Why We Won’t Read Your Book

Sci-Fi & Scary gets a lot of science fiction and horror review submissions. That’s awesome! We love supporting indie authors and we have no plans on stopping anytime soon. We even purchase indie author books independently on Amazon on a regular basis. Just because they look good. Hoooooowwwweeevvveeer, there are some things that make us seriously disinclined to accept your book for review (or get it on our own from Amazon). As this Top Ten Tuesday prompt was “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book” we thought we’d take advantage of it to create a list of our reasons we reject (or consider rejecting) many of the books. This is not limited to indie authors, either! Some of these mistakes have been made by well-known authors and have us groaning.

We aren’t going to name names in this post, and any covers that we use will be quick mock-ups done by us to get the point across. As usual, Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

Why We Won’t Read Your Book

Misspellings on the cover or in the summary on the back
. We rarely see this happen on covers but it does happen. We understand not everyone can hire cover designers, so many choose to make their own covers. If you do – good for you. However, for the love of all things tentacled, please make sure you have someone spell check your cover.  And have at least two or three people read your summary! This one we see errors in all the time, and it’s a bit amazing, quite frankly. Especially on more well-known books.




Incorrect capitalization. Yes, it happens to the best of us. However, sometimes you only have one chance to catch someone’s attention. So you want to make sure that all aspects of your cover are on point, yes? If you can’t manage to keep with at least a consistent capitalization, we’re not going to waste our time reading the blurb/summary.






Keywords in the title section on Goodreads/Amazon. Right now we’re both at the point where if we see this when we’re looking at your book, we will flat out refuse to get it. This is a stupid practice that needs to stop immediately. Keyword tagging your title is tempting, but just don’t do it.

However, it’s not just in the title section, either. If you shove a bunch of keywords in a row right into where your blurb/summary goes instead of giving a proper summary, or any variation of that, it still doesn’t look good.



Breaking up a story into multiple parts to cash grab. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. Every single one of us can think of series that go past the trilogy stage. But every one of us can also think of cases where it was completely unnecessary, and this often happens with indie authors who will parcel out their story into bite-sized chunks (sometimes larger) and often end them on massive cliffhangers. Sometimes right in the middle of the natural arc of one plotline.



Listing your book under inappropriate genres to get people to read it. If we see this, especially if we see a decidedly adult book in the children’s section, we will report it. Not gonna lie. If it’s obviously mislisted, neither of us have any problem taking the 2 seconds required to let the appropriate people know.  It’s just shady marketing. It goes without saying that we’re also never going to pick up your book. That one, or any other one we ever see under your name.




Nothing but praise on the back. Look, we think it’s fantastic that other published authors are willing to sing your book’s praises. Really. It’s awesome. However, that doesn’t bloody tell us what your book is about, does it?! We’ve seen this one happening more and more, especially on some big name writer’s books, and it’s enough to make us facepalm. This trend towards including the summary on super tiny type on the inside of the dust jacket has got to stop. Gah.

A second part to this – praise for *another* book from the same author. We don’t care about the praise Sassy Serpents got if we’re trying to find a summary for Withering Witches. You get us?




The attractive woman in a seductive/sexy pose cover. You know the ones. Your book is about a kick-ass female *insert profession* and … well, sex sells, right? So you slap a picture of an attractive female on the cover, give it a title and all that, and call it done.

For me (LG), sex sells if I’m wanting to read romance or erotica. Then, show me the boobs or the ripply abs or whatever other cliche you want to show me. I’m still going to be more interested in the actual stories within, but at least I’m not going to roll my eyes so hard that they threaten to stick pointing straight up and walk straight by your book.




Not paying attention to the site’s notices for reviewing. Especially when they’re clearly listed on the top of the “Request a Review” form. Y’all… YOU ALL. Seriously. I can’t even… Look, I’m going to take a second to rant about this. When a site has it clearly posted that they’re only accepting certain formats, and people continue to send them requests to review alternate formats, it’s bloody infuriating. I’ve gotten to the point where if I’m feeling nice that day, I might respond denying to review your book. Otherwise, I just ignore it.

It’s clearly posted in the widget on the right sidebar that we’re only accepting audiobooks for the science fiction submissions right now. It’s also stated right at the very top (in bold) on the request a review form. The form that everyone has to fill out to submit their books for review. And yet y’all keep sending me requests to review your mobi copies. No. Nope. Not happening. Nu-uh. You blew it.  */end mini-rant from LG*

Okay, that’s not all the reasons why we won’t read your book, but it’s the major ones.

What about you, what stops you from reading certain books?







9 thoughts on “Why We Won’t Read Your Book

    1. Yep! A few months back I downloaded what I thought was going to be a ‘scary’ take on Snow White from the kids section for a kid’s horror review. It, uh, wasn’t a kids book. Not even a teen-level kids book. I did a major WTF and reported it to Amazon (who took care of it *immediately*) and have kept an eye out for that crap ever since.

  1. Some of the things you mentioned at the beginning I haven’t seen in books before, especially the keywords in the title, though I agree they’d definitely annoy me as well. The big one is quotes of praise on the back cover. That seems to just be what is done now and I really don’t like it. I need to see what a book is about to know whether I want to read it, I don’t really care about what other authors have said about it because it’s always praise.
    Great picks for this week! 🙂

    1. The keywords in the title is something you mostly find on Amazon in the lower cost/indie authored stuff. I’ve seen it on Goodreads once or twice.

  2. What doesn’t work? I particularly agree with overusing praise quotes from other authors, particularly for previous books in the series. Hey, if it’s the nth book in a series, there’s a good chance that a) I’ve already read the others, in which case I don’t need to know what other people thought of them, or b) I’m not going to read THIS book, at least not until I try an earlier volume in the series.

    Speaking of which, this runs against industry practice, but I hate series. Why? Because I’ll pick up what looks like an interesting book, only to find it’s second in a series, and there are no copies of the first book in the store. Or the first book doesn’t appeal. Or, I have limited time and can’t be bothered. *** CONFESSION *** I have sometimes picked up a book in a series without knowing it, and then gone and read other books in the series. So this isn’t an ironclad rule. And I can be a sucker for this popular industry practice.

    And on almost the same topic, what about first books in a series that doesn’t tell you up front they are part of a series, but end on a cliffhanger, with few major plot threads solved. GRRRRR!

    Cover art that is too generic. Hot babe on cover representing teenaged urban witch coming of age story. Seductive vampire (either sex); well, maybe if it was a seductive vampire sheep, the novelty would get me interested. Sex may sell, but sexy doesn’t always.

    Blurbs that are too generic. “Epic quest,” “save humanity,” “Boy and girl who loathe each other must band together to blah blah blah.” Where can I find “alien squid and sub-adolescent witch combine to prevent plate tectonics from killing the entire New Zealand film industry?” (Don’t tell me there are six of THOSE in print right now!)

    1. Oh lord, I *hate* not knowing that a book is the first one in a series! I had that happen not too long ago, but TBH it wasn’t really the author’s fault. It was stated on *every* cover edition on Goodreads *except* the one I looked at.

      Generic blurbs can be a turnoff too. Haha, I like your “alien squid” idea.

  3. That’s fair and makes sense. Reviewing the books is a hard job. How many review submissions do you receive per day or per week?

    I specially liked the ”attractive woman” thing… hate it!

    1. It really varies. And yes, that attractive woman thing… It’s like for the love of God, show me something that actually pertains to your story.

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