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Extra Content in the Book

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I almost always read the epigraph and the dedication but I rarely read an Author’s Note, Acknowledgments, or Letter to the Reader. I also can’t recall ever reading the “extra” stuff at the end (often found in the Avon A books). What about you?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Anonymousie
    Dec 02, 2008 @ 22:03:15

    I can’t check all that apply unless I vote multiple times — I don’t know if that’s the poll setup or my browser. So I’ll just comment: I never read book discussion stuff and rarely read acknowledgments or the excerpts (though I sometimes do), but I read all the rest of the things on the list!

  2. Angie
    Dec 02, 2008 @ 22:05:05

    Well, you can’t check all that apply, so for completeness, I’ll say here that I read everything that’s some sort of discussion about the book, it’s subject matter, its characters, that sort of thing. I’ll sometimes skim through things like dedications and acknowledgements on the off chance that they mention someone I know, but I’m not interested in reading the writer’s thanks to her husband or his mother or their fifth grade English teacher or their critique group; that sort of thing is of interest only to the people named and those who know them.

    I love reading about how the writing went, how the writer chose to use this gimmick instead of that, etc. Judith Tarr puts notes at the ends of her historicals explaining where some of the more off-the-beaten-path bits came from, and how the book deviated from actual history; she’s one of my favorite historical authors because of that stuff.

    Of course, I also read prefaces, introductions, footnotes and afterwards in non-fiction books too, so I’m probably an outlier. :)


  3. Jane
    Dec 02, 2008 @ 22:10:22

    Sorry guys. I forgot to check an option that allows the “check all” feature.

  4. katiebabs
    Dec 02, 2008 @ 22:27:06

    I read the dedications now because I recognize the people they mention!

  5. MD
    Dec 02, 2008 @ 22:40:02

    I read it all. I’m intrigued by the non-fiction as well as the fiction in the books I buy.

  6. Rebecca
    Dec 02, 2008 @ 23:01:29

    I make a point to read any bibliographical, end notations or historical notes – that is, when they are offered.

    I seem to remember that Susan Johnson used to list her/their bibliography at the end of some of their books.

    Jo Beverly also has a historical note now and then, as does Lisa Kleypas.

  7. Erastes
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 04:57:34

    I read everything – that’s partly because I’m a word whore, and a completist. But also in the same way that I generally stay for the credits of a film – people put work into a film – or a book, and I read the extras to see what went into it.

    I don’t like footnotes in a historical. I was sent one recently which looked like it was pretty good and as it was written all in journal and letter formats it gave the impression of “being written in the time” – however the footnotes, most of which were “teaching grandmother to suck eggs” really pulled me out of the era and were jarring and intrusive.

  8. Ann M.
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 06:33:34

    It really depends on the book if I’ll read the author’s notes at the end of the book. Most likely if it is a historical and it has more about the time period or why the author chose that setting.

    I always take a moment to read the dedication and acknowledgments. Similar to going to movies. I make the family wait for all the credits to roll.

  9. theo
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 06:37:25

    That’s a bit hard to answer for me. It depends on the book. Sometimes I devour every little word the author has penned, I’ll even look at the publishing info! Other times, even though the book was good, I don’t bother to read anything else. Unless I have no plans to continue with the author though, I always read the ‘coming next’ book excerpt. Sometimes I don’t buy the author anymore based on that though, even though the book I just finished was good.

    Who picks the excerpt, I wonder. The author? Or the editor? Because there has been once or twice where the excerpt pretty much sucked, but the book (because I was REALLY bored and it was now on the top of my TBR) ended up being good after all.

  10. Katharina
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 06:53:02

    I most often read dedications, author notes and prefaces. I am not quite sure what an epigraph constitutes. I rarely read the “small print” authors like to put at the beginning of each chapters, i.e. quotes from Shakespeare plays, proverbs, or even full secondary stories. Are those epigraphs? Although I have been reading romances for eight years now, I can’t remember ever having read excerpts from future books from the publisher and author, and usually I am also not interested in the discussion material.

    Oh, as an aside, the preview button doesn’t work with my browser. I am using the newest Mozilla verision.

  11. (Jān)
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 07:42:49

    I don’t read gushy “Dear Reader” letters because irritate me. But I have read factual additions, like the footnotes, background discussions, acknowledgments to see whom the author consulted. But I only do this for books that interest me. I skip these in many books.

  12. Shiloh Walker
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 07:43:46

    I need an option…depends on the book. I do it on occasion, usually if I really, really enjoyed a book. Otherwise, nope.

  13. Kimber An
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 08:24:02

    I read everything IF I like the book.

  14. Louisa Edwards
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 09:22:01

    A lot of those I only look at if I loved the book; I’ll read any author’s note Suzanne Brockmann cares to write, for instance. Ditto the excerpt from the next book–only if I was so entranced that I absolutely can’t wait for the next installment.

    It’s not on the survey, but I’m very interested in whether people ever read or try recipes that are included with novels. Cozy mysteries do this more than romances, but my publisher is asking for recipes to go with my book, and I’m curious how romance readers feel about them.

  15. Anne Douglas
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 09:26:47

    I’ll read some forewards/acknowledgements – NOT the ones that are more than half a page long. Seriously, two pages or more… send the people a card saying thank you, please! Oh… and yes, I got that you’re all for the animal rescue society in the first book, how about changing it up some for the fifth one, hmm?

    I like historical notes at the end (I read in the majority historical) – like the Eloisa James book I finished this morning that detailed the state of toilets in that time period ;)

    While I like the excerpt at the back, I prefer it to be the excerpt from the authors next book, not someone elses. There is nothing worse than opening an ebook in particular and thinking it’s 200 pages when it actual fact it’s 180 because the other 20 are blurb and previews for other books. 3-4 maybe 5, I’ll give you, but once you hit 10 pages of teasers Anne gets very poosy.

    I read the dedications now because I recognize the people they mention!

    Now that I’ve become familiar with Romancelandia online I’m the same way LOL!

  16. mary b
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:01:02

    I’m a fellow word whore. I read every blessed word unless the book was a wall banger. If I care enough to finish the book, I’ll read every bit.

  17. Lorelie
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:01:17

    Since Nationals, I read the acknowledgements to see if anyone I met’s in there.

    If it’s an historical, I’ll read the Author’s note to see if there’s anything about the accuracy or a bit about the real characters/events or if she admits to fudging something.

    And I read the excerpts from future books ’cause I like sneak-peeks. :D

  18. karmelrio
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:40:16

    I’m with Jan on disliking long, gushy, or (horrors) long AND gushy author notes or thank-yous. Gushiest in my opinion are the ones which go on and on about how (hero) or (heroine) just stood up and DEMANDED their own book.

    I usually read everything in a book except the book excerpts and adver-teasers appearing after the story. Like Anne, I get a little testy, feel more than a little shortchanged, when I get to the end of a story only to find 10-20 additional pages of advertising remaining in the book. Especially if I have to pay $7.99 rather than $6.99 for the paperback. Grr.

    Louisa – no, I don’t read recipes appearing in books.

  19. Anion
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 12:39:57

    I am an Author’s Note junkie; I get pissed if historicals don’t include them, personally.

    As for the rest of it, I usually read it even if I didn’t like the book, because I read so much that every bit of extra reading I can get is good. But I’m happier to read it and read it more carefully if I like the book.

  20. che
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 12:43:31

    I checked all as I read just about everything, though I don’t always read the excerpts. I even read the publishing page, particularly the copyright date, especially for older contemporaries so I can prepare myself for technology that didn’t exist at the time of publication. I also like to note what name it is copyrighted under.

  21. Meljean
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 13:44:13

    I read an author’s note if it talks about historical issues, or how they had changed history to fit their story. I don’t read it if it discusses their writing process or their interpretation of their characters.

    One extra that was surprising and fun was — IIRC — the one in the back of Hoyt’s THE RAVEN PRINCE. It poked at the hero a little, and I enjoyed it.

    I used to read excerpts, but I don’t now — primarily because I can find them online if I’m interested in the book.

    I always read dedications and acknowledgments because I’m nosy, and I read epigraphs because I assume they are a part of the story*

    *The exception is Dean Koontz’s from his Book of the Dead Counted Sorrows thing. I just don’t get that.

  22. Sherry Thomas
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 14:48:52

    I used to read the footnotes at the back of those old Susan Johnson Bantam historicals religiously.

    I don’t read the excerpts for other authors at the back of my Judith Ivory books.

    I read most of the hellalong appendices at the back of Lord of the Rings.

  23. MoJo
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 15:15:39

    There is nothing worse than opening an ebook in particular and thinking it's 200 pages when it actual fact it's 180 because the other 20 are blurb and previews for other books. 3-4 maybe 5, I'll give you, but once you hit 10 pages of teasers Anne gets very poosy.


    The other thing that annoys me to no end (am I the only one to think of it?) is that once my ebook is downloaded onto my device, I have no blurb to go on. Please, publishers, put the back-cover summary on the first page of your ebook so I know what I want to read next. If I had an actual TBR pile, I’d flip the book over to determine what flavor of story I wanted to read that day–but can’t do that with an ebook.

  24. Marianne McA
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 17:32:52

    I’d read everything except excerpts – excerpts annoy me.
    They take up valuable book-space, and – when I did read them – caused me complete confusion in the book shop: titles are so generic that I often read the first couple of pages of a book to see if it’s familiar – and I’ve put books down, thinking I’ve read them, to realise later I had only read those pages as an excerpt.
    There was also one Susan Hill book which had a really unusual ending for a detective story, which I thought was close to perfect for that book – and then the excerpt revealed that the story arc was continued in the next book. It really jarred, because instead of closing the book on the note the author intended, the foreknowledge of the next book suggested something different.

    So I stopped reading excerpts.

    (I do read the Book Discussion stuff, but only in a spirit of Complete Bafflement.)

  25. Brenna
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 19:52:03

    I’m just interested in the story itself. I would sometimes read excerpts and notes pertaining to the story, especially historicals. But those dedications, author’s acknowledgements, even author’s photo, etc… I couldn’t care less. Just a waste of my time and book space.

  26. Angie
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 19:53:52

    I agree with Brenna that the author photo is a complete waste of space. I might be interested in more verbage about the book, its characters, its setting, etc., but I honestly don’t give a flying bleep what the author looks like. [eyeroll]


  27. Kathleen MacIver
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 22:16:55

    Again, “it depends.” If it’s an author I really love and read faithfully, then I’ll read all of it. If it’s a new author, then I usually skip dedications and so forth, but I’ll give author’s notes and letters to readers a try… but if they don’t hold my interest from the get-go, I’ll skip ahead to the beginning of the story. THEN, if I like the book, I’ll read them more carefully the second time through.

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