Kay: Would You Buy This Book? It’s Time to Flog a Pro!

Photo by Bethany, E-Verse Radio

I’ve been doing revisions on my WIP, and it’s been going pretty well. I’ve been pleased with my changes, and pleased that I can detect at least some of the book’s flaws and fix them. Almost done! She said, for about the fifteenth time in the last two months.

Fresh from a chapter revise and thinking about a couple of workshops I went to at RWA nationals, I was casting about for a topic for today when I stumbled across this post on Writer Unboxed. I thought it was huge fun.

The poster, Ray Rhamey, has a regular feature on this blog called “Flog a Pro,” in which he posts the opening page of a best-selling novel and asks you, the blog reader, if you’d pay to read the first chapter. He’s got the math all worked out: if the book costs $15 and there’s 50 chapters, then each chapter costs 30 cents. Would you pay 30 cents to read the chapter?

He asks you to consider how strong the opening page is—would the narrative have hooked an agent if it came in from an unpublished writer? There’s a survey button there, you click your choice, and you get the results of all the blog readers so far. No spoiler alerts here, but just as an fyi, I voted with the majority.

After you see the results, Ray discusses for a bit why he thinks the page works or doesn’t. It’s a fun exercise to see if you agree—and it brought home some of the lessons from RWA, too.

If you followed the link and read Ray’s post, would you have bought that best-selling novel?

And now, back to revisions. Because I have no intention of letting Ray flog me.


5 thoughts on “Kay: Would You Buy This Book? It’s Time to Flog a Pro!

  1. Thanks for posting this link, Kay. I voted with Ray, for some of the same reasons that he mentioned. I’ll have to keep an eye on this feature in the future; that was an interesting exercise.

  2. Well, well, well. I’m fascinated with the dynamics of the story, but I’m just not into a Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe-type screaming match. I said I’d turn the page, but to be honest, I almost didn’t read the free “Read Inside” portion. Wow. It really picks up by the end of Chapter One, and I can see it would be a thrilling ride for people who like thrills — especially women who like thrills, because there’re a lot of code words in here meant to trigger anyone who has given birth, I think.

    But it’s still going to be a book with lots of blame-laying and the baby in the story is not going to be completely happy. Pass.

    BTW, I find it very interesting that people read the “pump and dump breast milk” as the woman being pregnant. You don’t pump and dump breast milk as a pregnant woman, except in very special cases. A new mother, though, might. Not a very new mother with her first child, I don’t think. That breast milk is precious, and even if you pump more than you need, you’d want to freeze up a supply to have. You aren’t going to the grocery store for this stuff — you are producing it out of your own body, so you know exactly how much effort goes into this stuff. I was shocked that a woman was willing to poison a supply of breast milk for the sake of a party, but under the circumstances, I think I’m OK with it (you’ve got to read the next few pages to find out why, but we can see that her mindset thinks her husband is a cheater, and that might be worth the anaethesia of one night of drinking).

    That time in a woman’s life is very, very dramatic. There’s a very deep-seated fear of being left, and the hormones really don’t help a person deal with things logically. I think new mothers tend to play it super-safe to keep a mate/protector, or go off the edge in order to protect their child. Sometimes both.

    • Interesting, Michaeline! I didn’t read past the short selection, and I usually make purchase decisions on reading about that much. I’m glad to hear others give an opening a fairer chance!

  3. Pingback: Elizabeth: How Fast is Too Fast – Eight Ladies Writing

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