Being a writer and a reader can really mess up a brain. So much so that I’ve created my own little internal system that I use when reading: red flags and gold stars.
I’ll admit, it’s a work-in-progress but here’s what this brand new post thread is all about. After reading so many indie books, I’ve learned a lot about what makes a good read (gold stars) and the red flags that tell us which books aren’t up to code.
Don’t get me wrong, I love books and I do my best to find the best in every book I read, but there are some bad books out there. Here’s the thing. A big chunk of the time, whether a book is good or bad is down to personal taste. But, there are some books that are definitely just bad. Lots of grammar errors, Mary-Sue characters and racist/homophobic/sexist undertones are the devil.
As avid readers, we don’t have time for bad books and we need to know beforehand. Amazon reviews aren’t always the best indicators of the quality of a book – Goodreads is better but still not perfect. We need to look at the more subtle aspects of books to figure out if they’re good or not.
So, here’s my plan. Every Saturday I’m going to drop a few red flags or gold stars just in case it helps y’all choose a good book over a bad one. Every week red flags and gold stars will take it in turns.
Just to kick things off, here’s our very first red flag:
A Blurb with bad grammar and/or spelling errors
The first two things to grab my attention when I’m looking to buy a book are the cover and the blurb. Usually cover first, blurb second.
A blurb with grammar and/or spelling errors is a pretty big indication of the quality of the book. Blurbs are horrendous to craft. In case you’ve never had to experience the nightmare of writing a blurb, here’s the cliff notes: you agonise for hours until you think you’ve crafted something perfect. You go to bed, wake up, re-read it, realise it’s awful and go back to square one. Repeat for three weeks.
It’s not easy writing a blurb, for sure, but you have to make darn sure that there are no errors in it. If there are errors in the blurb, there is a huge chance there are a plethora of errors in the book.
Here’s the rule of thumb when it comes to blurb errors: one probably means a typo, two may mean the author was super excited and will probably have a heart attack upon learning their mistakes. But three or more probably means that editing was skipped and that could well mean the same applies to the book.
If there’s one thing we don’t want in our reads, it’s spelling mistakes. Sure, it might be funny watching main character Bob become Boob, but honestly, it breaks the flow one way or the other.
Thanks for reading!