About three months ago I submitted Vokhtah to a review site, a good review site, and every day since then I’ve read the daily review that lands in my inbox. Sadly, I have yet to see a review of Vokhtah.
After reading one of the reviewer’s criteria for selecting a submission to read, I’m beginning to think I never will. You see, there are about 1500 titles to choose from. In a word, there is a slush pile. Once submitted, a book remains on the slush pile for one year. If none of the volunteer reviewers select it, that book will eventually ‘time-out’.
Now I know Vokhtah has no mechanical errors – spelling, punctuation, grammar etc – which would automatically turn reviewers off, but it does have a prologue, and these days prologues are… frowned upon. And I can understand why. Who wants to wade through paragraph after paragraph of general narrative before they even meet the first real character?
Well, the truth is I’m one of those readers who does find prologues interesting, but I’m in a minority these days. With the advent of cheap ebooks, readers have an awful lot of choice, and consciously or unconsciously, they want to jump straight into the story. To see if it will be the kind of story they like. Making them wade through reams of explanatory stuff first is not going to endear them to the story.
I knew all that, sort of, but I chose to put a prologue in there anyway because Vokhtah is so different, so alien. It needs some scene setting. Unfortunately, by making Vokhtah so different, I have backed myself into a corner. Without the prologue, the basics of Vokhtah are hard to understand, thereby putting readers off. With the prologue, the beginning of the story is not quite such a shock to the system, but the prologue itself is likely to put readers off.
So what do I do? Dump the prologue and throw readers in at the deep end? Or keep the prologue and continue to see Vokhtah ignored?
I wish the Amazon ‘look inside’ feature would let me choose an exciting scene from deeper in the book. But of course it doesn’t, and I’m back to the only two choices I have – prologue or no prologue.
I know a lot of you have read Vokhtah already [thank you!], but can you remember back to how you felt in the beginning? Did you find the prologue annoying? Did you skip it altogether? Should I skip it as well?
Any and all comments/suggestions gratefully received.