Chime In: Should Authors Avoid Sites Like Page99Test.com?
Chime In is our discussion segment here at M/G/W where we discuss anything from books, to writing, and blogging. As readers, writers and bloggers, sometimes a girl just needs to vent – on or off topic, so this is our outlet to discuss whatever shenanigans are flowing through our minds. Pet peeves, book boyfriends, the never-ending awesomeness that is social media, you name it, and we’ll discuss it. With happy smiles or evil grins and give you the readers, a chance to dish it back at us in the comments. And if you’ve missed anything you can catch up on all the awesome right HERE.
· Why Page 99, Not Page 1?
Because it’s arbitrary. It’s rarely as worked on as the elements we usually judge a book by. Like the synopsis, the first few pages, or (you know it’s true) the cover.
· Why Not More Than 1 Page?
Because it’s supposed to be a snapshot. A snippet. You’ve got 1 page to capture a reader. Failed miserably? We all have! Revise your manuscript and try again.
· Some Uploads Aren’t Page 99
It’s up to the writer to play by ‘the rules’. To get the most useful reader feedback, writers should upload page 99 (rather than an overworked page). (Source)
This is a fun way for authors to reach new readers and for readers to sample a small excerpt. The reasoning behind this is rather grey in my opinion. Most casual readers can still spot sloppy writing or poorly constructed prose. However, I have found too many readers on Page99Test trying to dissect the story from a mere 250-word excerpt.
While I agree you can tell the overall tone and style of writing from a short sample, it will not determine whether a reader will grasp the story let alone understand the development of your story and characters. There is not even a rule that says the 99th page of a novel has to hook a reader, yet this is what I see in the comments time after time.
As a test, I recently put an excerpt up from Constricted in the paranormal section. Most of the down voters didn’t even take the time to leave a comment, and I know that my darker style isn’t for everyone. I was okay with that, but what irked me were the comments on my plot itself.
Constricted is duel point of view. The excerpt was in Petre’s voice. Korrigan didn’t know about his curse yet.
The comment said that by the 99th page the reader should know about his curse. Duh. You learn in chapter two about his curse, but guess who doesn’t know yet? Korrigan, which Petre reiterates while he’s back peddling and tripping over his own words. She knows he isn’t human and all of that she’d just learned a few pages before the 250 words I shared.
Page99Test isn’t a test of the story. It’s a test of the WRITING. There is a huge difference.
Readers have taken an excellent concept and completely missed the point and without proper policing or a way to remove/hide such comments, page99test.com opens the floodgates for the misinformed, people who do not understand the point of the site, and the dreaded trolls.
I love the concept behind this website, but when I read excerpts and then read comments that trash an authors plot or use of one phrase in a 250 word sample (which is a real page) than I have to raise my eyebrow. I saw one where they made up their own list of clichés and accused the author of being unoriginal.
My advice to other authors is to stay away from any site that does not give you full control over the comments or that refuses to enforce the meaning of the site. Instead invest the time in your own blogging platform, share your excerpts on Facebook, or in a newsletter.
Readers if/when you sign-up for sites like this, PLEASE read the rules and keep your commentary within their boundaries.