I’m an impatient reader. I think I’ve mentioned this before – if you haven’t captured me in the first couple of paragraphs I’m off: too many books and far too little time.
Which means I love the sampling feature of ebooks – I can have a quick read on-line, or download the start of several books and look through at leisure to decide which I want to pursue and which I’m going to discard.
Now, either this manner of decision-making sets me apart from the majority of book-buyers, or people who format ebooks haven’t allied their job with the purchasing experience. I’m finding ebooks seem to be increasingly prone to throwing a surfeit of irrelevant stuff into the start of a book – acknowledgements, review quotations, author biographies and other books by the same writer or published by the same publisher. Now these are all fine – BUT NOT BEFORE I’VE READ THE BOOK.
Once I’ve read the book and been captivated by your style and storytelling I’d love to get to know you by discovering you live on the side of a mountain with a dog called Wookie, so named not because of its hairiness, but because its woof is spookily reminiscent of Chewbacca’s vocalisations (oh, now, wouldn’t that be cool?); after I’ve enjoyed your story I’d be delighted to discover that it came about indirectly because of a bet placed between you and your best friend, Biff, to learn and recite alphabetically the names of all the islands within the British Isles; and once I know I like your writing I definitely want to know what else you’ve written so I can download it straight away.
Before I’ve read the book, though, all that stuff is just wasting my time – I don’t care about your dog or your best friend, and it’s just presumptuous to suggest I read something else of yours before I’ve even started this one.
At the start I like a brief blurb/synopsis (useful for when I’ve loaded up my ereader and can’t quite remember which story goes with which title), and then I want to start reading the book. Everything else that isn’t story is an interruption – and hands up anyone who likes having a good story interrupted?