A 3-Part Series on the Book Selling Process
Hook ‘em Hard (Part Three)
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:
- Be specific/unique to the character
- Give us a reason to care about the protagonist
- Surprise readers
- Set the tone
- Every. Word. Count.
What not to do:
- Don’t describe the weather (it’s cliché)
- Don’t start with a character waking up
- Don’t start with dialogue
- 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.
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