7 Reasons Readers DNF Books: The Ugly Truth

The publishing industry is not for the faint of heart. Criticism can be bile when/if authors give it that kind of power. An author pours his/her heart out into every book s/he writes, and so it can be pretty disheartening when readers don’t think the book is the kind of gem the author hoped it to be. While the author thinks this is his/her best work yet, some readers will agree and give it high ratings, but there’s always that percentage of readers who will think otherwise. That’s the ugly truth # 1.

One and two-star ratings sting the same if not worse than critical reviews. But doesn’t it drive authors nuts when someone DNFs their book? How can someone DNF such a masterpiece? Why? It’s perfect. It’s funny. It’s never been done before.

The answer to that is simple: An author can’t ever anticipate every reader’s expectations and reactions when writing a book. That’s the ugly truth # 2.

So, why do readers DNF books?

Here are 7 reasons readers dnf books:

  1. The characters are not relatable.
  2. There’s no chemistry between the hero and the heroine. The attraction feels forced because their actions are opposite to what they’re saying or thinking.
  3. There’s too much backstory that takes away from the here and now and what the hero and heroine are trying to achieve.
  4. Oh, the scenery detail. Details just go on, and on, and on for a page or two. Readers will skip the paragraph, then the next, until the scene moves on. Some will give it a try and continue reading, but if there are detailed descriptions on every page, readers (like me) will give it up because at that point the book is just boring. Give enough detail and allow the reader to use his/her imagination. Don’t describe every hue, trees, rolling hills, dress, stockings, and petticoats. Readers. Don’t. Care. Readers just want the story.
  5. The main character’s monologue is pages long. Give us some dialogue! Give us action!
  6. The plot is similar to every other book the author’s ever written, the only things that are different are the characters’ names and looks.
  7. Poor research. Geography and history facts are wrong, and while not everyone will catch these kinds of things some readers will.

There are a lot more reasons readers don’t finish reading a book–that’s the ugly truth # 3, but these will have to do for now.