers will notice. Lack of consistency can confuse readers and cause readers to look back in the book to make sure they didn’t miss something. Be consistent with capitalized terms and spelling (especially names and terms you’ve created). Be consistent with locations and their descriptions, character descriptions, and timelines.

15. Too Many Typos and Errors
Yes, even traditionally published books might contain typos and errors, but too many typos and errors, especially encountered early in a book, will lead to frustrated readers who put your book down. At the very least, readers expect that authors will have reviewed their work and had it reviewed by others. Some typos and errors can be caught and fixed if authors have carefully reviewed their work and had beta readers or advance reviewers read their book. Some readers expect that authors, whether traditionally published or self-published, will have had an editor go over their work, and these readers expect to find very few, if any, typos and errors.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Do you agree or disagree with the points in this article?

Authors, have you discovered other things that make readers hate a book?

Readers, what makes you hate a book?

Rebecca Bryn – Author Interview

September 22, 2015 | Posted in Author Interviews | By

~~Author Interview~~
Author Rebecca BrynToday’s author interview is with the talented Rebecca Bryn, author of The Silence of the Stones and Touching the Wire.

Please welcome Rebecca Bryn to XterraWeb ~Books & More~. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did.

Before we get started, we would like to thank Rebecca for taking the time to give us this interview.

One-click The Silence of the Stones on Amazon.

Amor Libris: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Rebecca Bryn: I live on a smallholding in West Wales with my husband and rescue dog. I have two sons, and six grandchildren. A self-taught artist, I also paint the stunning Pembrokeshire coastal scenery.

Amor Libris: What is your favorite motivational phrase, and why?

Rebecca Bryn: "It helps to not know what you can’t do." It’s a phrase that has stood me in good stead. There have been so many things I’ve done because I didn’t let thinking I couldn’t do them put me off. Writing is just one of them. I just have a go. What’s the worst that can happen?

Amor Libris: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Rebecca Bryn: I paint, walk, garden and also have a small boat on Monmouthshire and Brecon canal that we visit whenever possible.

Amor Libris: What books and/or authors have influenced you the most?

Rebecca Bryn: I think Tolkien gave me the love of a story that has a journey, both in miles and character development, and has been intricately woven and thoroughly grounded.

Amor Libris: Are there any new authors who have caught your attention?

Rebecca Bryn.: Several Indie authors: Lesley Hayes and Ica Iova are but two.

Amor Libris: Can you share the title and blurb of your latest book?

Rebecca Bryn: Where Hope Dares is the novel I’m hoping to publish in a few weeks’ time. It’s a story of courage, faith and hope in the eternal battle for good over evil.

In a time of social, religious and political upheaval, two isolated cultures clash with devastating results. Kiya, a healer and young mother, is kidnapped to fulfil an ancient prophecy, leaving Raphel, her storyteller husband, to rescue her from a brutal regime with nothing more than a headful of stories. Abe, their friend, to whom they look for help has his own secret agenda. Who can they trust? Friend or foe?

Amor Libris: Who is your favorite character from your latest book and why?

Rebecca Bryn: I would have said Kiya, but a recent rewrite has given Abe a more prominent and central role and I find myself liking him a lot. He’s an enigmatic character. He feels guilt acutely, knows what it is to love and lose, and has spent his life trying to do the right thing with disastrous consequences. Yep, my favourite character has to be Abe.

Amor Libris: Are any of the characters and/or experiences in your books based upon yourself or someone you know?

Rebecca Bryn: Yes, to a degree. Alana, in The Silence of the Stones, is the person I could have been had I had more courage and much less conscience: me, liberated. Walt, in Touching the Wire, is based on my maternal grandfather, a person I loved above all others, and I couldn’t have written such a harrowing story without constantly reminding myself of his love and gentleness. Adam and Robin are two sides of the same coin, the best and worst sides of people close to my heart. I like to think Kiya shows my determination, though she has more faith than I shall ever have. I think every character has a little of me and those I love in them.

Amor Libris: Can you share with us about what you are working on now or your next project?

Rebecca Bryn: My next project, I think, will be to strip down and totally rewrite a story I wrote some years ago. It’s called, at the moment, Daughters of the Moon, and will be about a young woman put into a mental institution for smothering her baby. It will revolve around the effects on lives of afflictions like PMS and depression after giving birth (the term has momentarily escaped me—I suffer from Dysphasia, which is the only word I never forget). Sounds depressing put like that, doesn’t it? The idea is in its early stages. I shall attempt to make it entertaining and moving. (Post-natal Depression—I knew it would come, given time.)

Amor Libris: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Rebecca Bryn: Write—with conviction and passion. Don’t think you can’t do it, but do take on board any feedback you get and act on it if it will improve the story or your writing. Follow a creative writing course or book. Join a writing group. The Word Cloud on-line site is one I can thoroughly recommend: a great and knowledgeable group of like-minded, helpful folk. Writing is a huge learning curve and it takes time. Promoting your published title is just as great a challenge.

Amor Libris: How can we contact you and find out more about you and your books?

Rebecca Bryn:
Website: www.rebeccabrynandsarahstuart-novels.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.bryn.novels
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rebeccabryn1
Independent Author Network link: www.independentauthornetwork.com/rebecca-bryn

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