A 3-Part Series on the Book Selling Process

This is a three-part series on getting a reader to buy your book. Be sure to read part one and part two.

 As you’ll recall from our last blog post, the third thing that sells a reader on your book is the writing itself—your opening pages!

Assuming you mastered part one and part two, you have the reader exactly where you want them: reading your book.

But what if your opening pages don’t have a strong hook? You could risk a reader moving on, and there goes your sale and a new potential fan.

Here are some quick steps for hooking readers with your opening page.

What to do:

  1. Be specific/unique to the character
  2. Give us a reason to care about the protagonist
  3. Surprise readers
  4. Set the tone
  5. Every. Word. Count.

What not to do:

  1. Don’t describe the weather (it’s cliché)
  2. Don’t start with a character waking up
  3. Don’t start with dialogue
  4. Don’t ask general life-pondering questions

Keep in mind: There are exceptions to every rule. To be the exception, you must do something extremely well. For example, some authors have successfully used dialogue to start a scene, and it sets up the entire theme of the book.

Shonda Rhime’s book, Year of Yes is a strong example of using dialogue to her advantage.

Want some more examples?

Here’s a great opener from the well-loved Divergent by Veronica Roth.

This example from It Happened One Wedding by Julie James is FULL of voice.

For more great tips, listen to this informative Reedsy webinar I took part of with some other fantastic editors: How to Refine your Novel’s Blurb and Opening Pages to Capture Readers’ Attention.


When you sign up for the KM Editorial monthly newsletter you’ll receive a free downloadable Guide to Getting Published.