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. I’ve noticed that many of these folks use a prologue—this one does, but it’s so short I’m skipping ahead to the first chapter. Following is the first page and a poll. Then my comments are after the fold 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.
Should this author have hired an editor? Here’s the the first page from a book by Dick Cluster.
“… too many changes at once,” Alex was saying. He recognized this for a rationalization, and an old, barnacle-encrusted one to boot. He wondered how many other times it had been enunciated, sotto voce, over this same slippery table, by men or women whose fingertips traced, as his did, circles of diluted bourbon on the black Formica top. He envied the piano player, whose dry fingers glided brilliantly over shiny keys.
The pianist, Meredith had said, was playing a song cycle by Franz Peter Schubert. Alex hadn’t been able to identify the composer, though he could have said it was a European who worked after Bach and before Stravinsky. He did happen to know one surprising fact about Schubert— at least it had been surprising to him— which was that he had died even younger than Mozart, at the age of thirty-one. “Hey, listen,” Alex had said more than once since coming upon this fact, “I’ve already outlived Schubert by nine years, and Che Guevara by one.”
Tonight Alex had expected jazz piano, not classical. And why not, when he had watched the pianist amble in from his break: a dapper man, rimless glasses and well-shaped mustache, a sort of older Herbie Hancock, though then Alex had realized that Herbie Hancock himself wasn’t so young anymore. The musician had sat down, flexed his long brown fingers, and conjured these august Germanic rhythms out of the machine.
Did this writer need an editor? My notes and a poll follow.
The writing and voice are good, but, as a little old lady once said in a hamburger commercial, “Where’s the beef?” A man sits at a table in a bar, musing. Then there’s some backstory. Then a piano player plays music. Story questions? None here and, with an opening this languid, I suspected it wouldn’t appear for far too many pages. I passed. You can turn the first page here.
© 2016 Ray Rhamey