It's hard to believe that today is November 1. I have been at this task of author marketing for three months and almost two seasons. As a first-time author what have I learned from my readers? So much.
Probably the most interesting and valuable lesson, though, centers around a comment I consistently hear. Again in a Heartbeat, my readers say, is a "fast read." While the book is only 168 pages, the psychological aspect of short chapters cannot be underestimated.
I remember hearing Dan Brown talk about his preference for short chapters. Brown felt that if a chapter ended on a note of interest or intrigue, it kept readers turning the page. But the point was to keep it short.
When I started the final draft of my book, I kept chapters under five pages. I felt this kept the story moving. Reader feedback has confirmed what I sensed. The "fast read" comment has been the highest compliment. They started my book AND finished it.
Points to consider:
- Books with short chapters are ideal for reading in short breaks.
- Short, punchy chapters keep readers turning the page.
- Short chapters help the writer set up stories within the larger narrative.
- Chapters longer than 5 pages can leave the reader wading through a sea of text.
- Short chapters help the writer develop a unique style.
In this world of 24/7 news cycles, many people are also gravitating toward shorter books. As one of my readers told me, "I have a mound of books this high that I want to read but haven't gotten to." And - yet - she read my memoir. Maybe it was the smaller book that drew her attention. I can get through this, she thought.
This is not to put down longer books. One of my favorites is Gone With the Wind. Of course, I read that when I was 13 years old, in the days before computers and cable television's 800 channels. Now I am hesitant to pick up a big book. There is so much I want to read . . . only so many hours to commit to one story. Only so much time.