I'm over at Pen to Paper. And, despite much resistance, I've been guilted into joining Twitter. I'm one of the "Women to Watch" in the Nov/Dec issue of Orange Appeal. Link on my website. And NOWHERE TO HIDE has a release date: August 20, 1020.
Curb Appeal: As I mentioned on Monday, we'd had enough comments that our house lacked any visibility from the street, and if buyers couldn't find it or see it, they would either not come in, or come in with a negative attitude.
One of the reasons we selected the Realtor we did for our next go-round was that she appreciated our natural approach to landscaping and said she would use it as a marketing tool. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't clean up what we have to present the best possible first impression. So, yesterday morning, a crew of guys with big trucks and rakes, shovels and other implements of destruction showed up to deal with the overgrowth.
As for curb appeal, for a manuscript, it's more than a book's cover. A cover doesn't happen until well after the manuscript is sold. What the author has to do is make sure that first impression will get the agent or editor reading. As with our house, it doesn't matter how beautifully decorated the interior is if the buyer doesn't come inside. People often ask editors and agents how far they read before deciding on whether or not to accept a manuscript. The almost universal response: "Until I stop."
The author's job is to get them to pull into the driveway, walk up to the front door, and then look at every room in the house. There's no point in saying, "but the guest room is gorgeous". Likewise, you can't say, "The story gets really good in chapter five." If so, chapter five should be chapter one.
Thus, I've been looking at my prologue and opening chapter again. I've trimmed more prologue details (including more from the example I gave the other day, because it wasn't going to get a reader into the story). I've revamped the opening chapter where we meet the cop for the first time. It's gone from 491 words to 331 words.
I prefer the stakes to escalate through the book, so the opening conflicts are less critical, but they have to be there.
Because it's so long, I've posted the before and after versions, with annotations, on my other blog:
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society