The dream of every writer is to deliver engaging content. But sometimes, we commit mistakes that make us lose readers in the first few pages. If you want to publish content that can entice readers to keep scrolling, then stay away from the common sins that writers commit.
We are living in a fast-paced world. As a writer, you have to deliver what the reader expects within the first few pages. Otherwise, it is difficult to convince someone to keep reading if their hopes are cut short. Impatience is the norm, as most readers are just skimmers. They will stop reading before they finish the first ten pages, let alone the whole chapter.
When people encounter your written piece, they expect to get what they are looking for or what you promised to deliver in your topic or synopsis. For instance, if players are looking for the best gaming website, they will look for reviews. If a player clicks on the fruit mania reviews and does not find any information on bonuses, games, slots, payment methods, and so on, they will quickly leave the page. Read further and find other factors that can make you lose a reader in the first pages.
1. Failure to Deliver as Promised
When your story does not perform as indicated in your title, cover, or synopsis, it instantly puts off the readers. What are you supposed to do when you buy a box of pizza only to open it, and corn flakes come out? This is how readers feel precisely when your package promises a thriller but appears to be a romantic piece.
Unnecessary go-arounds will not serve you any good. It will only make people presume that you don’t understand what you are doing. It is crucial to ensure that your first few pages match the anticipations you set up in your title or synopsis. Otherwise, readers will lose interest immediately they start reading.
2. Writing Complex Content
Let’s face it. No one wants to read something they cannot even comprehend. When you start, you need to convey your message in simple and easy terms. There is always a place and a time for deep content, but not in the first few pages. An average reader looking for an idea, concept, or an answer wants to find it almost immediately.
Sometimes, simplicity is the best rule. Because when writing, you are not competing with anyone on who is the most formidable writer or who can write more content. Writing long and complicated content gives room for fluff and filler texts.
If you don’t want to lose readers in the first few pages, make your content easy to skim. If possible, use subheadings to clarify your points or add numbers, lists, or bold texts for readers to get what you are trying to say quickly. Even if you are writing something technical, use simple language that any person can understand.
We understand that some industries, like the medical or gambling fields, have some technical language that those outside the area can have a hard time comprehending. For instance, if you are writing something about casino tricks that players can use to grow their payouts, you don’t have to use the gambling verbiage known only by veterans. Simple language is vital in keeping an average reader engaged.
3. Not Writing for the Reader
As a writer, it is crucial to understand who you are writing for and focus your content only on them. You are not writing for some sort of machines, but you are writing for people. It would be best to understand your target audience and the information they are looking for.
According to the Harvard Business Review, keeping the reader in mind during the writing process is crucial in guiding your choice of words. Readers want to engage with your story at a more intimate level. This means that whatever you choose to put down in words should connect with what is going on in their heads. What appears in the first few pages should speak to the reader’s state of mind, arouse their awareness, and encourage them to dig further.
If you fail to write for your readers, they will have no reason to read. When readers get to the first page, what they encounter should entice them to move to the following pages. But if your first pages fail to plea to the readers, they will be disinterested, leave the pages, and look for something else to read that appeals to them.
4. Starting Slow
When you start too slow, it will take you long to deliver your idea, and readers will give up reading. Readers no longer have the patience. All they want is for you to provide what you guaranteed very fast. Most readers want the writer to jump into action immediately they open the story.
A slow buildup makes the beginning so boring that any reader will stop and leave the page. The first few pages are supposed to grab the reader’s attention, but if it meanders for so long before the narrative picks up, you will lose the readers. A negative first impression can kill readers’ morale, and nothing will convince them to read any further.
If you do not want to lose the readers, one rule to observe when writing is to start fast. Starting fast helps the narrative pick up quickly, which will keep the readers engaged. Readers are captivated when they swing into action right from the beginning. But if you want to lose them, then start your story slowly.
Writing does not start and end with combining words and publishing content. It is more about keeping the readers interested in your piece of work. But some blunders can make you lose readers just when they have started reading.
Given the mistakes we have discussed, what are you doing that is making you lose readers in the first ten pages? Let us know in the comments.
Thomas Glare is a book publishing and marketing specialist at “Mr Bet”, a company based in Yorkshire, UK, that aims to help more authors turn their manuscripts into high-quality books and provides customized marketing and distribution support to help authors become contenders in today’s very competitive market.