Many of the folks who utilize BookBub are self-published, and because we hear over and over the need for self-published authors to have their work edited, It seemed to me that it could be educational to take a hard look at their first pages. If you don’t know about BookBub, it’s a pretty nifty way to try to build interest in your work. The website is here.
I’m mostly sampling books that are offered for free—BookBub says that readers are 10x more likely to click on a book that’s offered for free than a discounted book. Following is the first page and a poll. Then my comments follow, along with the book cover, the author’s name, and a link so you can take a look for yourself if you wish. At Amazon you can click on the Read More feature to get more of the chapter if you’re interested. There’s a second poll concerning the need for an editor.
Note: an alternative opening follows this, along with a poll.
Two officers from East Hampton Town PD took the call. Both male, they’d joined the Department fresh from the Suffolk County Police Academy three years ago, and after a twelve-week orientation and on-the-job training programme, had been partners ever since.
East Hampton Town PD is made up of fifty-six officers who perform all of the law-enforcement tasks the area requires. The Hamptons are a group of villages forming a part of Long Island that everyone associates with wealth; the rich and famous frequently choose to vacation there, some renting places for the season and others just buying them outright to save hassle. Whichever option they take, the Hamptons contain some of the most expensive residential properties not just on the East Coast, but in all of the United States. There was a reason the region served as a setting in The Great Gatsby; the area evokes the glamour and sophistication of a prosperous present and romanticised past.
Given the demographic and the amount of zeroes a person needs in their bank account just to rent a place there, crime is low. Most of those who vacation and live in the Hamptons are the business and social crème de la crème, so any illegal activity tends to be either petty stuff or at the opposite end of the spectrum, serious accounting, fraud or business transgressions which an FBI or a Financial Crimes task force from the city handles. The most common illegal deed is burglary, thieves capitalising on properties mothballed for long periods out of season or when the (snip)
Did this writer need an editor? My notes and a poll follow. You can turn the page here.
This book averaged 4.6 stars on Amazon. Congratulations to Mr. Barber for writing what I think is the most boring opening yet uncovered in the Flog a Bookbubber series. Does any of this info dump matter? Actually, no. Neither of the two unnamed cops figures later in the story, so their training doesn’t matter. All the stuff about the Hamptons can be folded in when needed.
There’s simply no story here. In contrast, here’s the narrative picked up from later in the scene. See if you think this is a better opening. A poll follows.
The house had a Mediterranean feel, light, open and airy with a polished tile floor which would keep the place cool in the hot weather. There were impressive paintings on the walls either side of the hallway, an ornate mirror hanging above a gold gilt marble-topped table to the right, a large crystal lamp and vase of flowers placed on the top.
The two cops stepped inside slowly, taking care not to touch or disturb anything. They made their way down the corridor and passed through an open door to arrive at what was the main living area.
It was spacious and open-plan, conjoined with a large kitchen and separated by a long granite-topped counter. Matching the exterior of the house, the walls were painted white and cream.
It meant the blood spattered all over them stood out starkly.
There were bodies strewn everywhere. Men. Women. Children. It was clear from the remaining foodstuffs on the counter and on a dining table that they’d been killed at or just prior to lunchtime.
Bowls of salad and plates of sliced cold-cuts were sitting abandoned. Glasses and plates were shattered all over the floor, shards of glass and pieces of bone china lying amongst spilt food.
Bottles of wine and beer had either been fragmented by gunfire or were lying smashed on the counter, table and floor, the liquid mixing with the food and blood.
What do you think?