Things I Don't Get

  • Why people don’t seem to re-read books. It’s very difficult for me to imagine only reading a book once. I’ve read most of the novels on my shelves multiple times, and I’m constantly opening them up to read specific sections as inspiration. My dad likes to say you have to be “a student of the game,” so I’m always studying how my favorite authors approach certain scenes.

  • Why cliffhanger endings are a no-no for series. It works with TV finales all the time. The idea is to draw in the viewer/reader and make them scramble for more. As a reader, I love these endings because I’m SO excited for the next installment. I understand frustrations about the sometimes lengthy delays between books, but the ability to e-publish is quickly doing away with a lot of those concerns.

  • Why people would ever truly believe that series authors stretch out their stories just to make more money. C’mon, we’re all writers here. I just can’t see this being a big motivation. If we’re writing a series, chances are we start out with a vague idea of the ending but not an exact route for how to get there. It doesn’t surprise me at all that what an author originally planned as a trilogy might spill over into 4 or 5 books. I’m also never bothered by it because it means I get to tag along with my favorite characters for longer.

What are some things that baffle you about writing, reading or publishing?


  1. Given what I've learned about the publishing business over the last year or so, I wonder how people can think successful authors (especially first-time authors) are only in it to make money. There is no way you can get a manuscript past a reputable agent and publisher unless it's evident it's something you care a lot about. Your investment in your work shows in your writing, and how you handle the long process between writing words and seeing them in print. There are much easier ways to make money!

    As for your first point, I completely understand. I have books that I hope to re-read someday, however, I have lots of books that I have yet to first-read, and I really want to get through those before I re-read others. This holds true for about 95% of my books.

  2. I totally agree with your first thing!
    My friends always say, "I don't get it - what's the point in buying books to keep?"
    And then I look at them like they're an alien and say, "So you can read them again and again as much as you want! (Like, DUH!)"
    And then they look at me like I'm an alien and go, "Well, what's the point in that? Once you've read a book, why would you want to read it again?"
    And I just look at them, pitying them for not knowing how to love books and being able to keep loving them again and again and again.

    Catherine :)
    The Book Parade

  3. Sorry, I'm guilty of not re-reading books. I've only read a handful more than once.
    I think some authors do end up cranking out books just to fulfill their contract. I'm working on a third because my readers wanted it. Otherwise I would've stopped at one!

  4. Before writing myself I never re-read books. But now I definitely go back to the ones I love to see how it is done! I also completely agree on the las two points - currently writing a (planned) trilogy with the first book having a cliffhanger. Being an unpublished/unpaid writer I am definitely not planning on writing a trilogy for the money! Rather the story feels like it needs three books to be told :)

  5. I don't re-read many books. It's not that I don't want to, but it's just because I don't have the time. I'll never finish reading all the books I like to read, much less re-read them. There's just too many.

    I'm with you on the cliffhangers, though.

  6. I re-read my favorite books. Of course, I've read the Harry Potter series at least a dozen times! I think ask people grow what they like and see in books changes. It makes for a whole new experience. I like cliff-hangers and series. I write series, but only because I'm too long-winded to write stand alones! *LOL*

    Another thing that baffles me, okay, it doesn't baffle me. I understand why. It's the happily ever after ending. I know many readers want it and expect it. Yet I like to read a good tragedy now and then. Some stories have the happy endings that feel forced. It's why often I'm dissatisfied with endings.

  7. I reread favorite books too, especially ones I want to learn from. Cliffhangers.. absolutely! As long as the whole series doesn't end too ambiguously. Stretching out stories is ok with me too, except with Robert Jordan. That series really needs to just end already :)

    BTW there is an award for you on my blog, feel free to stop by sometime to pick it up! :)


  8. I'm re-reading the entire Harry Potter series. Just started the Half Blood Prince. I love re-reading a great story!

  9. Harry Potter is the one series I would love to re-read, but I keep getting new books added to my reading list, and I put something I haven't read before above a re-read. As far as cliffhangers go, I find them exciting and frustrating at the same time. When shows do that, I hope I'm not watching them live so I can start the next season right away. The worst is a season that ends with a cliffhanger and then the show gets canceled. 4400 comes to mind.

    Due to all your great book recommendations over the past few months, you have an award waiting for you on my blog if you're interested in checking it out. :)

  10. Good comments, guys! It's so fascinating to see all the different points and perspectives.

  11. To number 1: I reread books all the time. My favorites to reread are Discworld books (nice for when I'm not feeling well and I need some light entertainment) and Dune (which I've reread way too many times). Though I tend to reread ALL books that I've really liked at some point.

    To number 2: I imagine it might be because for decades publishers have been very unreliable about continuing to publish books series unless they are very successful. An only moderately successful book series is likely to be dropped by a publisher and the likelihood of another publisher picking it up is close to nil. Thus, if you write a cliff hanger and then get your series cancelled, your fans will not be happy with you. It's best not to anger your fans. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has talked about how common it is for midlist series to be cancelled mid-series (it's happened to her) on her blog.

    To number 3: I admit that when authors write series books that seem to be all padding with little meaningful action, I suspect them of dragging out a series. This may be unfair, but on the other hand perhaps they should learn to write a more focused story if they don't want to give readers this impression.