Leila Dewji

Leila DewjiHow to Nail Your First 50 Pages

Format: Video

As an author, you need to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Your opening chapters need to work the hardest, as they have to convince the reader to invest their time and money on the rest of your book. Whether they are just flicking through a few pages in a book store or have downloaded the first chapter for free on Kindle, it needs to leave them hooked and wanting more.

However, in my 10+ years of working as an editor and also a literary agent, I have found that the opening chapters are often the weakest areas of the whole manuscript. This is because authors haven’t yet found their rhythm or got into the swing of their writing. I have read too many opening chapters that felt tentative and hesitant rather than powerful and attention-grabbing. In this webinar, I’ll show you how you can make sure your opening chapters are as strong as can be.


This webinar will cover

  • the importance of starting strong, and different ways to do it with examples from authors who can grip you from the first line
  • the key functions of the best opening chapters
  • an opening chapter audit, so you can make sure your chapters are doing what they need to
  • the most common opening chapter mistakes and how to avoid them


Leila Dewji read English at Oxford before working in traditional publishing companies and a literary agency. In 2011 she left to set up a high end self-publishing company offering a manuscript-to market service to enable all authors to self-publish professionally.


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I will be giving away one Start Strong Manuscript Assessment (worth £150). This is a 6-10 page editorial report based on the first 50 pages of your manuscript. It will cover both broad-strokes issues and give specific examples of smaller problems along with solutions of how they can be fixed.

The report will include feedback and advice on the following:

  • general overview on the merits of the manuscript and who it would appeal to
  • storytelling technique
  • character development 
  • showing vs. telling
  • choreography of action
  • pace and dramatic tension
  • descriptions
  • tone and language
  • grammar, spelling, sentence structure, tense and formatting
  • textual analysis to highlight any overused words or phrases
  • conclusion and advice including actionable steps you can take to make your manuscript better straight away

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