Why, oh why couldn’t I get past the third page of your book? Your cover was frankly awesome. The price—on a special deal from Amazon—was quite reasonable. Your sell copy was engaging and well-written; I had no choice but to click the cover image and start reading, fully expecting to buy the book and its sequel within the next few minutes.
Some thought had gone into the interior design, a fact that tends to increase my confidence in a book. There were some odd choices, like scene-break graphics crowded right up against the text at top and bottom, but I was willing to chalk them up to the vagaries of the previewing tool. And as annoying as they are, formatting errors don’t necessarily mean anything about writing or storytelling. So I started to read.
In the second line, you told me what the viewpoint character was feeling. You went on to describe a setting that would have justified that emotion, so you could have let me deduce the character’s feelings from your description of the setting from her viewpoint, or by showing me her reaction to it. Instead, you told me. My friend, that was a rookie mistake that a good editor would have marked. Yours apparently did not. In the next sentence you did it again. The snowball had begun its downhill roll.
Still, curiosity kept me reading as you mashed up several years of the protagonist’s backstory into one indigestible six-paragraph narrative lump rather than letting me discover it over time, revealed as needed in narrative or dialogue as you moved the story forward. Even curiosity couldn’t get me past that. Amazon chose your book for one of their imprints, so clearly they had confidence in it, but it was confidence I no longer shared.
It's not personal, but my reading time is limited and life's way too short to wince my way through a book I'm not enjoying at any price, including free. If you want my money, my time, and my attention, you're going to have to bring a better game.
The Little Book of Self-Editing for Writers
Pre-made bookcovers by Zone 1 Design
Why I Didn't Keep Reading, Part 2