So you're humming along in a really great book and then BANG! something pulls you from it. You've just stumbled over one of your pet peeves. This has happened to me more times than I can count, and I bet you've come across it too. Because I'm also an author, this is one of my biggest concerns, so I asked readers to tell me their worst pet peeves. Some of what I learned, I expected. Other things completely surprised me—and didn't have anything to do with the actual story.
The concerns fall into four categories. I only included pet peeves most readers can relate to, because obviously readers have different preferences when it comes to genres and content ratings.
What do you think? Are some of these your biggest stumbling blocks while reading?
Funny Pet Peeves
- Your spouse walking in at all the juicy parts.
- When the sun comes up and you haven't finished the books.
- Job/housework/food prep that needs attention when your real calling is reading.
Pet Peeves Beyond Our Control
- Interruptions (this was the biggest pet peeve in this category with multiple people agreeing).
- Noise when you're reading.
- When your reading spot isn't comfortable (most people like being in a comfy chair or in bed).
- Someone recommending a great book—and then telling you all about it.
- Books with too many words that readers have to look up.
- People watching you read.
Pet Peeves Readers Wish Authors Knew About
- Cliffhangers (tied for biggest pet peeve). Finish the plot, people!
- Typos and grammar errors (tied for biggest pet peeve).
- Redundant descriptions, or too much description (tied for biggest pet peeve). Move on!
- When authors use a word without understanding its meaning (i.e. fortnight means two whole weeks and then/than are NOT interchangeable).
- Being interrupted.
- Cheesy characters or situations.
- When characters act different from how they've been acting the entire book (so out of character). This is often done to create a plot twist or confrontation. Conflict should arise from the plot!
- Characters who use pet names right after meeting.
- When an author reminds a reader too many times about something they have already stated (one reader claims an author said a character's name is beautiful fifty times, but as the reader didn't agree, it was a real turnoff).
- Using multiple character names that sound the same or begin with the same letter. Too hard to keep straight!
- When a book suddenly changes from one genre to another (you start out reading a gothic horror and suddenly end up with a paranormal romance).
- A book that is too short (need more time with characters).
- Words that are repeated too often.
- Head hopping, which means point-of-view switches between character that happen without warning (new chapter or dingbat division is preferred).
- Too many love triangles.
- Lack of basic research.
- Slowly moving storylines.
- Stories that should be one book but are dragged out for three or four.
- Bad or overly sad endings.
- Audio book narrators who mispronounce words or names.
- When the book blurb (description) makes the book sound completely different than it really is. Expectations matter!
- Missing pages or poorly designed interior.
- Poor cover design that makes you not want to read the book in the first place.
Please tell me below what your biggest pet peeves are, and I'll spread the word to the authors. You can also weigh in on the Facebook post.