It’s the beginning and more specifically the first sentence, then paragraph, then page, then chapter. You have to grab your reader the minute they pick up your novel.
If you’ve moved far along enough on your journey, you’ve probably sent your manuscript out to a few agents or are making last minute adjustments in preparation for sending it out.
One thing I’ve noticed with all of them, they don’t want to see your entire manuscript. Don’t try to be bold and overconfident by sending them the entire thing. They probably will toss it to the side for your failure to follow instructions and even if they do read, they won’t get very far if the first pages aren’t compelling enough to draw them in (which was the part they wanted to see in the first place).
Agents as a rule, only want your first few pages. Some will ask for more but none want to see the entire manuscript until they know you can write and write a compelling story. You have to make them want to see more. Leave them hanging on the edge of their seat. They will ask for the rest of your manuscript just to find out what happens next.
That’s the same thing that will happen for your readers. You want to do it in an e-book and bypass the literary agent, that’s fine but your readers will do the same thing the agent does. They will read a sample prior to buying the book. It had better be compelling from the beginning or you lost a sale. Remember you’re asking people to invest time and money when they purchase your work. Make it worthy of their interest.
Look at your first chapter as a promise to your readers. Remember your first pages set the tone and ground rules for how you will tell your story. No matter how polished your manuscript is, how compelling your characters are, how tightly you’ve plotted the story, that first chapter has to draw the reader in or they will never know.
I would love to hear from you. If you have any comments or suggestions please share them. I would also like to ask that you consider following me on this journey. I blog twice a week and you will receive an email whenever I post a new blog or edit an older one.