I’ve just read a book that annoyed me. Another book, I should say, because I’ve read others that have irked me similarly. If you’re an author, you may want to know why.
Here’s how it goes –
I’m holding the book – either in print or digital form, it doesn’t matter. I take a look at the cover and absorb what’s on that. I turn or click, and expect to see a title page. It’s there, good.
Turn/click – another title page. Why?
Turn/click – publishing details. Good. I find those useful.
Turn/click – Now I want the story to start, but no.
Instead, there’s a plethora of other stuff first.
Dedication, a page or more of thanks to anyone who has even sneezed in close proximity to the manuscript. Yes, I understand the author feels indebted to them all, but if it’s more than a line or two, please put it at the end where the rest of us can ignore it if we want to.
Then comes –
Preface – rarely necessary, and if the content is a long explanation of why the author felt moved to write the book, usually to be ignored.
Prologue. In most cases this should simply be chapter one.
It’s 32 turns/clicks before I get into the stuff I want to read. In the past I’ve written serious non-fiction books and included some pre-pages I thought were necessary, but this one’s a novel, for heaven’s sake!
The one I'm looking at now is also an ebook but that’s not the problem, I love ebooks. I feel just the same when I find this in a tree book – actually even more so.
I have the chance to start at the beginning without bothering with the
pre-pages, and that on its own should tell you something. But I’m in
the business. I want to see the cover. I want to note the publishing
details too. Strange of me, perhaps, but I do.
Then I want to start the reading.
Don’t make me turn/click over page after page. I may just decide to click the home button and select another title.