Give An Author A Second Chance

Recently I came across a poll on Twitter.

How many times do you give an author a chance before you swear off their work indefinitely?

Before I get into what everyone said, please take a minute to consider this question for yourself. Do you pick up every book someone writes and try it out? Do you skim the first chapter or so? Why did you pick it up in the first place? Was it because the author is extremely popular or because you liked the cover/genre/concept? Is it a debut or an author with numerous books under their writing belt? How many times have you given them a shot? And how do these questions affect swearing someone off indefinitely?

This week, check out a book from someone you've tried to read before.
This week, check out a book from someone you’ve tried to read before.

Personally, I’ll pick up any author’s work, numerous times, before I decide they are not for me. Why? Because authors grow and change. So do their ideas. Even their voice will morph overtime. If I only read authors’ debuts—or only one of their books—I would’ve never found some of my favorite authors. For instance, I literally just tried Maggie Stiefvater for the first time, EVER, this past year. I loved the Raven Cycle so much, I am now buying all of her books from the past decade. In contrast, I read Claudia Gray’s Evernight series when I was younger…and wasn’t the biggest fan, but her Firebird trilogy was one of my favorite reads last year. I didn’t even consider her past when I picked up her new work. It’d been eight years. It was also a different genre. All I care about is the storyline, the voice, and how it resonates. If I had considered how much I didn’t like her previous book, I would’ve missed out on one of my favorite reads of the year.

Granted, I have authors I stalk admire. Cassandra Clare is one author that I always buy. Maggie Stiefvater and Claudia Gray are now on that list, too. But if I read their next book and didn’t like it, I doubt I would remove them from that list.

That being said, I understand not liking an author. I do. I would name a few I dislike, but personally, I like to focus on the positive ones I’d recommend more than the ones I don’t enjoy—because everyone is different. That being said, I am sitting here, at my dining room table, trying to recall an author I’ve sworn off indefinitely, and cannot find one. Not a single person. Because I don’t know what the future holds.

So how many chances did the average reader of this poll give before swearing off an author indefinitely? Most people said one. ONE TIME. One book. One poem. One whatever. I was shocked by how many people said one.

I sort of understand—there are a million other authors on the market. Why keep disappointing yourself with the same person? But what if that same person was like Claudia Gray was to me? You could miss out on a lifetime of brilliant works, because one didn’t suit you.

I’m not asking you to read an entire book or even check out every book someone releases, but I am saying to keep an open mind. If something catches your eye—history or not—check out the synopsis. Check out the first chapter again. Before you swear off an author’s entire career because you didn’t like their vampire book back in 2007, or their dystopian book in 2010, or whatever craze comes next, give them another shot.

I’m not saying you have to pick up every book by every author that ever was. I’m just saying not to give up at the first go.

Writing styles change. Trends change. Stories change. So do authors.

Give an author a second chance. Or maybe even a third.


P.S. Calling all book bloggers, the Bad Bloods book blitz is April 10-16 by Xpresso Reads. The sign up form is here. You will get exclusive excerpts, ARCs, and more. ❤


24 thoughts on “Give An Author A Second Chance

  1. As a writer, I totally agree. *Cringes as she thinks about earlier writing* As a reader, I am less forgiving. But I am forgiving. I am the sample chapter download queen.

  2. I don’t usually give a second chance, unless it’s someone famous that you’re supposed to like (like Hemingway) and I don’t – then I think, well, maybe I didn’t give it enough of a go. That said, I still don’t like Hemingway:)

  3. I tend to read series, so I go for one. If the first book of a series doesn’t grab me then it’s hard to get into the rest. For example, I read all of Percy Jackson since I liked the first one. Didn’t go beyond the first of the Egyptian one because it didn’t keep my attention. Authors with single books get more chances.

    I’m curious if that One is a full book/poem/story or they count just a few pages. People do a lot of the ‘first 5 pages better be epic’ rule these days.

  4. I agree. James Patterson is one of my favorite authors, been following him for years. I have over 50 of his books. Lately, I have been reading his Women’s Murder Club series. JP mentioned that the series would end with book 13, I was happy with that. So, when #’s 14, 15 and 16 came out, I felt obligated to continue, but the stories were getting ummmm not weak but not as interesting as the others. Will I write him off? No. In my opinion, think he is just rushing the work now. I will just go back to his other works to read as I have lost interest in the Women’s Murder Club series. I will always give second chances, abd even third chances. Every storyline is not for everyone.
    As a new writer, first book could have been much better, still writing, still growing, hoping no one writes me off. I hate to even think about it. Just hope and pray others will give you second chance or more.

  5. Great post! I will usually give an author 2-3 tries. If I don’t like how a series is going, I’ll switch to a different series by them. I do find that authors try different things in different books, and sometimes one speaks to me while the other doesn’t. I also think it’s important to note that while authors definitely evolve over time, so do readers. Books that didn’t resound with me as a teenager are some of my favourites as an adult. I’m definitely willing to try an author again, or even a specific book again, to see if I can connect with it.

    1. That is a fantastic point! There are many books I didn’t like as a child that I love now. Giving the same work another chance can be just as important sometimes. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  6. I do believe in second chances, but it does depend on why I didn’t like the work I read by the author. If it was the subject, but good writing, well I’ll read a book by them on another subject. Most of the times that I don’t give a writer another read it’s because they don’t write on subjects or genre I am interested in.

    1. This is a fantastic point! Thank you for bringing it up. I think that was my case with Claudia Gray. I LOVED her voice, but I wasn’t into vampires. So when she came out with a sci-fi series, I ate it up.

      1. I have a similar reaction to Stephen King. Love his writing style, but I don’t like horror stories and generally refuse to read them. However, when he writes non-horror stuff. I pick it up.

  7. I like to think I give an author multiple chances before giving up on their work. I always try out a few books by an author before saying I’m just not a fan of that author. Similarly, I try to always read many of an author’s book before saying they are one of my favorites.

  8. I give an author a few chances before I drop them entirely. I will always remember fondly the books I liked, but I can’t decide to buy something just because that author wrote it anymore. The hardest author I have stopped immediately buying books from is J.K. Rowling. I love Harry Potter, but I can’t say I love the scripts with her name on them or the adult novels she has written. I like what she writes for children, but I have yet to like anything she writes for adults. I know authors grow and their writing changes, but that does not mean the reader changes in the same way. On the other hand, I tried reading Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, but I didn’t like it. I found a few years later that I like The Raven Cycle. I think the issue is that the author and the reader change, but I think readers need to give authors at least one more chance before writing them off.

    1. Absolutely! I love how many readers are bringing up the fact that readers change just as much as authors do. It’s so true, but I failed to mention it, and it’s important to add that to this conversation. Thank you for sharing your reading stories about J.K. and Maggie Stiefvater! They are both great examples.

  9. Thanks for inspiring me to give other authors more chances, Shannon. A good example: I’m a huge fan of Robert Cormier and read about half a dozen of his novels in high school. Then I picked up The Rag and Bone Shop, which was utterly disappointing to me and left a bad taste in my mouth. However, even though it was his final book before he passed away, I stayed loyal and read Cormier’s other works, like Fade, which quickly became one of my favorites. Who knows, I may reread The Rag and Bone Shop now and find that it strikes me in a completely different way!

    Second, third, and fourth chances are very important 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this article. 😀 Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you do check out The Rag and Bone Shop again (and, of course, I hope you enjoy it this time around). Thank you for reading and commenting.

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