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Old 07-06-2013, 09:11 PM   #61
Synamon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanthe View Post
Images of alien beings with cat-like heads
Ha, I'm not the only one with an aversion to cats!

I don't really have anything against cats, but if you want me to read your book you should tell me about the book, not your cat.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:42 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
... I want to read something fun or relaxing like a good kick ass adventure/mystery/thriller story, like Robert B. Parker, Rex Stout, Robert K. Tanenbaum etc. Sure I know the ending before I even start the book, but not too many books that I don't. Still I enjoy the ride in a way quite different from a book that keeps you on edge wondering if the good guys will prevail

Where do you find all of these books, with totally unexpected endings?
I like (earlier) Robert B. Parker a lot. He was a good craftsman, and I really enjoyed seeing him develop the Spenser character. Somewhere in the #10-#15, the bloom came off the rose for me, and I stopped reading. I feel much the same way about Lee Child and the Reacher series...I enjoy the Reacher character as mindless entertainment, and I still get the impression that the author enjoys writing him (well, I did until the awful Deep Down short story, which felt like it was done strictly for the money).

I actually don't have a hard time finding books to read--450+ books in my Kindle's To Be Read folder, and another 50-100 physical books--and a "totally unexpected ending" is certainly not a requirement, though I like being challenged and surprised. I'm not trying to guess where an author is going, especially if I'm enjoying the ride. I just don't want my nose to be rubbed in obviousness.

Last edited by JDK1962; 07-06-2013 at 09:44 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:03 PM   #63
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Red flags: If I notice grammar or spelling errors, I don't bother reading the sample. I don't read blurbs with a proofreader's eye, and I don't mind dramatic sentence fragments, but if I wince at all over the blurb text, I assume I'll be too busy noticing errors to enjoy the book.

Blurbs that talk about the author, unless it's to mention their previous publishing career. "Has written a bestselling SF thriller" is worth a mention to me; "is an architect with an interest in polymer construction materials" is not.

Blurbs in second person, aimed at the reader: "You will read the amazing adventures of..." No, I won't.

Heavy on the hype adjectives (terrific, astounding, wonderful); lacking in info about characters or the plot.

Not fond of blurbs that end in a question.

A bad cover won't turn me off entirely, but the bar for the text goes way up. I don't have a problem reading self-pub works by amazing authors, but if they can't be bothered to figure out the rules for good covers, they probably aren't farming out any of the other tasks either--like editing.

Some authors are good enough that they don't need editors. (Not, "wouldn't be improved by them." Everyone could use a beta pass.) Some authors write concise prose and taut storylines and clever characters without needing a second pair of eyes. And some know how to get their works edited without getting a cover designed--after all, authors tend to know editors; they don't always know graphic design specialists. But if the cover is awful, the blurb and sample have to be absolutely amazing--I have to be *hooked* from the first page, or I don't bother looking at it again.

Price over $6 for a self-pub book. Especially anything less than 60,000 words. I wouldn't say that's "never," but it's going to be rare. Price over $3 for a short story of less than 30k words. While I'll grant there are some amazing short stories out there... there's a lot of amazing fanfic out there, too; I can read 3k-8k word fanfiction for *weeks* and not run out. I generally don't download them because it's too much hassle to get them onto the reader... the same applies, even moreso, for ebooks I have to pay for.

Misogyny, slut-shaming or homophobia in the blurb. I'd add "racism," but that's rare enough that it hasn't been a red-flag issue.

Anything advertising Christian themes, overtly or not. This is entirely personal bias. I'm sure there are many wonderful books with Christian themes; I don't need to read them. I've read enough to know that if I can spot the signs in the blurb, the book will come across as heavy-handed preaching to me.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:52 PM   #64
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This year, I've been trying my very best to ignore my usual red flags in order to expose myself to as many books as possible that I would have formerly judged harshly and cast aside without even reading one chapter. So far, I've only been burnt once, on Fifty Shades Of Grey - ouch. In general, though, I've been pleasantly surprised.

The one red flag that I have kept hold of lately has been the grammar of the blurb - however, even that I don't hold too strongly (there are a few Stephen King blurbs floating around with some shocking grammatical errors, and I regard him as having a very solid grip on our language indeed), unless the blurb is riddled with a genuine lack of literacy skills.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:52 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanthe View Post
My red flags:

Front Cover:
  • A close-up of a naked male chest
  • When all the book titles in a series start off with the same word
  • Authors who only use a single name on the book cover
  • Images of alien beings with cat-like heads

Back Cover Blurb:
  • When blurb consists of three sentences and nine author recommendations.
  • When the blurb describes what you should feel when reading the book, instead of what the book is about.
  • The male protagonist is listed as working with a beautiful and brilliant female (fill in obscure specialty) (fill in foreign nationality)scientist to solve whatever the danger is
  • The blurb includes the words "hot", "sizzling", "tantalizing", "sexy"
  • Authors who list the names of their pets in their bios

Other Red Flags:
  • The main character is a female age 16
  • The story is set in an academy for children with special paranormal talents
  • Main character is forced by circumstances to work with an ex-spouse or an ex-lover
  • When the description of the main character matches the photograph of the author
  • A young teenage boy, either orphaned or raised by relatives, who has to undertake a great quest
  • Characters who immediately fall into lust before the 25th page of the book
  • Law enforcement personnel/private investigators with a drinking/drug problem and/or a dead partner
  • Any character named after a spice or sweet
  • Any book with all characters having plain vanilla WASP first and last names
  • Misspellings on the first few pages
  • Obvious factual errors
  • Dragons
  • Family sagas involving a young woman/man coming over to the US from Ireland to work as a servant at the turn of the 19th century
  • 50-something woman, newly divorced, with adult children
  • Non-fiction books where the footnotes/citations are so numerous that they disrupt the reading experience
  • Books with either tiny type or large margins
  • Sentient ghosts
I hereby challenge mobilereaders to come up with a blurb/jacket that contains ALL of Xanthe's red flags!
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:02 AM   #66
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I can't see a thing for all these flags!
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:18 AM   #67
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My red flag is any book sold on Walmart or Kmart.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:13 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
Which begs the question of what he was unready for.
From Wiki:

"Unready" is a mistranslation of Old English unræd (meaning bad-counsel)—a twist on his name "Æthelred", meaning noble-counsel. A better translation would be ill-advised.

He became King when he was only 10 years old and had very poor advisors.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:15 AM   #69
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I tend to ignore books if they're said to be similar to anything else - I just prefer original stuff. I'm also usually put off by long books (400+ pages or whatever the ebook equivalent is) though oddly most of my favourite books are quite long. With pbooks I'm always turned off by fine print, or narrow line spacing or even just thin pages - though this is probably just my age and my refusal to wear glasses.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:39 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanthe View Post
My red flags:

Front Cover:
  • A close-up of a naked male chest
  • When all the book titles in a series start off with the same word
  • Authors who only use a single name on the book cover
  • Images of alien beings with cat-like heads

Back Cover Blurb:
  • When blurb consists of three sentences and nine author recommendations.
  • When the blurb describes what you should feel when reading the book, instead of what the book is about.
  • The male protagonist is listed as working with a beautiful and brilliant female (fill in obscure specialty) (fill in foreign nationality)scientist to solve whatever the danger is
  • The blurb includes the words "hot", "sizzling", "tantalizing", "sexy"
  • Authors who list the names of their pets in their bios

Other Red Flags:
  • The main character is a female age 16
  • The story is set in an academy for children with special paranormal talents
  • Main character is forced by circumstances to work with an ex-spouse or an ex-lover
  • When the description of the main character matches the photograph of the author
  • A young teenage boy, either orphaned or raised by relatives, who has to undertake a great quest
  • Characters who immediately fall into lust before the 25th page of the book
  • Law enforcement personnel/private investigators with a drinking/drug problem and/or a dead partner
  • Any character named after a spice or sweet
  • Any book with all characters having plain vanilla WASP first and last names
  • Misspellings on the first few pages
  • Obvious factual errors
  • Dragons
  • Family sagas involving a young woman/man coming over to the US from Ireland to work as a servant at the turn of the 19th century
  • 50-something woman, newly divorced, with adult children
  • Non-fiction books where the footnotes/citations are so numerous that they disrupt the reading experience
  • Books with either tiny type or large margins
  • Sentient ghosts
These gave me a giggle.

I'm with you on "sexy" appearing in the blurb. In fact any description in the blurb that emphasises someone's appearance usually gets me to click away. If the most important thing an author wants to tell me about a main character is that they are: gorgeous, sexy, spunky, alluring, buff, "fit", muscle-bound, pretty, handsome, hubba hubba or anything comparable, it's quite likely the book is not for me.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:52 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Anything advertising Christian themes, overtly or not. This is entirely personal bias. I'm sure there are many wonderful books with Christian themes; I don't need to read them. I've read enough to know that if I can spot the signs in the blurb, the book will come across as heavy-handed preaching to me.
Oh yes. It's a shame because I'm sure that there's some great Christian fiction out there, but the second I see a blurb say that x was a Christian, I usually don't read any further.

If it warrants putting it in the blurb in the first few words, it means that I'm going to be reading about it a lot. If they sneak by me without mentioning it in the blurb, they've got a better chance of me reading the sample and then the fact that there are Christian themes may be trumped by some great writing. You never know.

I will read the right Christian (or Mormon) fiction, but it does take a bit of effort to get past those initial filters. It has to feel somehow that it's not going to be a thinly veiled attempt to preach at me.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:29 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meeera View Post
I hereby challenge mobilereaders to come up with a blurb/jacket that contains ALL of Xanthe's red flags!
Better yet: find a blurb or jacket that DOESN'T contain ANY of these red flags.

(I think you might be limited to the ancient classics that didn't have jackets or blurbs )
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:34 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caleb72 View Post
I will read the right Christian (or Mormon) fiction, but it does take a bit of effort to get past those initial filters. It has to feel somehow that it's not going to be a thinly veiled attempt to preach at me.
If you're a fan of fantasy at all, try George Bryan Polivka's Trophy Chase Trilogy. This coming from someone who does not--in any way--consider himself a Christian. They were recommended to me based on someone's enjoyment alone (or at least I think so). I didn't find out until later that they were published by a "Christian" publishing house.

It's true that being "advertised" as Christian Fiction is a bit of a red flag for me, as well, but I'm more than willing to give most anything a shot if it gets recommended to me by people who's tastes I've come to know and trust.

Sorry... didn't mean to turn this into a plug for Polivka, but I recommend these all the time to fantasy fans (and I have absolutely no connection/contact to/with the man).
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:45 AM   #74
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I share a lot of red flags with previous posters.

My main flags:

-Obviously, grammar or spelling mistakes
-If the blurb includes amazon (or some other random site) reviews. Even if those aren't faked...so what? You'll find a dozen people who liked it even for the shittiest book.
-Any books that are jumping on a bandwagon (E.g. anything with werewolves,vampires or similar falling in love just after Twilight was released or currently the loads of erotica books that are supposed to be just like 50 shades of grey...)
It's kinda scary how quickly those can be churned out after some new hit...and it doesn't help that the original usually isn't that good either
-Any fantasy book with the title including the race that it's about. Seriously, if you think "Dwarves" is a good title for a book about dwarves...thanks, but no thanks
- (Usually Fantasy) Books boasting with page numbers...long doesn't mean good, simple as that.
-Thrillers about any conspiracy....
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:58 AM   #75
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Christian fiction is a red flag for me (except for novels based on Biblical history, which is a bit of a hobby. And, of course, doesn't count as Christian because most of them are Old Testament).

Bad book covers - yep, me too. If the author/publisher can't be bothered to sort out a decent cover, presumably they can't be bothered to sort out a decent novel either.

Pirates. I refuse, absolutely, to read a book with pirates in it. Unless they are being successfully hunted down by the lawful authorities.

Love triangles composed of kick-ass heroine and two incredibly hot males. Done to death lately. I now tend to assume that any book/series with this plot device is going to be a rip-off of something else, or some kind of formulaic crap.

Anything where the heroine gets pregnant by accident, set after the 1960s. Contraception, ladies. Any woman who doesn't respect herself enough to take precautions gets no respect from me.

Any book where the female lead has got herself into a difficult situation entirely through her own stupidity and needs a man (usually a rich, gorgeous one) to rescue her.

Any blurb that doesn't describe the book. No description, no purchase. No pigs in pokes for me.
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