“Don’t judge the book by its cover. Read a chapter instead.”

So goes the tagline for the website of 1ChapterFree.com. It’s a pretty cool idea. The basic premise is that you might search around your local bookstore, find a book you like the look of, read the blurb, look at the cover and maybe turn a few pages. But not many people are that comfortable standing in a bookshop having a good proper read to see if they like something.

It’s understandable to some degree, and should you buy a book, you don’t necessarily want one that’s been heavily thumbed by an army of curious readers. But readers really should be able to read more of a book before they buy it. Movie trailers are prime examples of how a crappy movie can be made to look good. But if you actually sat and watched the first ten minutes you might have a much better idea of what the film is actually like.

I’ve always subscribed to that idea myself and the first three chapters of both my novels are available in full right here for people to download as a PDF file and have a read to see if they like it (just click on the book covers on the right). If they do like what they read, it’s easy to go onto Amazon and buy the book.

This same premise is at work with 1FreeChapter.com, but obviously for only one chapter rather than three. I like the site and I like their ideas. You can search there by keywords, by title, by author or by genre. The genres are a little few and far between – there’s fantasy and sci fi, for example, but not horror – but the basic setup is excellent.

Here’s the page I set up for myself and my books over there – have a look, then hit the Home button and see what else you discover. Any other writers out there, if you have a book that you’re trying to promote it’s easy to sign up and post your first chapters, so give it a stab.