"He's just one of many...."
In this case, the emotion behind this statement caught my attention as much as the words themselves. I have no idea what was being discussed (although, given that it looked like two moms I can take a guess.) But for me it struck a cord immediately. It's not far from how I feel right now about my book, Betting Jessica.
With its release on Kindle it is difficult not to keep track of the numbers, the ranking, the reviews... not to mention the comments from friends and family. Still, the fact is, it is one of many books on Kindle that are probably very worth reading. This is both daunting and exciting.
Daunting because, when I worry about the numbers I get lost in how to be heard above the competing noise. But on the other hand, ever since I decided to put the book on Kindle I have thought alot about my readers and what they will think of Betting Jessica. This has made me consider my own reading habits and I realized, that there is room for every good book ever written.
And this is the part I think is exciting. I can't get enough of well told stories. (Seriously... I mean, why else would I read every single book that is by, about or related to Jane Austen.) The hard part, though, finding those books that are in the genre I love; something that is very specific and not always easy to define.
This is probably why I love Amazon so much. Sure, I like seeing Goodreads or Fcebook recommendations from friends; but what I really love is when I get a recommendation from Amazon. Since they know what I read, the books Amazon recommends for me are usually pretty close to my preferred style.
So, while Betting Jessica may be one of many great contemporary women's romance books available in Kindle, I know if I help Amazon target the right reader they will want to dive into it.... even if they already just read twenty great books. The big challenge is targetting the right reader.... which takes me back to the dauting aspect of being one of many.
So, if you've read Betting Jessica I'd love to hear your comments (see below) about the tags you would use for describing the story. What resonated most with you? The fact that Jessica is having career trouble? Her bet? Her quest? Her friends? Or maybe the general humor in the book. I'll take anything you can give me.... After all, I sincerely believe that while each of us may be one of many, we also each have a unique and important point of view.... just like every
"I'd say... you'd better get a lawyer, fast."
What a great first line.
It certainly caught my attention and made me wonder what the guy (talking on his headset, of course) was referring to. Since I couldn't hear the other end of the conversation I will just have to use my imagination to fill it in.
The reason it makes such a great first line is that something big has obviously happened. A divorce, of course, comes ot mind... although it could just as easily be a marriage or death. It could be something corporate, like wrongful termination; or it could be simply a bad traffic ticket.
One way or another, though, it makes us wonder and that is the main function of a great first line. Keep the reader reading to find out more. Everyone has a favorite first line of a book... and when we hear them they seem so obvious we think they must be easy to create. But, as any writer will agree, they are the most difficult part of the book.
E.B. White's first line of Charlotte's Web - "Where's Papa going with that axe?" said Fern to her mother as they were
setting the table for breakfast. - Apparently was added way at the end of his writing. Prior to that, the beginning was supposedly a much more innocuous description of Fern coming down for breakfast. (see http://www.npr.org/2011/08/19/139790016/weaving-charlottes-web and http://www.bravewriter.com/languagearts/arrow_Charlotte'sWebSample.pdf for more details on Charlotte's Web and that amazing first line)
As a writer I have to wonder... how can I do a better job creating my first lines? Obviously they have to relate to the story (and thus the reason it seems obvious to write them after I am finished with my work); but there is more to it than that. Many experts in literature discuss not just the content of the first line, but even the sounds of the letters in the selected words... the punctuation.... the rhythm. It torments me with the idea that my writing could always get better than its' last form. So do I never publish or do I never try? It is a balancing act that I continue to work on and I imagine always will.
Perhaps the main benchmark for my first lines, however, should be that when my husband reads them he doesn't say...
"You'd better get a lawyer fast!"
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Link here to Betting Jessica on Amazon.com