Why did the reader turn the page? To get to the other side.
As readers, we all want books that grab a hold and won’t let go. I’ve found that the older I’m less likely to keep reading a book if I feel it lets me down. When I was younger, I felt a responsibility to the book, as if I was letting the author down if I didn’t finish it. Especially if I bought it (less likely to keep reading with a library book if I became annoyed ;)).
Now, in my crabby old age, I’ll walk away from a book in a heartbeat if I don’t get what I want.
I feel that life is too short and there are way too many books out there for me to waste my time. So what will make me dump a book?
Not starting in the right spot. Now if I picked the book up in a book store I’m more likely to have read the first page. But if I didn’t, and it’s boring (started too soon), confusing (started too late), or filled with back story – I’m outta there. Now, unlike agents and editors, I usually will keep reading past page one, but sometimes not far. Is it harsh, yup- but it’s reality. I need to know the author has great characters, a great plot, and will take me on a fun ride.
Too much focus on boring stuff. Don’t zero in on the uniforms of a bunch of guards if it’s not important. Don’t feed me all the history about your world in one lump because it’s “cool”. Authors should always know way more about their world than even makes it to page.
Those are my two big “and this book is outta here” markers-what are yours?