1) There's hope for the first-time author. Chances are our writing will improve. Heh. I re-read the first book by an author I truly love. I confess by the time I reached the last thirty pages I was tired of it. Tired. So I went to the last six pages just to make sure the murderer was caught. That book was interminable. Not so with the rest of them.
2) Series. It's not the number of books in a series that will kill it. It's the total lack of interest on the author's part. If you have to call it in to continue the series, don't bother. Really. You're doing your readers no favors.
3) Stories should have a point. What are you trying to say? Even erotic romance should have a purpose. If your sole purpose is to see how many positions you can use in the least number of pages, that's not romance. That's porn, whether two people are in the bed, or twelve.
4) Conversely, if you're dialing in the sex so you can meet the publisher's guidelines, don't bother. I read a really intriguing little story that was totally ruined by the sex scenes. They could have enhanced the story in so many ways. Instead, they were plodding, miserable interruptions to the story. No author should add an explicit sex scene to a book if the characters truly don't lead the story into the bedroom.
5) Same goes for violence, gunfights, fist fights, car chases, and other ways to stretch the story. Suspense does not equal action. Many times, suspense is much more effective than action. Think about the Hitchcock movies you've watched. He was the master at stretching out the suspense to the snapping point. The active parts were frequently short and sharp. Not interminable!
After all my reading I concluded there's still hope for me. I have a dental appointment today, but on Monday I'll dive back into the writing cave and persevere. Onward.