Most commonly referred to as an "info dump", that is. You have three chances to get a reader to snatch up your book. The first comes when they see your cover. That will be the most immediate draw, and even the title won't be as persuasive as how enticing your cover is. The second comes when they read your blurb. A lot hinges on how well this is written, but the deal breaker comes as they take that little "Look Inside" Amazon provides.
If the first thing they see are two huge paragraphs of block text, you've already made them weary, and the danger is that some will, at best, skim the text to see what on earth you're going on about. IF they turn the page and see more of the same, you've lost at least half your potential buyers, right there. For those that trudge through it, you had better hope that 3rd page doesn't contain even one more block of text. Three pages is simply too long to wait for the action to get going.
You can just about get away with this a little further into the book, after you have the reader hooked. Hooked readers are much more forgiving than ones wanting to be hooked. Master storytellers are the ones that have found the balance of just enough back story, at just the right time. It's never necessary to lay out the entire reason for your books existence in one fell swoop- and most especially within the first 3 pages of your book.
Even if you manage to hook your reader despite the dump, do you really want them telling their friends: "I liked it once it finally got going, but it was hard to get through at times.". Scary words, in my opinion, and not exactly a shining endorsement. Liked and hard should never be used in the same sentence to describe a product, even if they are separated by a comma.
If you're not getting the sales you should be getting despite the data telling you people are looking, you should really try and find out why. If you've "taken a dump" on your first page, you just might want to clean it up. :)
Excellent advice! Thank you.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Christine :)Delete
I struggle with putting too much narrative into my first chapter to explain the backstory. I delete it out of my first draft, then weave each detail one at a time into the rest of the story. It's almost like a tease to keep the reader guessing.ReplyDelete
That's how it should be, Lita. You can count yourself among the small number of authors that have mastered this often difficult technique!Delete
I think that the internet is biased against drunk writers! I made a very valid post a minute or so ago, and it didn't post.ReplyDelete
So, once again.... this was a great article, Champ'; although, truthfully, I didn't really undersand. No, not true, I did understand and I promise that I've never taken a dump in the first three pages... never!
I think you're right, Lex, I replied to this post 3 days ago, but I sure don't see it here. Well, let me say it again, then. Since I've read 2 of your books, I can't honestly say you have not taken a dump on the first page, nor the second, that I can remember. I won't swear to any beyond that due to lack of memory for my internal hard drive, at this point. I have too much on my mind these days, and really need to conduct a purge :)Delete
True. I'm trying to write something for the second book in a series that's short but still enough. Tough one.ReplyDelete
Jo, it really is. Depending on the complexity of our story overall, it can be the hardest part of writing it. The temptation to just "get it all out of the way" is overwhelming as you sit there staring and the screen trying to weed through it in your mind to decide which part of it all is more specific to the particular scene you are writing. It can be frustrating, but terribly rewarding when we do it just right :DDelete
Good info. I'll put it to the test.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Henry :) It's worth the effort, and I've found that it has really helped improve my writing. Best of luck to you!Delete
Well said. I've learned the blurb is not my strong suit. I can write a novel, but have difficulty condensing my pitch with just the right hook. This goes for my verbal pitch also. Good advice Chameleon Author...ReplyDelete
You're not alone, Terry. Surprisingly enough, blurbs seem to be a difficult thing for many authors to write. I'll do some research on this and see if I can come up with some definitive tricks that can help with this and I'll do a write up on it.Delete