For anyone who hasn’t noticed, let me start off by pointing out that I changed my name – again. (As did Karen/Kaye, this time.) We have decided to forgo the pen names in favor of our real names. If you want to know more, check out my website to find why I made this decision.
On Monday, I talked about how Pookie and I spent the weekend cleaning house on our DVR. I received emails, a phone call, and even one face-to-face comment that it was impressive that we were able to clean so much off of our DVR in one weekend.
In all honesty, it really wasn’t that impressive at all.
Over the years, Pookie and I have realized that the shows we end up loving the most are ones that either get terrible reviews or those that don’t sound that great in the beginning. So, when we hear about a new show, if it sounds like it may be the slightest bit interesting, we hit record on the series.
As the season progresses, the shows record, until we find ourselves with ten different shows that we have never watched, just sitting on the DVR and taking up space. Even worse, we have recorded every episode in case we do like the show. So, of those ten shows, we have six to ten episodes of each.
So, this weekend, we found ourselves with eighty-six episodes of television shows we had never seen, most of which were an hour long. In total, we had almost 70 hours recorded, going back as far a September.
So, we sat down to sort it out before the DVR started deleting the shows we did like to make room.
There were some shows where we watched an entire episode, others where we watched only a few minutes. Out of all of these shows, there was only one we actually liked. Of the 70 hours we recorded, about 60 were deleted without ever being seen. Five hours were samples of shows we didn’t really like. And 5 hours are still sitting on our DVR, as part of the one show we did like.
Now, I am not going to get into what this may say about us (like the fact that we need to get a life). I am fully aware that this is a pretty sad ritual we usually go through a few times a year. (Granted, we usually do it a month into fall season, and again in February-March, then again in summer, rather than letting it sit for months on end.)
What struck me was that I do the same thing when I am reading. I start the book with high expectations, but, somewhere along the line, if the book doesn’t live up to those expectations, I put it back down. I may return to it one day, but it is more likely that I won’t.
I can’t tell you how many books I have bought over the years that remain unread because the first chapter or two didn’t draw me in. Now, with eReaders, readers don’t even have to buy the book. A free sample can be downloaded and read before the decision to buy the book has to be made.
While I will still often buy a $1-3 book without the sample, I always download the sample if it costs more than that – even if it is written by a beloved author as part of a favorite series.
As writers, we know the importance of a good opening. The question is, how much time do we have to hook our readers? I have heard people say as little as one sentence. Seriously – just one sentence!
Personally, I think that puts too much pressure on one sentence. While I do believe the first sentence is important, if I truly believed that it alone would make or break my book, I don’t know if I would ever be able to move past it. I would be too focused on making it “perfect.”
I tend to try to give a book at least a full chapter, sometimes two. Often, I will read the entire sample before making a decision (although, if I get to the end of the sample without buying the entire book, it is not a great sign.)
How much of a chance do you give a new book to hook you? Can you make a decision in a single sentence, or do you need more?If you have an eReader, do you download the sample, or just buy the book immediately?