What Makes a Good Book?

What makes a good book? The question is enormously subjective. There are a lot of different styles out there and a lot of different tastes.

If you read a book that a bunch of people have raved about, but you hate it, what conclusion do you draw? Do you decide the book is junk and everyone needs to know that? Do you go onto the web and tell everyone you can how awful it was?

If a lot of people say they liked it, do you assume they are lying?

Or do you think maybe other people look for something different in a book? Maybe your taste is not the same as everyone else in the world? After all, even the big NY publishers put out books that have one star reviews on Amazon. Someone believed it was a good book!

But some books are just objectively bad. Right?

This is a question I’m becoming more and more interested in. So tell me, what are your standards for a book? Is it different depending on the genre? (Do you judge an airport thriller with the same standard as a literary classic?) What factors influence whether you love a book and want to tell everyone you know to read it or whether you hate a book so much that you have to warn everyone that it will ruin their life if they read it?

Guest Post: The Thrill of a Published Book

by Ruth Madison

We who dream of being authors anticipate for years holding a book in our hands with our name on the cover, the pages filled with out own words.

It is an amazing moment.

 But if can also feel a bit…unreal.

You’ve waited years for what you’ve written to be a proper book and now when you flip through the pages and see your own words, it feels like it must be a joke. These are your words and someone has put a binding on them, but they still look to you like the words you typed into Scrivener and saw scrolling by on your computer screen every day. Who hid them inside a book cover?

And then for us worrying types, it gets worse.

You’re on a high for a week, showing your book to everyone you know. But then worry catches up with you. You’ve accomplished this huge goal, but there’s another one waiting for you.

Will anyone buy it? Will anyone read it?

You start to worry that it will just sit there and not move a single copy and your publisher will wonder why they gave you this chance.

Then you see your sales figures. And it’s selling.

Another huge thrill that lasts a week or so. People are reading your work! People are connecting with the story that you have told!

Until worry catches up again. What if everyone hates it?

What if they think it’s awful and feel cheated and get angry at you? And you become consumed with anxiety again.

Then some reviews get posted. And they aren’t terrible. No one is yelling. Several people liked it and they thank you for writing it and you read their words with tears in your eyes (authors need your reviews like faeries need your claps!)

Yes, having your book published is quite a roller coaster ride.

I feel a little foolish for exposing the truth of my feelings like this. Aren’t I supposed to be just glowing with pride from the moment I get a contract until…well, forever? Is there something wrong with me that the thrill wears off and is replaced by worry each time?

Maybe there is! But I think it also helps me in being a career author. The high has to wear off so that I can go back to writing the next book, seeking to feel it again. Writing and drug addiction. Yeah, that’s totally the comparison I wanted to make. It’s true, though. Thrills never last forever, but they feel so good that we go back to doing whatever it was that allowed us to feel them in the first place. I’m glad for me that’s writing books. I’ve got plenty more ideas and I’ll keep chasing the elusive high that lasts.

Ruth’s first two books have just come out in their second editions…


Paperback / Kindle /NookSmashwords







Paperback / Kindle /Nook/ Smashwords

Visit Ruth at her site www.ruthmadison.com!