• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

Flog a Pro: would you pay to turn the first page of this bestseller?


Trained by reading hundreds of submissions, editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page.
Here’s the question:
would you pay good money to read the rest of the chapter? With 50 chapters in a book that costs $15, each chapter would be “worth” 30 cents.
So, before you read the excerpt, take 30 cents from your pocket or purse. When you’re done, decide what to do with those three dimes or the quarter and a nickel. It’s not much, but think of paying 30 cents for the rest of the chapter every time you sample a book’s first page.
Please judge by storytelling quality, not by genre or content—some reject an opening page immediately because of genre, but that’s not a good enough reason when the point is to analyze for storytelling strength.
This novel was number one on the New York Times paperback trade fiction bestseller list for January 24, 2015. How strong is the opening page—would this have hooked an agent if it came in from an unpublished writer? Following are what would be the first 17 manuscript lines of the prologue.
THEY WERE ABANDONING HIM. The wounded man knew it when he looked at the boy, who looked down, then away, unwilling to hold his gaze.
For days, the boy had argued with the man in the wolf-skin hat. Has it really been days? The wounded man had battled his fever and pain, never certain whether conversations he heard were real, or merely by-products of the delirious wanderings in his mind.
He looked up at the soaring rock formation above the clearing. A lone, twisted pine had managed somehow to grow from the sheer face of the stone. He had stared at it many times, yet it had never appeared to him as it did at that moment, when its perpendicular lines seemed clearly to form a cross. He accepted for the first time that he would die there in that clearing by the spring.
The wounded man felt an odd detachment from the scene in which he played the central role. He wondered briefly what he would do in their position. If they stayed and the war party came up the creek, all of them would die. Would I die for them … if they were certain to die anyway?
“You sure they’re coming up the creek?” The boy’s voice cracked as he said it. He could affect a tenor most of the time, but his tone still broke at moments he could not control. The man in the wolf skin stooped hurriedly by the small meat rack near the fire, stuffing strips of partially (snip)

Take Our Poll
(function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://writerunboxed.com/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

My vote and notes after the fold.
This is The Revenant by Michael Punke. Was this opening page compelling to you?
My vote: yes–but it would have been no for the first chapter’s first page.
Good writing and voice here, and the page does raise story questions—will the wounded man die? Will the others stay and fight or abandon him to sure death? The stakes are high, there’s tension in the narrative. That aspect is good.
I am, however, not a fan of anonymous characters. This narrator’s name is given at the end of the prologue, so why not on the first page? For me, anonymous characters are at a distance and more difficult to connect with. A name helps create a human being, I think. While I did not feel attached to this character, the situation and the story questions were enough to get me to turn the page.
I was disappointed when the first chapter seemed unrelated to the character or the action in the prologue. More than that, and worse, I found blatant head-hopping. The second paragraph is inside the mind of one character and the next paragraph hops into the mind of a second character. If the chapter had been the first page I read rather than the prologue, I would not have turned the page.
Your thoughts?
Tip: You can actually turn the page for free by utilizing Amazon’s “Look inside” feature, and I recommend doing that if you have the time and interest. The Revenant is here.
Have you checked out the new Monday “Flog a BookBubber” feature on my blog, Flogging the Quill. If you’re familiar with BookBub, it’s a site that offers free or very low cost ebooks. It is heavily used by self-publishers, though established authors are sometimes there.
We often see the meme on the Internet that self-published authors should have had editing done before they published. So the new Flog a BookBubber posts take a look at opening pages to see if that’s true. You can vote on turning the page and then on whether or not they should have sought an editor. Stop by on Mondays and take a look.

Wish you could buy this author a cup of joe?

Now, thanks to tinyCoffee and PayPal, you can!

About Ray RhameyRay Rhamey is the author of five novels and one craft book, Flogging the Quill, Crafting a Novel that Sells. He's also an editor who has recently expanded his creative services to include book cover and interior design. His website, crrreative.com, offers an a la carte menu of creative services for self-publishers and Indie authors. Learn more about Ray's fiction at rayrhamey.com.Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

"The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium."
Norbet Platt

Random picks

  • https://i2.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Fan-D.jpg... 300w, https://i2.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Fan-D.jpg... 639w" sizes="(max-width: 525px) 100vw, 525px" data-recalc-dims="1" />If I could be anything, if I could have any occupation in the entire world, I’d be a mystery writer. As a reader, I’ve been devouring detective fiction for over four decades. I started, as so many readers do, with Nancy Drew (her shift dresses! Her convertible!), and then quickly switched allegiances to the more effervescent and adorably human Trixie Belden (her...
  • You can find running a blog everywhere in today’s world. Everywhere you turn nowadays it seems like someone is blogging. Success in writing a blog is predicated on careful planning and design. The advice in the following article will help you get your blog started on the right foot. Do not purposefully plagiarize in order to create content for your blog. One of the most important things your blog can cultivate is a reputation for honesty and reliability. Even the smallest bit of plagiarized content puts that reputation at risk. It’s okay if your writing isn’t fantastic, so...
  • New York, NY (March 17, 2016)—Tonight, at the New School in New York, the National Book Critics Circle announced the recipients of its book awards for publishing year 2015. The winners include Paul Beatty’s novel “The Sellout” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), an outrageous satire about the racism in America; and Sam Quinones’ “Dreamland: The True Story of America’s Opiate Epidemic” (Bloomsbury), a devastating dive into the nation’s rampant addiction crisis. Ross Gay was awarded the poetry prize for “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude...
  • …of great stories, that is! But first–I’m just back from St. Louis and I apologize for not blogging last week. I thought I had all the laundry, packing, etc, under control, but not only did I forget to blog on Wednesday, I also neglected to remind my daughter to make sure her father took her to Art Class on Thursday. Hmmm…think maybe I was a little anxious to get out of town? St. Louis was fabulous. What a spectacular city!
  • How, from Babel onward, can we explain the plurality of language? In The Tongue of Adam, translated from the French by Robyn Creswell and forthcoming from New Directions, Moroccan writer Abdelfattah Kilito explores this and other enigmatic questions related to translation, comparative religion, and lexicography.   Babels The question of an original language arises when multiple languages are found in a state of compe­tition or rivalry. Every inquiry into the tongue of Adam hopes to...

Recommended sites

Most recent titles

02
19 hours ago
03
19 hours ago
04
19 hours ago
05
19 hours ago

Fast fact about writing

It has been said that a monkey, randomly typing away on a typewriter (in the days when typewriters replaced the pen or plume as the preferred instrument of writing) could re-create Shakespeare-- but only if it lived long enough (this is known as the infinite monkey theorem).