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Blurbs, first pages and the middle – how do you choose?

5. February 2007

This post was the inspiration for today’s musings.
What makes you buy a book? How do you mainly decide on a new author/series?
Do you only buy word-of-mouth?
What if you’re really bored and there’s nothing in the bookshop that you *wanted* to get, so you have to find a different book to try?

After a catchy title/cover, it’s up to the blurb for most of us. And that’s where the waters get very murky. Some blurbs are fantastic. Some are useless. Others should come with a big, fat spoiler warning.
As a reader, I’m scared of blurbs. What if they give something away that I wanted to be in suspense about?

I used to choose books very differently. I wasn’t aware that “most readers in a bookshop will read the first page or so before deciding they buy your book”.
I never did that, because I found that too many authors tricked me. Their first page was hooky and interesting and promised all sorts of good things, only to bore me to tears by page 98.
So I opened the book in the middle and read half a page. If the voice didn’t grab me, the book went back, often to my great disappointment.

Am I the only one who doesn’t buy into the first-page hype?
After learning the secret from the inside, I understand where my feeling came from. Do we as authors over-polish the front, but leave the pins and tape on the back and sides?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chick permalink
    8. February 2007 11:51 am

    I like what you’re saying, but I still chose by first pages. Even if the book has a brilliant middle, I’ll never get that far if the first page doesn’t entice me. 🙂

    I love your blog!

    Luisa (from

  2. Chick permalink
    8. February 2007 11:52 am

    Oops, that should say ‘I still choose’, not ‘chose’. Doh!

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