How long does it take you to decide whether you’ll finish a book?
Authors know that when they try to get their books published, they have to get the immediate interest of a literary agent or editor. Some agents/editors will allow you to send them your book’s first three chapters. Some agents/editors will only request the first five pages and then some will decide by the end of the first page or the first paragraph whether they’re interested in publishing your book.
I wouldn’t make a good agent or editor by those standards. Even if I don’t get insanely interested in a book at the beginning, I’ll give it fifty pages to grab me. If it’s not an author I read regularly, I might not give them fifty pages—there are so many books to read and so few hours to read. But if it’s a book by an author I regularly read I will go fifty pages before I decide to close the book for good.
I recently read a book by an author (and I won’t mention names) whose books I always read and enjoy. But this recent book was way off base for this writer. If I hadn’t known better I would have been sure I was reading a Nicholas Sparks book (and I like everything he’s written).
The publisher did a huge disservice to this author: the publisher told the entire story on the cover’s flap. So, no suspense, doubts, hopes, speculations, or dreams for the characters or the situation. But I read on and finished the book simply because I’ve liked everything else this author has written.
No, I probably wouldn’t be a good agent or editor in today’s publishing world. I couldn’t be fair to the writer after a paragraph, one page, or five pages. But at page fifty I would make the decision to stop or go on reading.
"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." --Paul Sweeney, author
So, how many pages will you read before you decide whether to put a book aside for good?
Till next time ... keep on smiling.