Girls Write Out
Monday, April 05, 2010

They say we're becoming less patient in this digital age. I don't know who "they" are, but I happen to agree with them. I used to give a book several chapters before I gave up on it. Now, I admit, I don't even buy a book that doesn't hook me on the first page. And even then I flip to middle of the book to read a page because I know how hard authors work on that first page.

Some say readers give a book 30 seconds in the bookstore. I admit, as a writer, that makes me work pretty hard to get that first page, that first paragraph, that first line just right. And even after that, you have to keep the reader reading through a middle that is somewhat prone to sagging if one isn't very careful.

So, I'm curious. Has the Age of Instant affected your reading patience? How long do you give a book in the store to grab you before purchasing? And how long do read a boring book before giving up on it?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:38 AM  
  Comments (10)
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At 1:40 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

I buy and read books based on the premise. Hook me with that and I'll probably read through at least the first fifty pages, unless it really boring, then I start skimming and eventually I put the book down and never pick it up again. But I pay very little attention to the first page of a novel when I'm making a buying decision.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

I've noticed lately - because I am reading so many supposedly for reviews that I tend to give up on books sooner than I would have in the past - well actually I take that back - these books wouldn't have even came home with me.

I typically don't like historical books because they always come across as "clinical" - I don't know how else to say it - but recently started reading The Anonymous Bride - and except for a major anachronism (it momentarily took me out of the story) that somebody should have noticed - the only reason I put down the book was because I had work to get done and haven't had time to pick it back up again.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

I get the premise thing, Timothy. I don't even open the book unless the premise hooks me.

Leslie, I used to finish every book, but now? Life's too short to read a book I don't like.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

I totally agree, Denise! I do read the opening of the book, and of course, the back cover copy. If I'm satisfied with that and the premise, I'll give it a shot.

Once I'm home, I'll give it quite a few chapters before I give it up, because I know the first act is the set-up stage and we're getting to know the characters, all that. But if it doesn't start getting interesting, I'm done and nothing will get me back to it. I don't have the time. I move on to the next one.

But I also keep in mind that very same book could be a bestseller. Reading is so subjective.

All we can hope is that others, besides our families, read our books. Besides, my family isn't all that big. I think i have to sell more copies than that. :-)

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

I naturally have a very short attention span. Add that to dyslexia and you have a mix that does not bode well for most books. I think that's why I like mysteries (I try to figure out "whodunit") and action/adventure stories. They seem to hold me longer than any other genre. In addition, I like to listen to books rather than read them...that pesky dyslexia is part of the reason. The other part is that I like to knit or play computer games while listening. It's my version of multi-tasking.

At 5:30 AM, Blogger Cathy Shouse said...

Wow. Potential book-buyers put a lot of pressure on writers.

I don't really know how to answer the question. Being a writer "ruins" you for reading for pleasure. lol I'm always studying for craft techniques, or whatever, when I read. Anyone else have that problem?

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I try to give a book 100 pages. If it's still killing me to read it after that then I just get rid of the book. Unless I'm reviewing it, then I finish the book (grueling as it may be) because I committed to reading it in its entirety.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

Suzanne - since a review shouldn't mention anything that happens after the first 100 pages; I personally find no problems stopping at the 100 mark if I don't like it and commenting on just the first 100 pages - keeps me from reading something I hate.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger The Farmer's Wife said...

I read everything, even toothpaste ingredients, and haven't noticed a difference in patience with that. What I HAVE noticed is that if I want to write something substantial, I have to stop FBing. It wrecks my ability to write more than 120 characters....even emails!

I'm with Timothy Fish on how he buys and reads books...on premise. Seldom quit a book, for any reason.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger SketchGirl said...

I need to like to book description firstly and then I go to the book publisher and read the excerpt and if I like it, then i put the book details on my wish list. If I've bought a book and its boring I then just put it on the bottom shelf to maybe read later


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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