It’s kinda hard to write a Top 10 list of what makes me happy when I read. But I’m going to try. In no particular order…
- Tenses. Please pick one and stick with it.
- Point of View. Changes in POV should happen only at section breaks or when there’s a new chapter.
- If I’m reading an ARC, make sure I know what point in the process you’re in. If it still needs to go through proofreading, I *really* need to know that kind of info. If you’re still going through a round of edits, I also need to know that when I’m choosing whether to read your book.
- Character development. Doooo iiiitttt. It makes me care about the characters. They need to be authentic, too.
- Plot. Have one, and try to be unpredictable. Nothing tickles me more than when I get through most of the book and haven’t figured something out.
- Word choice. Be judicious and make sure synonyms are exactly right for the meaning you’re going for.
- Start with action, not exposition.
- Avoid long sections of exposition. I can handle it occasionally, but too often bores me and I spend time picking out where the five pages of narration could’ve been broken down to sprinkle amongst the rest of the book.
- Gorgeous, visually-appealing cover with details relevant to the book. Professionally done is best unless you’re a master with image manipulation software.
- Don’t always write the same characters. If you write M/F romance, don’t always make the dude the strong one that rescues the chick. Believe it or not, I connect more with the strong women who do the saving. Don’t make your M/M characters dichotomous. Don’t make your F/F characters stereotypical.
- (bonus) If you write a billionaire, make sure the person with the money isn’t a flat character and that they don’t live for their money by the end of the book…and that their HEA doesn’t end up on shopping spree after shopping spree.
- (bonus #2) Be sure your MS is professionally edited. Dude. I edit books professionally and I have an editor and proofreader. It’s super hard to fix your own stuff (and don’t just use your English teacher friends–they may work for proofreading, but not developmental editing).
Huh. That wasn’t too hard.
Check out what makes everyone else happy readers!