A common frustration (or complaint) among unpublished authors centers on published books you hate. I see it on social media and I definitely see it in my queries. “Publishing will publish this crap, but not my fabulous book.”
Believe it or not, there’s a lot we can learn from things we don’t like. Whether or not you hated a book is inconsequential. What’s important is that someone did and it’s your job to figure out why.
What You Can Learn
There is one reason every book is published because the publisher, the agent, and the editor all think there’s an audience for it. And usually, there is. Usually we buy books through recommendations or word of mouth which means someone liked them.
So instead of throwing the book aside with disdain, consider why this book was bought and sold. And why readers love it.
When evaluating the book look at the hook, the characters, the plot. Are there things that resonate with readers and are there things maybe you need to consider in your own book?
Publishing is subjective. What one agent, editor, or reader loves another might not. It’s both the struggle and the beauty of this business. Even at BookEnds you can see how different our tastes are from what we read and what we love.
Learning to approach your writing like a business, by evaluating the work of others, not just those you love, will only improve your chances of success.