Why will no one read my book?
I've written a fantasy book and want to publish it in October, but whenever I ask someone to read it they conveniently disappear or are suddenly too "busy" to read it! Even if I only send them the first chapter they never get round to reading it. Has anyone else had this problem, or is my work boring? It's depressing because if not even a friend or relative will take the time to read it, how am I expected to sell the entire book to strangers? Is this normal, and am I overreacting? Or might there be something wrong with the stuff I write?
I don't know why but I think maybe they they don't think you could write or are talented. Personally, I prefer only strangers to write my stuff. Most people don't even know that I write. This way I can write more freely. Family members tend to be more of a critic but usually not in the right way.
I have the same problem, though for a modern lit book I wrote a few years back. People tend to take you more seriously after the first few edits, though, and if you've let them know about the writing process. So keep people informed, show them that you're working hard, and they should start taking you more seriously!
That is a good question, Poppyr! Actually there are several answers to your question--depending on the person--such as:
1. Being too busy to read it
2. Not interested in the topic--which is fantasy
3. Not having the ability to give you a good review
4. Or, the work is hard to read
One way to solve this is to join a book review club or online writing group and ask someone's opinion. How many pages is your first chapter? If it is too long, that may be the reason.
I've written a novel and asked some people to read it and let me know what they think, etc. They said they will do it and then never went through with it. Then I asked some other people and they actually did read my novel and help me. So, I guess it all depends on who you ask. Also, remember that it's time consuming to read an entire book and then offer feedback/critique on it. Not everyone has the time to do it.
Just because people don't want to read your book doesn't mean it sucks or is bad in any way. Perhaps what you write about is not the topic they are interested in.
Also, your family and friends may not want to read your book and offer feedback because they are afraid of hurting your feelings in case the book won't be that good...
Keep in mind that you can always self-publish your book and for free with either Lulu or CreateSpace in the event traditional publishers won't pick up your book or you will decide you don't want to go through the hassle of trying to find someone to publish it.
It really depends on who you're asking. Are they avid readers? Are they writers? Do they enjoy fantasy stories? Do they have a lot of time on their hands? If you answered no to any of those, then that's probably a good indicator of why they haven't read it. I went through a similar situation when I wrote my first book. I had people who were willing to read it, but none of them were fans of the fantasy genre. So they kept telling me to change things that pushed it towards different styles, like mystery or psychological thriller. It took me a long while to figure out that they just weren't fans of the genre I had chosen to write.
So, if you're having trouble finding people who are willing to read it, try joining a local writing or reading group. If there aren't any in your area, join one online. You might even consider using a paid editing service. They can sometimes be pricey, but at least then you can put it in the hands of someone who is guaranteed to read it and offer constructive comments.
The only two times I've had anyone read any part of my novels when they were still in the draft stage were to get the opinion of people within particular religions so I could make sure I got the information correct and wouldn't offend anyone. One other time, I worked a character from a friend's novel into mine and we collaborated on the parts in which his character appeared so we could make sure the character's personality and such were exactly the same in both books. Other than that, I don't have anyone other than an editor read mine before they're published.
The other people who responded hit all of the reasons the people you asked didn't want to read it. Unless you want one of those people to proofread or edit it for you, it shouldn't really matter. Fantasy novels are very popular and whether you find an agent or self-publish you should do well in sells as long as you have a good story. How will you know it's good? Publish it as an ebook and see what happens. If people read it and like it, they'll tell they're friends and on and on. You'll probably even be surprised that the people who didn't want to read it now will read it when it's all polished and published because they're your friends and you wrote it.
People who you know well are probably reluctant to read it as they are your friends, and may feel that they can't critique it in the way that would be helpful to you.
Eg: if they think that it's great, and say so - you may think that they are just saying that because they are your friends
or they may be scared that if it's not good - they will lose you as a friend for telling you so, so...won't read it cause they are scared of hurting your feelings, or will read it but tell you it's fine...which isn't helpful either
Getting other people to read it - people whom you don't know well...like us maybe - will guarantee that you will get critique that will be helpful and not clouded by their relationship with you.
I have this problem - I have had my wife, and my mother read a partially finished book - the story is fine, but could be better...I'm just waiting for them to actually tell me that!
I wrote a book and had it published and my daughter refuses to read it. She is afraid if she doesn't like it, it will hurt my feelings. She doesn't realize that by refusing to read it--that hurts.
Maybe it is the genre. Fantasy is a ver specialized genre and a lot of people shy away from it.
You just need to remember that while this project is your baby and paramount to you, it isn't to everyone. If you want to know if it is good, read it out loud and record it or just listen very carefully as you read. You will get a great sense of how others will read it and you will be surprised how much info you get on rhythm and balance by doing so.
You have to write because you want to and not be concerned about the approval or cheerleading from friends. It has to come from within yourself.
I will read your first chapter, I like fantasy, and I will offer positive criticism to help you make it better if it needs it. contact me through here if you are interested.
Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Running Bag
SheilaMeyers' response to your question includes the idea of publishing your work as an ebook to see what kind of response you get. That's not a bad idea at all, but still people will hesitate to put out even 99 cents for an unknown author. So, GIVE it away, or give part of it away. Check out NoiseTrade.com, where writers and musicians offer their books and music for free and give the consumers the option to tip them. I learned of the site through my friend on the other side of the world, Alan Sendall, who has put the first few chapters of his latest book "Heather" on NoiseTrade. I put my book "Napism.Info" (for people who take their naps religiously) on the site for free download, and it is certainly helping to spread the word about the book.
Also, as other responders here have noted, don't put too much effort into getting your friends and family to read your work. Until you're a fairly successful author or maybe even a little bit famous, remember the old saying that you can't be a prophet in your home town.
Lastly, don't worry one bit about anyone telling you your work is not all that great. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE! Sure, it would be sweet if it is great, but it doesn't have to be great to be good. Surely you've come across some popular authors with a dozen books in print and millions of copies sold and thought, "Well, y'know, I've seen better writing in freshman English classes . . . " An author friend of mine and I call these books "popcorn" - they're not a gourmet meal, but they're still enjoyable!
So, in summary, I say just write, work on improving your writing, find strangers to read your work, and just let the chips fall where they may.
I was lucky enough to find a great proof-reader here on HP. I published my first chapter as a hub and she offered. Her contributions have been amazing! It is a time-consuming. low-rewards task to proofread. And it's hard to find someone who actually helps make your book better. I ask them to ask questions and not just tell me if they liked it or not. What did I leave out? What did you want to know more about (characters, descriptions). You don't want to ask someone to do this, if they are so close to you, their opinion matters too much to you. I never let my husband read anything I write until other people have read it first. I care too much what he thinks.
Besides the emotions of friends and family (as some have mentioned), you may also have a simple lack of interest (as others have discussed).
Windclimber's suggestion is great. I've given away my books as ebooks on Amazon and had dozens of people download each one. Naturally, people will typically download only things that interest them. If you invest a little in a terrific cover (possible designers can be found at fiverr.com), this will help you attract more downloaders. Also, posting your release on Facebook at the start of its short "free" period will give the Facebook "free ebook" crowd a chance to taste your wares. There are also some writers groups on goodreads.com.
Amazon prompts its members who download free ebooks to critique those books on their site. The more who give their feedback, the better. If they like it, their words help to sell the book once it's no longer free. If the feedback is negative, then you will learn something extremely valuable. Either way, you win.
Don't get discouraged and just keep on self promoting it like you are here. Some will read it, and others won't, but keep on promoting your book. Send me the link and I'll be happy to read it. "Don't give up!", and that's my advise for you. That's what I do and here's a link to my book - http://www.amazon.com/Small-Bang-Theory … ang+Theory
Jlpark has answered your question perfectly. I could hardly say more, apart from by saying that, looking at some of the glowing comments on some people's hub, which certainly weren’t earned, I wonder how many Hubbers really know what they are writing themselves or have any standards worth aspiring to.
However, I have a friend I have met on this site and greatly admire her work. Her comments on mine have always been positive and very gratifying to receive. I know that she would not tell me that it was pure gold if she actually thought my writing was dross . So I sent her the unfinished manuscript of my novel, but was annoyed and really disappointed when she “couldn’t find the time” to read it. Thank God, she is an amazingly talented writer, and we have remained friends after having surmounted that hump.
Be careful, Poppyr, you could easily lose friends over just such a silly situation like that.
There can be many reasons why a person would not want to read your story, it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your writing. Sometimes it is hard to read something by a friend, family member, etc because it puts pressure on the reader and can make it hard for them to keep a unbiased opinion. What I do is that I joined a writer's group. We all get together for no other reason then to read our stories and give honest opinions and feedback for what could help the story or what doesn't work. I found this is the best option because everybody in the group are passionate about writing.
Also finding a online friend who you trust to read your story can help too. I been to many writing sites and I have made good friend there that we still read each other's story.
Congrats for finishing your novel. That is such a important step and I wish I was as ready with my story.
nobody asked me to read their published book. Maybe you can publish one or two page of them?
People who know you probably do not want to risk upsetting you if they do not like the book. A better plan IMHO would be to swap critiques with other authors at a site like critiquecircle.com. If you are self publishing you should also consider paying for a final copy-edit.
I've also been trying to get people to read the fantasy book that I have written. I started by asking my friends and some of them actually said yes. However, some of them just told me the same thing over and over. I decided to print it out and send it to publishers. As I did this, I began to get honest and critical feedback. It was very defeating, but at the same time, I now know what I need to do to fix the plot, the tenses, and some character development.
Also, some people these days really hate to read, which is strange to me, but consider their feelings about books too. Maybe they hate books and reading and they just do not want to make time to do so.
You might want to try joining a writers group in your area on Meetup.com These groups usually have weekly or monthly meetings to discuss their progress and challenges they're having.
Likeminded individuals who share your same interests are far more likely to be willing to read what you write. Family and friends are oftentimes the last people to acknowledge/recognize talent or creativity in one of their own.
Depression occurs when one believes they have finite options in a world where there are infinite possibilities! You have to expand your scope/view of the world and think outside of the box!
Another possibility is for you to create a LinkedIn account and join a few author/writer groups. Lots of people are willing to read one another books and post reviews or offer their advice for improving or marketing your book. Ask questions and participate in discussions within the groups.
Besides the thoughts offered by others here, I have yet another one; and that's that SOME people can either have so much stress going on in their lives at one times; or else can live under extreme, unrelenting, stress for so long that they simply can't always (if at all) concentrate to read "on demand".
I have trouble reading (and have for years - but some lives have extreme/bizarre stress for years, and that could be someone in your own circles).
My own "thing" is that I can sometimes read SOME things if the time is right (and believe me, I've never had trouble reading and have been not only an almost compulsive reader, but found ways to read when I had three young children, their medical stuff, educational stuff, and a whole house and yard that I took care of myself (did hire a lawn-mowing guy).
In any case, somewhere after the first twenty years of a bizarre mix of extreme stress, loss, and legal matters (not to mention still having three kids to worry about and watch go through things that really shouldn't have happened); I got so I just couldn't concentrate to read at all (I struggled with microwave instructions back then). Eventually, it got better enough that I could - if the time was right, and if I was calm enough - read some limited stuff. It's actually a lot better now than it was a few years ago, but it's still a challenge.
Just today someone gave me a one-page article published in a newspaper and written by a family member. It's an important subject, and I certainly care about the medical progress of the author; but even once I was home and in a quiet setting I just couldn't make myself read the thing.
And the thing is, although people in my life probably know I have SOME stress I don't really think anyone can imagine the degree and type and mix of it that I've lived with. So, I seem reasonably fine and can certainly write (put out information). So, for all the reasons above (and maybe this one too), don't assume your friends and/or family don't care. SOME- maybe not all - may care and not want to tell you how bad it is for them (if they have stress and can't concentrate to read any subject at any time).
Your book may be great and I will encourage you. Do not be disheartened. I write what I consider to be spiritual stuff, and I send it to people who write spiritual stuff and even they do not read my work. They make excuses.
I get my work read by one or two friends I know, but I ask many. They are just not interested. Life is too full for so many of us and there are many 'fillers' in our lives. Still, I have to admit that it can be a bit sad when someone you like and respect turns you down.
I cannot promise too much, but send me two chapters and I will definitely read them. God bless you in all your endeavours. Peace.
"A prophet is never accepted in his hometown."
So true. I know how it feels because I have been there. Sometimes, I have to drag my close family members to 'see' my work. They seem not to be that interested and this can get so frustrating and depressing.
Not to mention friends...and even 'friends' on facebook.
But all the same, don't be discouraged. Keep on writing.
One day, you will give them so many reasons to say "Wow!"
Hi Poppyr! It is a great accomplishment that you have written a Fantasy Book! Congratulations! As an author you have to be confident in your work. It's not up to your family members to support what your write, even though it would be nice if they would support you. Perhaps many of your friends or family members don't have the time to dedicate towards reading your book. Carry on with your plans for publication and find support through dedicated writers such as yourself! Congrats!
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