What would make you stop reading when reviewing sample pages?
Jordy Albert of The Booker Albert Agency
One of the main things that would cause me to stop reading the sample pages would be if I noticed too much telling/info-dumping, or too much backstory.
Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency
Voice is the first thing I look for when I’m reading sample pages. I want the words to jump off the page, to feel immediate, specific to this character, and different from what I read elsewhere. It’s equally important to connect with the character, so I’ll also be looking for what the character wants – even if that initial want doesn’t prove to be significant as the story develops, what a character wants tells me something about them and gives me that connection. Often, I see opening pages that jump into action, before establishing character. Without that, it’s hard to be very invested in action and pages can feel like a bunch of stage directions. Of course, you don’t want to bog the opening down with too much exposition or description either. The key is to strike a balance so that you give the reader enough background to care, and enough action to feel like they must know what’s going to happen next!
Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis, Inc.
A number of things could make me stop reading sample pages: an overabundance of spelling and grammar mistakes, a voice that doesn’t grab me or a premise that feels too familiar to name a few. The biggest one is definitely voice for me. If the project doesn’t have a compelling one, it’s a hard thing to fix.
Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency
Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
This might sound harsh, but I stop reading when I'm not hooked. Which means: I read the first line. If I'm interested, I read the second line. If I'm still interested, I read the third line, and so on. I keep going until I hit the end or until I don't feel compelled to keep going. This means that sometimes could stop at page 1, page 2, page 5, page 28, or even page 135. I recently signed a YA project. I started reading it, and I did not get out of my chair, I barely even moved positions, until I finished reading. I was completely sucked in. If I'm bored or if I take the time to go get lunch or walk around the office or check my email, I'm ultimately not hooked enough to keep reading.