If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

So Many Books So Little TIme Part 1



So Many Books; So Little Time Part One


With so many great books and authors out there, I know I will never live long enough to read them all.  When I was younger I thought if I started a book I needed to finish reading it.  I no longer think that way. When editing, judging for a contest or reading a critique group submission I still read every word, but now I have a few rules of thumb that I use to identify books I’m willing to abandon quickly. (Note, I apply my rules to critique my own writing too.)





The Airport Rule:
When considering a book I read it as if I’m in an airport and my flight has been called. I have time to look at the cover, the author, the blurb and to read the first page. If nothing grabs me, I re-shelve the book and move on.




The !!! Rule: I have never read a book worth the time it took to read that had three exclamation points on the first page. Never. Now I don’t go past the first page. More than one ! on the first page and I’m very skeptical.
The Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Rule: Mistakes in books are like ants at a picnic — unwanted but unavoidable.  However, my experience tells me authors who don’t take the time to get basic English correct probably haven’t taken the time to polish their writing enough either. 

What convinces you to put a book back the rack or shelf and look for another one?

21 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

Too girly/too macho
Switches in POV
Don't like the MC
Too violent or sicko
Poor presentation (Kindle formatting hasn't been mastered)
All of the ones you described, Warren.

Yes, I see books all the time that I want to read and know that I won't have time to get to them all. But I love the challenge!

Kathryn J. Bain said...

I'll put a book back if it has more than one POV on the first page. That tells me the author head hops and it'll probably be hard to keep up.

I've also put a book back though I'd already read it half-way through because I didn't buy into the plot. The killer was stupid which in turn made the hero/heroine/police stupid since they couldn't catch her.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren, I use your criteria basically. I've always been an omnivorous reader, but we've been inundated with all these self-published books (some of which are quite good). I've become much more picky. If I'm reading the first few pages and you turn me off in any number of ways or I just can't get into the book, I stop.

I suspect this also has to do with some of my freelancing gigs. I'm a screening judge for several different national book contests (poetry and literary fiction). People have paid to enter the contest, and I'm paid to read and evaluate, choosing only a very few to go on to big national judges. So I read through each manuscript completely, even if it's pretty clear from the first few pages that it's not going to be passed on. A matter of ethics.

But after going through hundreds and hundreds of these every year, I'm much less patient with my own reading.

Warren Bull said...

Good list, EB.

Warren Bull said...

Kathryn,

You anticipate me. Part 2 is about when to stop reading a book you've started.

Warren Bull said...

Linda, I am a recovering editor/contest judge myself. I always read ever word of every entry, but it was quickly apparent which entries would not make the cut. That used up a lot of my tolerance for under-editing

Gloria Alden said...

Pretty much the same with me, Warren.

EB, I don't like the girly/macho bit, or the sicko stuff, either, but I don't mind multiple POV if it's done well. I also get annoyed if the writer is writing about something they obviously haven't researched well like the setting. If it's a book club pick, I try to read it all for discussion.

Linda, I can't imagine keeping up with all the reading you have to do and still find time for writing. I'd be much more picky about what I read if I had that much reading for judging contests, etc.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks Gloria. I used to think if I started a book I had to finish it. No more.

Pauline Alldred said...

Since there are plenty of judges in the world I focus on readers and being a reader. That's why I belong to book review groups and ask people what they're reading. A book can be grammatically perfect, have all the right twists and hooks but, if it reminds a reader of all the other carefully plotted books he's read, he'll drop it before the end. Why are readers interested in Swedish and Norwegian writers? Why is Fifty Shades of Grey so popular? It doesn't interest me. Readers look for the unusual, a character or situation relevant to their own lives,something emotionally satisfying, I believe. Although I grew up in the UK, I never read Agatha Christie because her characters and world weren't relevant for me. After I arrived in the US, I was told what a great plotter she was.

Jan Christensen said...

I have a really hard time not finishing a book I've picked out to read. I think I've only abandoned a book five or six times in my whole life. For some reason, I always want to know what happens in the story. But those books were all published by entities other than the author. Now I am more picky, and I won't even buy a book that is poorly formatted or littered with bad grammar in the sample because it's just irritating. But if it's the story itself that turns out bad, for some reason I have to finish it. I need to get over that! (You can stop reading here at the exclamation point.)

Warren Bull said...

Pauline, I drop some books before I even get to know the characters well.

Warren Bull said...

Jan, You had only one ! Next week I will discuss stopping before I finish books.

Anonymous said...

I often give books a second chance later, but for on-the-spot purchases they need to grab me early on like Hiaasen and Ludlum and Palumbo. Or have an overall theme that fascinates me so I keep reading.

--Brenda

Warren Bull said...

Brenda,

That's just what I was saying in a nutshell.

Thanks

Jacqueline Seewald said...

The beginning has to be intriguing, whether the language is clever or the dialogue is interesting. I guess the old advice the writer needs a narrative hook to grab the reader applies to me. If the book is dull from the very beginning, I might put it down.

E. B. Davis said...

I was a judge in a contest this year too. There was only one entry that I didn't read word for word--it was just awful--sorry, but the author didn't even know how to format, and then implausibility was a big issue. On contests, I agree, you must read every word (with horrible exceptions). But for pleasure reading, the author has to set the right tone, charm me a bit.

I like multiple POV, Gloria, but head hopping is different (as you know) than multiple POV. The English don't seem to mind head-hopping. I've read some rather well received British authors and have been floored to find that their scripts contained head-hopping. The cultural difference translates to reading standards, in this case, substandard as per the US.

Warren Bull said...

Jacquline, So true.

Warren Bull said...

EB, I like well-written books that switch POVs too, but I know lots of people who don't.

Georgia said...

Thank you Warren and commenters.I have a circle of friends who regularly hand me novels along with glowing praise, certain that as a writer I will share their enthusiasm.Much of the time I do not.But I was taught to be polite so I struggle thru their offerings.Without guilt, I can now eliminate the pile of eight unfinished books on my nightstand. And I don't even have to begin Shades of Gray that a friend said I had to read before she loaned me the next one.I can return to writing what interests me.I should have remembered the lesson learned when we owned restaurants: you can't please all of the people all of the time. Don't try.

Earl Staggs said...

Warren, I agree with your reasons to drop a book and run, but mostly, I read the first page with two questions in mind: Can this writer write? Is there a promise of a good story ahead? If I get two yesses, I'll continue reading.

Writer Lady said...

I'm waiting for Part II.