Hi. My name's Lesley and I'm going to admit that I have book prejudices. In some ways this is a good thing, otherwise every time I went into Waterstones I'd be maxing out my credit card. But maybe it also means that I'm a little harsh on some books that I might otherwise have enjoyed.
Now I'm talking more here about things that stop you picking up a book in the first place or things that you read on the cover which mean that the story has to work harder to pull you in. (Niggles and grumbles with the actual story is a post for another day.)
The Cover itself
Now I hate to admit this but covers do play an important role in book purchases. More if it's a first time author. If it's come down to a choice between two books and one has a great cover and the other has a god-awful one, I know where my money's going to go. I think e-books get away with this more because they aren't going to be on your bookshelf where you have to look at them.
I try to take little notice of these because a lot of the time there seems to be little consistency in the recommendations. But one thing that does set off my readerly defences is if a quote says - laugh out loud funny, or any variation on that theme. Mainly because I then open the book almost challenging it to - 'Make me laugh!' And once you're in that mind set it means that the story has to work twice as hard as it might have done without the quote.
Strange character names
If an author is going to call their character Calliope, Ricochet or Teakettle. I wish they'd remember that the reader is going to be stuck with that for the whole book. I'm not saying don't use the name, I'm saying make sure you have a good reason for using it rather than Cathy, Richard or Thomas.
For example Cherijo in the Stardoc novels has that name because it's an acronym of her experiment designation. Also there's probably a little more leeway in science fiction.
Please tell me I'm not alone in my Monday morning moaning. Does anyone else out there share these prejudices or do you have some of your own? I have a copy of The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn to give away to one commenter on this post. Winner to be chosen by random number at randomnumber.org on Saturday.