I just read the posted results of a survey done by goodreads, about when a reader abandons a book. I was thinking of leaving a comment, but then I thought it might be lengthy for a comment, it would be better to post on my blog.
As an author the results are interesting to get a feel for what might make someone put down my book and at what point in the book that might happen; as a reader not so much.
I don’t know if the books that are listed there were posted by the readers taking the survey, or if those books were offered to them in a list. In any case, I am not interested in reading any of them, with the sole exception of The Lord of the Rings, of course; which I read and finished before they were popular, when I was a child. However, as to the rest of the books mentioned, if I were the one taking the survey, I would have to say that I never started them, and I don’t intend to, because they are not the kind of books that I am interested in reading.
The reason for this is because as a reader I don’t choose a book to read for its popularity or because it was recently made into a movie. I have very specific reading preferences and I already know that the kinds of books that I prefer to read are not ever going to be in the top 100 list. I am not saying that I would never read a book in the top 100 list, but it would be the exception, rather than the rule. Also, that I would not read a book just because it is in the top 100 list; that, in itself, would not make it more attractive to me.
It does seem interesting to me, though, that so many people have made a personal life-long reading rule based on what a random teacher said to them years ago.
The main reason I find this so interesting is when I think about how many times teachers require students to read books they hate and have no interest in reading. It is in school where we are taught to read books that don’t interest us personally, but we read them because we think they are books that we “need” to read because everyone else is reading them, or to appear “educated”.
Sure, I had to read a few books in school that I would have never read otherwise, but that was school. Once I was allowed to choose the books that I wanted to read I never again wasted my time reading a book just because everyone else was reading it. Whether historical romance novel, suspense novel or a theological study book; I have since chosen to read books that I know are “my kind” of books. Due to this, it is very unlikely that I would not finish a book after I start it.
In the last eight months since I published my first book, and have had to get my toes wet in the book marketing side of things; I have tried to read fellow author’s books, either as a favor review swap thing or because I am interested in finding out what kind of books other authors are writing. I am finding this to be counter-productive to me for writing potential further books. First, because I don’t want other author’s plot ideas or style of writing vying for attention with my own while I am trying to write my next original story. Also, because “life is short” and there are a limited number of hours in the day that I can spend reading. I need to make my reading count. That means that I need to spend more time reading books that have influenced me, touched me, and that I have personally enjoyed during my lifetime. I need to spend time studying those books to find out what it was about those books that I liked, in order to improve my own books. I mean, what is the point of writing a book if it isn’t “my kind of book”? Also, and maybe the most important, is that I need to read more books about “how to edit” as that is probably the best use of my time, at the moment.
Of course that means that I will have less time for figuring out how to market my book(s), and that will probably mean that I will sell less copies of my book. I need to make a conscious choice at this time. If I want to be a one-book author who spends her time marketing and networking, or do I want to write another book. Since I still have my “real” job that I must to do, and which has nothing whatsoever to do with writing, reading or marketing my books, I need to learn how to prioritize both my reading and my writing. At this time, I think the marketing and social side of authoring is going to have to be last on my list. Otherwise, I climb into bed at night frustrated that I did nothing fun or productive that day, at all. Writing is fun for me, but it has the potential to not be so very quickly. So many authors speak of writing their “best”, but I can’t do that when I am too busy investigating what other authors are doing and writing. The only way that I am going to be happy about my writing is if I am true to myself and my writing is truly and exclusively “me”.
That being said, I would love to find an editor who instead of being a word dictator (yeah, I borrowed the term) is willing to work with me to allow me to be me in my writing, only an edited version of me. Still looking!!!!