on Fiction University:
How important is it for readers to know what the book is about before they start reading?
Years ago, I’d started a novel on my e-reader that my husband had recommended. I’d read other books by this author and enjoyed them, and this was a different series with new characters and world. I knew the basic premise going in, but nothing more. After several chapters I found myself getting bored, but probably not for the reasons you’d expect.
Since I’d never read the cover copy, I had no idea what the novel was about.
Since I had no clue what the novel was about, I needed the first few chapters to establish that for me to keep me hooked.
And this novel didn’t do that. It focused on things that–as far as I could see–were going nowhere. I mentioned it to my husband, who gave me a quick two-sentence core conflict update. Suddenly I saw those “going nowhere” chapters in a whole new light. The tiniest bit of information made a huge difference.