The First Chapter that Killed a Book

A Great First Chapter, but It Scares People!

One of the first things I was told, when learning to write, was that you have to get the readers (editors) attention. 

A new country in the heart of Los Angeles...are you ready to pick up  a gun and fight?

A new country in the heart of Los Angeles.

Slap ’em in the face. Make ’em blink. Make ’em sit up and take notice.

Good advice, really, except that I overdid it.

Monkeyland is a book about racism. It’s timely, provocative, and a hell of a fine and exciting read.

EXCEPT, the first chapter is a slap in the face. The first chapter sets the stage, it has terrorists, racist terrorists,taking a school hostage.

Here’s what one reader said: ‘After the first chapter I wasn’t sure if the book was for me but thought I’d give it a chance. After the second, I read it all the way through the same day. It’s a page turner. Beware, you won’t get much else done the rest of the day so read it when you have spare time.’

But he had a rough time with that first chapter.

He didn’t say it was bad, because it isn’t. But it is not for the faint of heart. 

And, FYI, his is one of two 5 star ratings. Nobody else reads the book because, when they glance at the write up, when they peruse the ‘insides,’ they think I’m a racist.

But the second chapter lays that to waste.

The second chapter is where we start to turn around, find a basic humanity, see what the black race is capable of. This is where we start to find that racism is ignorance, and that humanity is capable of great things.

I’ve had black people read it and say, ‘Gawd!’ And they loved it.

Wish they would have said that in writing in reviews.

Anyway, be careful when you write a good book. Slap them in the face, but don’t scare the crap out of them.

Have a great day!

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