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Knowing When Readers Stopped Reading

I get asked fairly regularly by authors when I stopped reading a book. This is always after a rejection.

I understand authors want to know. I’m also here to tell you that when I stopped tells you nothing about your book.

I have read full or nearly full manuscripts even when I knew I was going to reject it. Sometimes I’m still curious, sometimes I’m just reading, sometimes I’m enjoying the read, but still don’t want to offer.

I’ve quit early simply because I wasn’t interested even though there was so much about the book that might sell.

I’ve quit published books others here at BookEnds finished and loved. I finished books others quit early.

How one reader chooses to read your book has nothing to do with how all readers might respond. Why or when I quit will not tell you that it’s a problematic spot in your book. It will only tell you that one reader quit reading.

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6 comments

  1. It’s nice to see that agents are human, too! 😀

    Reading really is subjective. I know so many people who hated certain books I’ve loved, and I DNF many books that are being touted as the best thing since chocolate. (This is why I’ve learned to read a few pages in the bookstore, or use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, BEFORE I pay for a book.)

    Very interesting that you find some books uninteresting even though you realize they have salable aspects. This gives me hope that it really isn’t just ALL about The Market.

  2. Your words should give comfort to many authors Jessica – they certainly do to me. I’m still very much at the start of my journey, as I’ve only been writing seriously for the past three years. I’ve suffered so many rejections I have lost count, but here and there I have had words of encouragement, sufficient to keep me plugging away. What may currently be “off-trend” will almost certainly come back into fashion at some stage – I’m just hoping that it’s a short enough period that I might see my work published before I pop my clogs! Anyhow, I enjoyed your blog and your sentiments. All the best.

    1. LOL I feel you, Alex! I kept putting off my dream of “finally starting to write for real” until I was 56, when I finally said “Now or never.” I’m 61, now, four novels in, and determined to obtain traditional publishing with my WIP. A lot of the advice about “be patient; keep trying; publishing is a long game” makes me feel more than a bit anxious! But hey, 60 is the new 30, or so they say. I plan to live to be 102 anyway, and 41 years is plenty of time. Right? 🙂

      1. Hey Kim, sorry I haven’t replied earlier, must have missed it somehow. Like you, I am convinced the traditional route is the one for me, but never say never! I started writing at the tender age of 60 – although I had a couple of projects (notes really) from way back. I have written 2 novels so far, both in the same series and have been honing them for the past year. Had shed loads of rejections – my fault for getting over-excited and pushing out my first finished piece after just one rewrite! Big mistake, but these are the things you learn as you gain experience. I have been lucky enough to team up with an editor, which will help to whip the novels into a decent shape. Then we’ll see how to get the book to market. Great to hear from you and I wish you every success. Yours-in-writing, Alex

  3. I’m currently writing for serialized fiction platforms and I have suffered a number of rejections this year. It seems I’m going to prepare a bucket for my tears if ever I plan to take the traditional path (which I am planning to do).

  4. Hey Kim, sorry I haven’t replied earlier, must have missed it somehow. Like you, I am convinced the traditional route is the one for me, but never say never! I started writing at the tender age of 60 – although I had a couple of projects (notes really) from way back. I have written 2 novels so far, both in the same series and have been honing them for the past year. Had shed loads of rejections – my fault for getting over-excited and pushing out my first finished piece after just one rewrite! Big mistake, but these are the things you learn as you gain experience. I have been lucky enough to team up with an editor, which will help to whip the novels into a decent shape. Then we’ll see how to get the book to market. Great to hear from you and I wish you every success. Yours-in-writing, Alex

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