Hooking Your Reader

“Grab them by the heart and pull them towards you” – Synova

Back in the days before Amazon became a publishing house, there were these shadowy figures in our society called gatekeepers. These unnamed individuals were in charge of sorting through thousands of manuscripts submitted by hopeful writers. Each publishing house had these employees, and on their desks were piles of documents known as the slush pile. How could an inspiring writer possibly stand out from the crowd?

The gatekeeper would read the title of the manuscript and then read the first paragraph. If nothing enticed him, the manuscript would be thrown in the trash. I know it sounds cruel, but that’s the way it worked back then. Although Indie publishing has done away with the gatekeepers, it also has flooded the market with books.

Now an author must hook the reader directly. You do that with a beautiful book cover, a compelling title, and an intriguing back cover summary. Visualize this.

You’re at a book signing table in a busy bookstore. What will draw a reader to you? A nice table display, and then what? Your book cover is the next thing that draws the eye. After the cover, they read the title, the back cover summary, and finally, the first paragraph. The reader has just completed the very same cycle as the gatekeeper.

How do you make sure the reader buys your book? While the answer to that varies with in-person sales and online sales, there are some basic principles to ensure your success.

First, you must have a beautiful cover. Beyond that, you must hook the reader. Start this process with an intriguing title and follow it up with a compelling back cover summary and an incredible first paragraph.

How?

First, you must remember that the reader does not buy a book. I know that sounds strange. But, you must realize that a reader buys the emotional connection to the book. Jim Brown makes it very clear in one of his many speeches. You do not get paid for the time. You do not get paid for products, aka books. You get paid for bringing value to the marketplace.

This concept also applies to You’re writing business. You do not get paid for books, e-books, podcasts, etc. You get paid for bringing value to your readers. The reader will buy your book when they perceive it has value to them personally. That value may be entertainment education or inspiration.

So how does all of this help you sell more books? Think about it this way. When you are writing the back cover summary of your book, you want it to be enticing you want it to bring value. You also want it to compel the reader to buy the book.

When writing nonfiction, I like to include a startling statistic or a startling quote to the very beginning of my back cover summary. For fiction, you want to entice the reader with a bit of action and a bit of conflict.

Keep this in mind when writing your manuscript. You do not have to start at the beginning. You need to start at the point of chaos. When you start with a little bit of drama it entices the reader to keep going a lot of books will begin with a little bit of drama then they will cut it off with a cliffhanger, and then they will start at the beginning of the book then they will build back up to that crescendo of chaos.

I always start my fiction books with a little bit of action. This process compels the reader to continue reading.

When trying to entice a reader to pick up your book and to pay for your book, you want to really understand your target audience. What is your perfect reader looking for in your genre? What are some trending topics? The better you know your reader, the better you will be able to provide the value that they are seeking.

Now that you know what your reader wants to serve it to them on a silver platter of emotion. Readers buy an emotional connection. So literally use your words to reach into their chest and pull their heart towards you. That kind of hook will not only give you a book sale. It will give you a reader for life, and it will build a connection with that person, and you will have a true fan for the lifetime of your writing career.


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