“I don’t see how a book could be judged by only the first three chapters.”
And yet we do it all the time.
This was the response I recently received on a rejection and yet I challenge that writer, and all readers, to look at how you judge books. Do you read every genre and every book made available to you? I know I don’t. Even at BEA, where so many wonderful books are available to me for free, I pick and choose. I only have so much time and so much room in my book bag. And, frankly, not all books interest me.
I’m not typically a reader of techno-thrillers and while there might be a few that would grab my attention, after reading the back book blurb I will pass on most of them. It’s what we do and it’s what we have to do. We only have so much time in our days and for that reason we need to weed out those things that we don’t like or that aren’t productive enough for us. I can’t read every book that I’m queried, I need to find a way to weed out those that aren’t right for me, or those authors who don’t seem to want to put in the work from the start (by writing a strong query letter in the first place).
Whether we want to admit it or not, there’s a reason for cover blurbs and query letters. If you’re an optimist you would say it’s to entice the reader. A pessimist might say it’s so readers can weed out what they don’t want.