Not for the first time, I found myself reading a book description that was so poorly written, I wanted to grab the author, shake her, and scream, "THIS is where you're supposed to sell me on the idea that your book is worth reading, and you can't even write a description of it without errors?"
One hundred fifty words. That's all you need for a book description. One. Hundred. Fifty. Words.
If a writer is incapable of writing less than two hundred words in a readable manner, then there is nothing—NOTHING—that will convince me to read 70,000 more words penned by that same writer. In the case of this particular book description, only 20,000 more, but even ten more words would have put me over the edge.
Okay . . . perhaps my overwhelming sense of curiosity would convince me. For research purposes, you see. After all, what if the author didn't have time to write the (all-important) book description and asked her sibling/cousin/neighbor/babysitter to do it? Maybe someone on Fiverr did it for $5.00 to help pay the rent. I don't know.
Flash forward in time . . .
I have now downloaded the book, free of charge. I have read all of four pages of it and have decided that I can't go on. To clarify: I can go on living; I just can't go on reading. Honestly, two pages were enough, but I wanted to give it a fair shot by reading at least ten percent of the book. I couldn't make it that far, and didn't see any reason why I should force myself to do so.
[Note: I had to pause here for chocolate. That book bothered me in a big way.]
As I lurk and often participate on various Goodreads threads, I'm pleasantly encouraged by the number of authors who actively seek out advice from others (and follow it!) so they can improve their writing. Whether it's a work in progress or a book that's getting not-so-great ratings for whatever reason, they genuinely want to know how to make it better . . . and how to keep the same thing from happening next time.
Conversely, I'm astounded at the number of people who are on Goodreads who have access to these same threads but who don't take advantage of them. If I were an author and I saw a thread titled, "Why don't more people read self-published authors?" or "What's the best way for self-pub authors to get more readers?" my first thought would be to go to those threads and see what kind of advice I could glean, free of charge. There are discussions about editors, book covers, marketing plans, where to self-publish, dos and don'ts . . . you name it, these people have covered it thoroughly. A tremendous AND FREE resource is right there, available with one click.
A writer can put his or her heart and soul into a story—and it can be a wonderful, clever story—but if a reader can't get past the errors that are easily fixable, the story will never be discovered.