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Why I Hesitate Reading New Authors

  • February 03, 2020
  • Blog

suspicion book photo

You might think I hesitate because the story (whether traditionally published or indie) could be filled with spelling or grammatical errors and without a track record there’s no way to know. While those are huge factors, that’s not the problem for me.

A number of years ago I was browsing in the book aisle of a store. The blurb on the back of one paperback sounded good and I quickly flipped through random pages to make sure there were no butchered sentences catching my eye, and bought it. Once I got home, I curled up in a chair and began reading and within a few pages I was traumatized. There was a horrific, violent scene that literally came out of nowhere—and nothing on the back cover prepared me for what I thought was going to be a light paranormal spy story.

To this day that scene makes me shudder. I don’t remember the author or title and I suspect that book went to (at best) remainder history and then died in a massive shredder. I certainly hope so.

Too often I’ve read author interviews promoting their work and coyly saying they can’t let readers know certain things because the surprise is soooo good and they don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Here’s a tip: warn the reader. If there’s going to be graphic torture and murder, make sure the reader isn’t walking in blind. It’s possible to show the intent of seriousness in the synopsis without giving anything away. If your story is going to be light and frothy, that needs to be conveyed as well. Do you really want the word of mouth to be that you can’t be trusted not to betray the reader? Pulling a bait-and-switch is notorious for ticking off the consumer.

Tell a good story. Craft it well. Market it honestly. Then do it again.

  • Lydia • February 3, 2020 at 7:15 am

    I’ve had the same experience. There definitely should be warnings about stuff like this.

  • J. M. Levinton • February 3, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Maybe this will spur good writers to write more. 😉

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