At a recent panel discussion in Erie, Colorado, we asked Sandra Bond, of Bond Literary Agency, how much of an author’s manuscript she requests after she has decided she likes their query letter pitch, and that was her response.
Of course, not just any five pages—the first five.
Well, that doesn’t seem like a whole lot to go on, does it? But according to Sandra, that’s all she needs. In fact, she told us that she usually knows by the end of the first page whether she’s going to pass on the book or keep reading.
Now, every agent is different, but you can’t really argue with Sandra’s logic here: when it comes to fiction novels, most readers will make a yea or nay decision based on a quick glance at the book’s contents. And they usually start on page one. Amazon knows this, so even when you are sifting through books online, you are still treated to a preview of the first several pages.
From a project completion standpoint, as we saw yesterday, the first chapter of your book is incredibly important, but this revelation by someone who issues make-or-break decisions on a daily basis about the futures of manuscripts really says a lot for first impressions.
Starting your novel? Give #365daynovel a try, and you’ll be on your way to completing your book in only 365 days. Just be sure to pour your heart and soul into the very beginning, so that your first page will make agents like Sandra want to keep reading!