Why Do Bad Books Get Published & Sell Like A Million Copies?

This is going under my rants, because I’ve seen this so many times before I just needed to speak my mind. I was planning on going to bed, but decided since I’ve got so much energy right now, I might as well burn it off… I should’ve gone to the gym when I had the chance. Oh well, too late to go outside now.

A lot of my friends have told me that I should read these so-called horrible bestselling books to see what sells.  At first I was like “HELL NO!” for I know what I like and I know what I don’t like. But seeing as these books are known as Bestsellers… I decided to take a chance. Thank God I didn’t spend my hard earned cash on some of these books…but let me just say that I couldn’t even get through the first couple of chapters.

I will not mention what horrible books I decided to read, for I want to give the authors some respect…for trying, I guess. I know when I publish my book, I will have to face those who dislike it, but I want to be objective in my reviews without being too offensive or rude. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I try to be a nice person, I really do.  However, let’s go through a list of what I consider horrible books.  These are just some points, not the book titles themselves. I’ll leave the book reviews to the professionals for I’m no book critic.

LIST OF PROBLEMS IN A BOOK THAT I FIND EXTREMELY ANNOYING:

  1. Mary & Gary Sue Characters – If I cannot relate to this perfect character (s) in any way, then I will not read on to see what happens to them…at all! They can go jump off a cliff for all I care! If I can’t find any flaws whatsoever… then why am I reading this? I’m sorry, but hot characters isn’t enough for me to like the story. Why are these types of characters showing up more often? Grant it, I don’t mind some eye-candy now and then, but give me a real person…a living human being with realistic traits and a personality that’s not so hollow like cut-out cardboard. What ever happened to making three-dimensional characters? Why is being shallow the norm nowadays? Can’t I have an intelligent conversation with this character? Could I possibly imagine this character walking and talking (you know, existing!) in the real world, without the hocus pocus tricks?  I do like beautiful characters now and then, but not when they’re so empty headed I can’t see them as nothing more than a blank slate. Hello! Is anyone in there?
  2. Horrible Writing Styles with Too Many Adverbs/Fluffy WordsWhat ever happened to just saying what you really mean? Yes, I know some writers do have a tendency to ramble, even me… um, but could you like get to the point? Do I really need to read like several adverbs in a sentence to know that he handed her a cup of water?!  Not only are there too many adverbs and fluffy words, but isn’t this a sign of bad writing in general?  It seems that taking short cuts in your work doesn’t have a negative side effect… If I did that for my English essay paper, I’d be given an F…. I will never understand this and why this is still accepted. I can understand some people like to use some fluff, but not all the time. C’mon writers! Give it to me in simple terms I can understand, without the mumbo jumbo!
  3. Grammatical Mistakes/Illogical Situations Up the Wazoo!Let me get this out of the way now. I am not perfect either, and I don’t expect every writer to know everything about grammar. However, I refuse to read anything remotely similar to fanfiction… if it’s not believable to me, I cannot take this story seriously. I can understand fantasy novels; however, breaking your own rules of logic to suspend disbelief is not going to work… at least give me something that I can somewhat believe. Just saying it’s “fantasy” isn’t going to make up for throwing my intellect out the freaking door.
  4. Cheesy Dialogue That Makes Anyone Laugh – If the scene is so dramatic, then why am I laughing my ass off when the character, especially a male character is saying something so ridiculously out of context. This is probably why I’m not a big fan of romances, but really?! Real men don’t really talk that way nor do they act that way. I have yet to find a man that says this and I quote, “You are heavenly to me…”  Um, seriously?!  He’s not a straight man if he does, that’s for sure. 😐 Also, why are female characters sounding so child-like? Are women not able to speak their minds or something, like adults? I can understand there’s a difference between how a 13 year old and a 21 year old speaks, but I’m finding in some books it apparently doesn’t matter.  I’m beginning to see a terrible trend in how men are viewed and how women are viewed as typical gender roles (created by society) by just reading their poorly written lines.
  5. Lacking Substance…Where’s the Beef? – I’ll try to explain this better. I have nothing against reading a dark thriller about serial killers; however, it seems nowadays it’s just lacking any depth. The good guys are all good and the bad guys are all bad. There’s no in between? Not all books are like this, of course. There are exceptions to the rules, but I feel like I’m still missing something. There’s no lasting impression after I finish reading a so-called bestseller, which makes the book and the experience a forgotten one.
  6. Moral Reference/Finding the Missing Link – If the writer has given us nothing to reflect back on… or linking it to something like “Humanity can be evil!” or “Thou shall not kill!” Then, what was the point of the whole story? Saying “Life’s not fair!” isn’t going to cut it. I know not all books will have a moral compass, but can you please give us something that we may learn from. You know like…”Don’t talk to strangers,” or “Be careful what you wish for!” It’s good for a book when you can reflect back and think about it. You know, like creating discussions about it on forums or talking about it with friends. I like books that give me brain food (not kill my brain cells) and that says something that we could possibly share to future generations. I dunno… something worth our time, since we invested so much into reading the damn book (s).
  7. Lousy Payoffs! Where’s the Big Bang? – Nothing urks irks me (is urk even a real word? No, but irk is!) than to read a really long 600-800 page book that took me days to finish, only to find the ending was a stinker with an anti-climatic conclusion! Don’t even get me started on trilogies! I actually despise the TO BE CONTINUED cliffhangers. I’m guilty of this too, but it’s because I really don’t like having such long books to begin with. I try to make my books short in order to make my readers suffer less, but at least I try to end it at a good note, where it’s open-ended enough to make people question it.  Now, if I see a character end up being a Giant Spider Monkey from Outer Space…let’s just say I will throw that book so far out the window it’ll never reach the ground…or I will burn it horribly to death. Nothing says RIP-OFF than a lousy ending scene or a “PAY TO READ MORE” ending.  I hate rushed endings, don’t you?

So, that’s my list. I don’t know… maybe I’m crazy or overreacting. 😐 I’m sorry if some of you found this offensive, but I tried not to name titles or even author names. I know some people out there already have blogs or a list of their MOST HATED BOOKS/AUTHORS, etc. I’m just pointing out what I don’t like to read. It’s just that I’m very picky. I do try to make my characters realistic, and as a writer, I do sometimes feel that the extra work I put into my stories will be in vain or forgotten… that’s why I’m writing this out now in a post. I don’t want my work to be forgotten – to fade away into darkness never to be seen or heard of again.

There are plenty of characters to choose from in my stories. If someone doesn’t like my main character at least there’s another character that’s the complete opposite (whether it’s personality or traits) that’s in the same book. I like having a variety of people and I hope my readers do too. For my stories, I try to make the situations real enough that people could imagine it happening. I sometimes use real events in history, but I don’t really mention them in particular, because history may have a tendency to repeat itself. I try to have three dimensional characters.  They all have flaws, they may not be admired for those flaws, but that’s how it is.

Am I trying too hard to write an original story that’s unique? Most likely! I think as writers we should be tempted to challenge ourselves and try something new, instead of going for what’s safe and what’s already been done or what’s hot in popularity. I do tend to play around with stereotypes, but I twist them. I love that I never know how it’s going to end. I do write outlines for my stories beforehand, but they become unpredictable as I’m writing along. I like not knowing what’s going to happen and hopefully, my readers will too. These days it seems like when I’m reading a book, I know exactly what’s going to happen next, and that’s what makes me sad.

I literally have to force myself to read nowadays.  I’m trying to see if I can learn something from bestsellers…I’m saying this term loosely. The classical books I used to read still mean something to me. I can read them over and over again and not get sick of them. I’m finding it hard to really get into reading newer fiction books, which is why I started writing my own stories.

I do love reading nonfiction books though, always have. Does anyone seem to agree that the quality of books seems to be declining?  I dunno…maybe that’s too general of a question to ask some people. I don’t expect each writer to be the next William Shakespeare or the next Allan Poe. But I do expect them to take pride in their work and give it their best shot, you know. I don’t like reading something that was poorly thought out.  Slap on a cover and it’s a book! Is it because they want to make a quick buck or two? I couldn’t tell you.

Is quality dead now? I understand publishing is a business and it’s all about the money… but really?! I still refuse to believe that because it’s a Bestseller that it’s the greatest book in the world. Many talented and hard working writers out there hardly get any recognition for their work, and yet they’re out there still unknown and unloved.

I hate comparing one author’s style to another, but I feel like sometimes maybe all this hard work I’ve done to make my novel the best it can be…might just be a total waste, but I keep on writing despite my doubts.  I know it does sound depressing when I say that. Should I or any writer (unknown in the world) conform to what’s selling to gain popularity?

And why can’t my neighbors stop shouting at 3 a.m.?

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9 thoughts on “Why Do Bad Books Get Published & Sell Like A Million Copies?

  1. I love that you have a rant category! I might have to get one of those eventually too. I love this post, I read ‘One Day’ recently because there was so much hype about it, you think we’d know better at this stage… I’m not saying it was one of the books you were talking about but you should have a look at my review, it’s a fine rant!!! 🙂 Thanks so much for your lovely comment by the way!

    • Why thank you! I know the feeling…all my friends get so excited about these bestseller books and then when we read them it’s like “Why is this even popular?!” I totally understand how you feel and I’ll surely read your post about your rant. I love reading rants, so you should make a rant page just for that. I’d so read it! 🙂

  2. I love point #7. The rushed ending seems to happen in a lot of stories I have been reading or listening to lately. (btw, I think you were looking for “irk”!) I can usually see these rushed endings coming, too. If I am still immersed in the story and I can feel there are only 5 pages left, I know I am going to get the drop off. Are authors being rushed to hit that deadline? Are they getting tired of their own story and wrapping it up too quickly? Could they not actually come up with a satisfactory ending and just going through the motions of getting to that last period? I don’t know, but I think your rant idea is lots of fun, and may help some of us tighten up our own work!

    • Yeah, I was just thinking that it was irk! LOL xD! But for some reason I left it and questioned whether I made up some weird new word. But I digress…

      Yes, I think that many of the authors are forced to rush their endings or rewrite their endings, which sometimes I can sense it when I’m reading it. A lot of them just feel forced: the emotions, the situation, and the characters. I don’t like to rush my endings… if it ends, it ends. I try not to make it so painful for the readers. I hate cliffhangers! >_<

      And thank you for liking my rant idea! I love to rant sometimes, especially since my friends forced me to read some books that were truly unbearable… I thought I wouldn't survive. Luckily, I'm still here, thank God. 😀

      What I hope is that new writers will learn to take the extra time to develop a well-written story. I don't think rushing ever helped anyone, you know. I may even write another post about certain guide/writing books that may be really helpful to new writers.

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