There are 1000+ ebooks…
…in my Kindle Cloud Reader. You know, the one you can open in your browser by going to read.amazon.com and logging in to your Amazon account. The reader has every ebook you’ve ever got from Amazon, unless you deleted it at source, which I’ve done a few times over the years.
Well, with so many ebooks there and my memory being what it is, I don’t remember all the plots. I don’t even try.
So you might be wondering…
How am I building this list of clean books?
First of all, as I scroll through the 1000+ ebooks, the cover has to appeal to me. If the author knows the market he or she is writing for, then the cover will resonate with the readers he/she is wanting to connect with. One glance at a cover will tell me whether I might be in that market. It’s enough to get me to either take a look or take a pass.
If I like what I see, then I investigate further by scanning through the book description and the reviews. (Another way, of course, is to use the search functions inside Amazon to find books I’ve never downloaded.) The more reviews, the better, as they give you a good picture.
But usually I want to know more. So I open the Look Inside feature at amazon.com and skim through the start of the book.
Just as it is with movies, the way a book starts gives you a reliable feel for how it will continue.
If, in the first few pages, I see violence or cruelty or obscene behavior or swearing or profanity or demeaning talk about women (that’s not a complete list but I think you get the idea of the turn-offs I’m looking for), then I reject the book. It’s not for me. If it’s a suspense mystery but is riddled with swear words or profanity, then it’s not clean mystery suspense. So I reject it.
If the first few pages appeal to me, there’s a tiny risk that later in the story there might be an occasional swear word, but if the book starts clean and otherwise commendable, I can tolerate those few occasions.
The cover and/or the book blurb will often indicate if there’s a raunchy scene or deviant sex or bloodthirsty violence, in order to attract readers who like that sort of thing. When I see those indicators, I move on.
A book isn’t going to start sweet and then degenerate into the gutter.
Similarly it’s not going to start with ugly stuff and then transform into a delightfully clean story.
Just doesn’t happen!
Because writers write for a particular audience and they want to hook them right from the start… which is why the opening pages of a book are a pretty reliable indicator of the tenor of the story as a whole.
Writing as Pat Wilpenter at PatWilpenter.com