When browsing in your favourite bookshop, how do you decide which book to select? Is it the cover that first attracts you? The blurb? The tag-line? Do you then turn to the front page and read the first paragraph? Or do you do as Billy Crystal’s Harry (of When Harry Met Sally) suggests and read the last line?
Author, Ford Madox Ford recommended another approach: open the book at page 99 and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you’. Page99test.com is a site dedicated to this idea. Published and unpublished authors can upload page 99 of their novels (although – scandal – there has been suggestion that there may be some cheats out there who simply want to put their best work forwards) and, there, readers can browse away to their hearts’ content, without fear of being accused of having creased the spine.
Currently in the middle of an edit, can you guess which page I’m going to focus on for the next hour?