Get Your Reader Hooked With These 8 Tips
By Linda Craig
Readers think it’s easy for a writer to complete and publish a new book, so they are usually impatient when waiting for a new chapter of the series. Most of them don’t understand that an author faces serious obstacles and challenges before he gets to hold the print in his hands.
The hardest thing when writing a new book is to develop an emotional connection with the readers from the very beginning. You’re already attached to your characters, but it’s hard to imagine how your readers would perceive them. Don’t worry; there is someone who understands you after all. Here are 8 tips that will help you do that!
- Create a plot and characters that resonate with your audience
Your first goal is to create something that people will want to read. If this is the first time a potential reader sees your name on a book, he’ll take a quick glance over the cover, the short description on the back, and the first few pages. That’s your chance to get their attention – the main attraction hints of the plot and characters should be reflected in these points.
Some writers have a gift to strike the right note from the very beginning. This is a skill you can cultivate through listening and experimenting. Scout around online and read reviews on books that belong to your genre. The online reading community gives you a great chance to sense the wishes and preferences of your readers. You can learn what they want to experience when they read a new book. When you realize what’s interesting and important for them, you’ll be one step closer to developing a plot or characters they will get emotionally attached to.
- Write a killer title and chapter headings
With so many books in the bookstore, you have to attract people’s attention with a witty, catchy title. Descriptive titles don’t work that well. Did you know that Fitzgerald planned to set Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires or Trimalchio in West Egg as possible titles for The Great Gatsby? Those phrases are hardly attention-grabbers.
A great title requires just as much attention as the book’s content itself. It has to be unique, specific, and irresistible. It might be difficult for you to think of the perfect title for your masterpiece, so you should definitely leave some space for your editor’s suggestions. If you have close friends who can act as critics, tell them what they think about few alternatives of the book’s headline. Which one gets them hooked?
The headings of your chapters are also really important. Think about capturing the essence of each chapter into a heading that won’t let the reader take a break from the book. Once he finishes a chapter, the next heading should awaken his curiosity and urge him into reading another chapter.
- Highlight the benefits the readers will get
No one cares about the great packaging if the contents inside are rotten. The most important question on a potential reader’s mind is: What will I get from this book? Some readers only want to spend a day with a breezy book that would make them laugh, while others are seeking to understand the meaning of life when reading a masterpiece. Tailor your manuscript in accordance with the wishes of your target audience.
Then, explain what they will get by reading your book. You can share this information on your blog, or during interviews and promotions. Explain what your purpose was, but don’t let any spoilers slip through your highlights.
- Awaken the readers’ emotions
Very few readers are looking for purely intellectual content that would make them think for days. Maybe that’s the main culprit for the bad reputation of Ulysses – a true masterpiece that most people can’t read because it doesn’t inspire them to dig deep into their emotions.
Books that to shock and hurt the readers tug at their heartstrings. Tolstoy’s fans can’t forgive him for Bolkonsky’s death because he made them fall in love with this character before making them say goodbye to him.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to make people laugh, dream, or think about their purpose in this world – playing with their emotions is an inevitable hook for your book.
- Dialogues matter!
Do you know what makes Tarantino a successful author and director? He makes something out of nothing, and dialogues are his main weapon for achieving that purpose. Smart, flowing dialogues relax the readers and help them understand the point of a book without thinking too much.
Imagine how the characters of your book would talk to each other, and capture the essence of their relations in meaningful dialogues. Your readers will appreciate that.
- Tell a good story
Don’t forget the fact that the whole point of writing a book is telling a story. It needs to be relevant to the interests of contemporary readers; it should be well-researched and emotionally-appealing. However, it also needs to be your story. Take your deepest emotions and brightest ideas out and share them with the world. When the reader understands how passionate the writer is, he is already hooked!
- Pay attention to the design
The design of your book is incredibly important. Have you seen those gimmicky covers with photos of couples or nature and the title written with an “interesting” font? They don’t work! A serious reader won’t pay attention to such covers. The design of your cover should grasp the essence of the book, but it should also be powerful and visually-appealing. It would be best not to feature people on the cover; allow your readers to imagine the appearance of the characters in their own heads.
The format of the content is also important. It should be readable, error-free, and visually appealing. If you want to hook the reader to go through your novel as quickly as possible, then offer short chapters, readable sentences, great dialogues, and brief paragraphs.
- Marketing is important!
Your job is to write the book. If you get to the point of publication, you’ll have editors, publishers, and marketers to do the rest. It’s necessary to delegate the tasks of editing to professional services, like AssignmentMasters.
However, you can’t avoid getting involved in the marketing process. Matinain a blog, connect with your readers, and answer their questions. Promote your book on your social media profiles and ask the readers what they think about it. This connection will help you understand what gets them emotionally involved, so your next piece will be even greater.
The challenge of hooking your reader from the beginning to the very end is extremely difficult. Not many writers achieve that goal, so you can’t leave things to chance. The above-listed tips will help you work on the appeal of your book from different aspects.
Linda is a professional editor at AssignmentMasters writing service. She is currently working on her PhD project and writing articles for pleasure. Feel free to reach her by Twitter.