Tag Archive | Readers

The Amazing Power of Readers- A Peek Behind The Curtain

 

 

As a reader, why should you care what goes on behind the scenes in book publishing? As long as you can find affordable books to suit your interest, things like book piracy, book stuffing and fake reviews won’t affect you. Right?

Wrong.

It may not affect you personally, but those factors, and much more, have already had an effect on authors, especially indie authors.

Scandals Galore

2018 has been a year of upheaval for the publishing industry, and the romance genre in particular. Authors and others related to the industry have been deeply concerned about several issues and forces that, if not resolved, may mean many authors will simply quit writing, rather than continue the often uphill battle that is book publishing.

If unfair practices and scammers overrun the marketplace, it will become much more difficult for readers to find the books they want to read. If authors quit writing simply because they can no longer afford to fight the tide of scammers, pirates, and automated, indiscriminate policing from retailers, there will be less books for you to choose from.

Want to find out more about what Indie Authors face today? Click here

Why Now?

Not caring about any of this is a valid viewpoint. Authors do not expect readers to know how much work it takes to bring a book to market and keep it there. But in my experience, and from what I have been hearing on social media and on blogs, a majority of readers do care what happens to their favorite authors, and by extension, authors in general. Many, up until recently, have been unaware of some of the challenges authors have been facing. But the frustration over what appears to be ongoing unfair practices has caused things to come to a boiling point, and the voices of dissension have been getting louder.

Readers really should care, because what has been happening has already begun to affect their choices.

This blog post by Author Jami Gold spells out clearly a few of the issues, including Trademarking common words and book stuffing on Kindle Unlimited.

You Are Powerful

There are several other issues authors face daily which can have a severe impact on getting their books to market so you may read them. If even a few readers take the time to find out what is happening and learn how to (properly and respectfully) report the unfair practices that make their reading experience less than desirable, we may see positive change. We are a consumer-based society, and consumer habits and preferences are very powerful.

You deserve to read only the best quality of your chosen reading material. Most authors want to provide this for you. Those who are in it only for the money will always find ways around the system, or to fool unsuspecting consumers, and quite often they trade quality for quick, easy money.

On the other hand, ethical authors agonize probably way more than is even necessary to bring you a quality product, and that requires much time, effort and expense. Several authors I know are already pulling their titles from Kindle Unlimited. It comes down to a business decision, and many cannot afford to continually fight.

Transparency and Gratitude

The purpose of this post is simply to let readers know they have a stake in what happens in this industry. In the days of traditional-only publishing, readers were far removed from the behind the scenes machinations of book publishing. Most didn’t have regular contact with their favorite authors. But it’s a different world now, and you can help. The curtain is wide open, as it should be. Talk to others, both readers and authors. Research the hashtags #Cockygate and #Bookstuffing. Support ethical Indie Authors who play by the rules and want to bring you the best stories possible. We do this writing gig for many reasons, but the main reason is you—the reader.

And for that, we thank you.

 

 

 

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Reader’s Pet Peeves- Why Writers Should Care

Not again!

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to reading. What one person enjoys, might make another reader want to fling the book or their e-reader across the room. Authors certainly can’t please everyone, so how much should they be concerned about reader’s pet peeves?
Common Complaints
A recent internet search revealed several articles and forum rants about various reader’s pet peeves. I focused on the Romance genre, but some also applied to fiction in general. After reading several, I found a few common themes to their rants:
Cliffhangers– this puzzled me because I have heard of authors still doing this, and that some readers don’t mind it, eagerly awaiting the next installment. But those who do hate it are vocal about their frustration. I am one of them, and I wrote a post awhile back on the subject, “When Romance Novels Finish Before You Do.”

Lack of Editing– This has become more prevalent with online publishing. Even traditionally published books have an error now and then, but when it becomes so noticeable it takes the reader out of the story, it’s a problem. Some readers are more forgiving, but there are ways to avoid this and ensure the product (book) is as accurate as possible before publication.

Clichés- This should be a given, but they still make their way into some stories. If you have to put one in your story, figure out a twist to make it ironic, humorous, or some other method to make it useful. Otherwise, leave it out.

Overused Tropes– the ironic thing here is, some readers love certain tropes and never get tired of them. So maybe the trick is, as with the cliché, to find some type of twist or fresh take on it. Maybe combine two or three? Take a trope from one genre and use it in another?

Inconsistencies- from timeline troubles to characters who change hair color randomly, readers notice details. After all, details are what draws them into the story. Keeping a list or series bible can help avoid these types of problems.

 

My Personal Peeve
It seems like it should be common sense to avoid such things as cliché’s or overdone tropes, but the fact there are articles and people on forums ranting about them, indicates they happen with some frequency. So, here’s my question:
If an author is successful, and sells well, do they get a pass on committing the “sins” that drive some readers crazy?
I can think of several recent examples of books that have sold extremely well, best sellers, which contained cliché’s, cliffhangers, overused tropes and/or inconsistencies. Can you? Apparently, these “problems” are enough to irritate readers, but not enough to keep them from being published and promoted.
Here’s what brought this subject to my mind, prompting this post- I was with a friend at a bookstore recently, when I told her I had never read anything by a certain author who is considered the Queen of Romance Novels. I wanted her recommendation on the best one to start with, because I wanted to see what made this author so popular. I took my friend’s advice, and started reading the book that night.
It was a story about an old haunted southern mansion, right up my alley. I loved the descriptions, the setting, the author’s voice; her characters were engaging. But by the end of the second chapter, I was irritated because of the constant head-hopping!
Yes, the author is a celebrated, multi- NYTBSA, and she has the skill to “pull it off” as my friend pointed out when I complained. Yes, the author does pull it off, meaning, it doesn’t hurt the story, but it annoys me because I never know whose head we are going to be in from moment to moment. Then I become hyper-aware of it, watching for the change. Often I end up re-reading portions because the change is abrupt enough to pull me out of the story. In addition, I feel it makes it more difficult to get deep into the character’s head when POV switches frequently.
Writers Gonna Write
My annoyance with head-hopping may be my own personal taste, but I was surprised no one else complained about it in the articles and forums I researched. I have always heard head-hopping is advised against, in books on writing instruction, and it is mentioned as taboo in the submission requirements for certain publishers. Apparently, some readers don’t mind it, and some authors can use it effectively.
So I guess the take away from all this is, yes, writers should be aware of reader’s pet peeves, but take the information with a grain of salt (oops, a cliché)! If you do include something that you know may annoy readers, at least have a good reason for doing so.
What are your reading pet peeves?