Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sharpen your hook!

Before You Publish—Sharpen Your Hook!

11 Ways to Attract Your Readers

             One of the real challenges to eBook sales is the sample of the book available to readers. This sample is the bait—it better be enticing to the reader we anglers are trying to attract.  But the bait can’t do its job without a sharp hook.
            Think about your own purchases. How many of you, when considering whether to make an eBook purchase, have read a page or two, yawned, and moved on to the next option? An avid reader, I must confess I do it regularly. Just as an author trying to publish the traditional way needs to hook his potential editor, the eWriter has an even more challenging a job—attracting each and every reader.
            From the book, Don’t Murder Your Mystery, by Chris Roerden, here are eleven excellent tips for making your sample pages so compelling, that the reader will be panting for the whole book. It’s all about the hook. Not just the first sentence or the first paragraph—the sample chapters are critical.
Characteristics of a good hook:
1.     Arouses curiosity about who, what, when and where.
2.     Introduces the main character as soon as possible and makes it clear who is in the lead.
3.     Begins with the problem, predicament, conflict, threat, or change.
4.     Plunges into the middle of the situation.
5.     Uses tone to create a mood without piling on adjective and adverbs.
6.     Stirs emotions that keep reader identifying with the central character’s feelings.
7.     Sets a tone consistent with the main character’s attitude.
8.     Avoids being clichéd, boring, or hokey—not contrived solely for shock value.
9.     Sustains curiosity well past the first chapter.
10. Keeps action going without submerging it in back-story or description. (This one, to me, is the chief villain of lost interest. Drowning an otherwise interesting story line in endless “showing, not telling” marks the amateur writer.)
11. Suggests a contradiction of some kind.
Seem like a rather formidable list? It is. But we need to weigh it against our opening chapters if we want our novels to rise above the hundreds of thousands being ePublished ever day. We need to have both the bait (good style, formatting, and error-free), and a compelling hook to make the reader want to keep reading.

Dear followers,
Thank  you for reading this blog. I'm no expert, just another writer trying to promote my book. There's room in the marketplace for all of us, and helping each other is something our blogs can do for us. Roerdan's book is an excellent tool for the beginning writer and I strongly recommend it. I've read my copy and refer back to it often.
Have a wonderful week and a fun St. Patty's Day,

Chris Roerdan's book:


  1. Yes, This is a very good list of items to always keep in mind when you're writing fiction. "Telling", works sometimes in moderation, but "Showing",
    is best 80% of the time.
    Writer Dave

    1. Thanks for reading, Dave.
      The thing to take with you is that AZ gives readers a certain percentage of your book to read (sample Pages). Depending on the length of your book, it could be 1-5 chapters. They have to grab the reader!

  2. According to your opinion, how many pages a thriller must be?

    1. Good question. I'm no expert, but do read them and they tend to run longer than mystery or suspense. My best guess would be they'd average around 450 pages. If you're writing an eBook, anything goes. And I've certainly read some that are shorter than 450. I don't really think it matters to the reader--better to be shorter, than long and filled with extraneous trivia,backstory, or endless detail.
      Thanks for reading,

  3. Marla thanks, just thanks for reminding me these 11 things.
    Happy St Patty's Day tomorrow

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks for reading, Caroline. Those darn sample pages on AZ make the first few chapters vital!
      Happy St. Patty's to you! Hoist a green beer or better yet, a lime margarita.

  5. Thanks for reading, Conda. Happy writing,


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