Things That Make Your Readers Bounce Off Your Books

by Lindsay 12/20/2017 9:01:00 PM

Contributed by: Rachel Bartee

It’s every writer’s fear to write a story your readers end up turning down.

How many times have you picked a book at the bookstore, read the synopsis and thought it was worth reading, but end up throwing it away? Perhaps you started off well with an interesting topic, you were inspired by the summary, but having read several pages you understand that the book is not worth your time.

So what is the reason behind that? What did the writer do wrong? There are a few reasons that account for that. When you know what these reasons are, perhaps you can adjust to making your reader involved to the end.

1.     Slow development

This is the number one reason why readers can bounce off your books. If a plot of a story doesn’t move, it dies. If the readers have to read fifty pages before finding the main character of the story, they end up bored and click away without having a second thought.  To avoid this, make your plots alive and dynamic; introduce what’s important without going too far.

2.     Lazy Writing

There’s nothing wrong with using metaphors, clichés, and descriptive phrases. In fact, these descriptions comprise of about 30% of the average book. But make sure that you’re not using too much of lazy writing. Remember that readers get more impressed by a well-written story that contains a clear language. Similarly, they want a story that is appealing to their senses than to their brain.

3.     Shopworn Plots

When we write, it’s tempting to include different scenes to describe characters, moods, or relationships that are familiar to us and which we have unintentionally grasped from other stories that have already been written by somebody else. If a plot of a story is world-old, it’s very likely that the reader will easily predict the scenario of the next chapter. To avoid this from happening, play with your scenes in your mind, imagine different twists and turns and follow those, which make you want to know what’s next.   

4.     Tiresome Wordiness

Excessive wordiness is the source of complexity in reading. Some readers believe that using long description scenes will hook the attention of the readers, but it does the opposite. Your giant paragraphs are the main reason why readers click away. Avoid using monotonous sentences. Once you find them, chop them off.

5.     Poor Editing

Although most authors understand how important good and professional editing is, they still often try to minimize their time and effort input at this stage. They are eager to see their manuscripts go to print and get their first loyal readers.

Amy Cohen, a professional writer with Essayontime shared her opinion, “Good editorial improvements can increase the chances of getting more readers, improve their experience with your book, and make your writing more coherent and easy to read. Don’t stop on self-editing and allow for an expert analysis or several peer reviews to spot the issues you may lose sight of.”

6.     Lack of Clear Structure

A good story needs a good structure. A well thought-out and nicely organized development of events makes the reader flow along with your storytelling. A good way is to have a clear outline divided into several chapters. When you jump from one episode to another and back makes the readers confused.

7.     Passive Characters

Imagine a story that features a character who does a lot of things to display his nervousness including spilling his coffee, puffing away on cigarettes, twitching, and much more. All of a sudden, the characters changes into caricature and not a real person. This overuse of detail can annoy the reader and even pull them out of the scene. Also, uninterested and distasteful individual characters quickly bore the readers and they become disengaged. Take time to create your compelling characters.

8.     Too Unrealistic

An unrealistic story is filled with vague ideas, exaggerations, and hesitations. No one wants to feel that. Instead, every reader wants an authentic story that matches your plot. An authentic story matches the time and place. This important trick draws your reader into your story. Remember, if your book turns out to be something that is absurd, readers will avoid it.

9.     Too Easy or Too Difficult

The nature of the language you use matters a lot when writing a book. It should not be too easy such that it appears plain and not too difficult to a point where the reader cannot understand. Don’t use hard words or simple vocabularies to an extent of confusing the reader. Make it appropriate for your targeted readership.


Every scene your write should be designed to move your story forward and capture the reader’s interest. What doesn’t fit in your writing is considered boring and readers will not hesitate to close the book and look for another.


Surely, there are many more reasons that can make you stop reading a book. Feel free to share your experiences.


Rachel Bartee is a freelance writer and editor dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and Interpersonal Relationships course. Talk to her on Facebook and Twitter.

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