I want to start this diatribe by saying I love your books, well no that’s a bold faced lie… Some of you, I love your books and the worlds into which you transport me, I need your next book like I need air. Others of you, the books are good, the friendship is on a stalker level, and I need you like need air so I guess it all evens out in the end. Some of you, it’s a mix of both great books and more, you know who you are. Others of you, please hire an editor that doesn’t suck. Seriously editing, so important!
Oh for the love of all the shiny pretty glossy covers… Yes, covers matter! There, I admitted it. If the cover art is unattractive and I wasn’t looking for you or your book specifically then I’m passing you on by. Also, if your cover and your story do not match that is a huge pet peeve. In fact a non matching cover to the story has made me stop reading. False advertising is not cool! One more cover pet peeve while we’re at it… Cover art for a series, every book doesn’t have to be perfectly matchy matchy, if that isn’t your style. Please be you, show me your personality on that cover some! But, the covers need to at least seem like they belong in the same world. Authors that just throw random covers on books in a series, you know who you are and yes, I am giving you side eye.
To me it isn’t about how popular of an author you are, how wildly bestselling or award winning the book/series is, if you are indie or mainstream or purple with green polka dots! It’s about did you write a story that transported me away from my daily life, after all that’s why I shared my time with you. I read to be taken somewhere, anywhere in fact on a journey! I’m the odd duck in the mix and I read all sorts of genres – I love fantasy and Sci-Fi true, but I love a good wild romance, or some YA paranormal something just as much, throw me a historical fiction and I’ll read that too. Literally throw me a book and I will probably attempt it. The common thread? Characters I can buy into, storylines that flow, and stories that aren’t predictable. However, if it’s bad and you know what I mean… Riddled with spelling and grammar errors, plot holes abound, the ending telegraphed from the beginning kind of stuff and I’m bound to toss it to the side after not too many pages. Life’s just too short to read bad books!!
Also, if you are the scholarly or artistic sort of author and write in a world where there is an entire lexicon which I must assimilate for use please unless you like me cursing you and your characters learn the purpose and proper use of a glossary in your book. Additionally, if your world is so vast and encompassing or your characters are of the exploring variety please employ the use of a map. Because if you don’t, then I will probably come up with my own version and it isn’t my fault if my version didn’t match what you had in mind… dear author you had the first opportunity!!
Wonderful author please for the love of all that is holy I’m going to give you a tip here from me to you… Cliffhangers are fine, honest. Cliffhangers where you don’t release the next book for so long I forget about you, not cool! Well, unless you like me badgering you to stop slacking and get to writing, cough cough… Also, in the same vein just leaving me hanging and waiting for the next book for so long I forget you existed, probably not a great idea for either of us. Timing is everything, so if you write like a snail you might need to be well into production of the whole series before you start releasing them, just a thought. Or I might pull a George R R Martin on you and boycott reading your series until you can get your poop together.
Let me conclude by saying thank you so much for sharing your passion and talent with me and all the other minions that read your books. It is much appreciated that you indeed do continue to toil and slave away writing day by day even though some people steal your work outright, or others say it isn’t worth the piddly price you ask for the enormous undertaking that taking a book from idea to production actually is. The fans know that many of you do this for pride and passion, for the joy of sharing your fantastical book worlds with us. Thank you for continuing to write not just for yourself but for all of us.
A Random Reader
Stephanie Colman is a reader, a business owner, and a writer/editor. More importantly, she’s a smart ass. Check out her business, Jars of Sunshine here.