First impressions are powerful! With a single glance at someone, we take a snapshot of their entire appearance, analyze their body language, and instantly form opinions about them. Making snap judgments based on first impressions is an ingrained part of human nature, and we will fiercely cling to our conclusions. Writers need to utilize this power! People are avalanched with hundreds of books. How can you get potential readers to buy your book?
If you’ve snagged a potential reader by a riveting cover, they will read the description of the story next. It’s critical to hook readers by this summary. Their first impression of the book content will either grab them solidly, or they’ll just move on. Use an excellent editor to help you write this description succinctly and powerfully.
Example: Which book would you want to read?
1) A man who is a cop and a woman who is an artist are thrown together by unforeseen and terrible circumstances. There is danger that threatens them and everyone around the world like tsunamis ready to drown them. Will they survive? Will they save the world? Will they fall in love after all they’ve been through together?
2) One horror-filled incident eclipses all the success that FBI Special Agent Jim Granite has amassed in his career. No one knows that the confident, steely man who has made a national name for himself is driven by sweat-soaked nights and secret torment he can never escape. One miscalculation permanently wrecked his life. But it will never happen again. Never. And no one will ever find out about it.
Tarina Vee savors her lavish life after a decade of agonizing work and extreme sacrifices to reach the pinnacle of success. She is sought after by high-paying clients to create elaborate and mysterious sculptures. She is regularly featured in magazines and on reality TV shows, flying all over the world in posh celebrity style. Talkative and animated, Tarina loves to speak about her work with passion, but she never reveals the meaning behind her enthralling pieces. That secret goes with her to the grave.
Boarding her private plane for a luxury flight to meet with a billionaire investor in New York, Tarina is tackled by a hijacker. He’s already killed her private pilot and flight attendant, but he says he’ll spare her for ransom money. Bound and drugged, she overhears him speaking cryptically to someone about pulling the trigger to demolish several key cities around the world. Something major is going down, but there is nothing she can do.
When a private plane ignores all warnings and crash lands in the middle of JFK airport, law enforcement swarms the area. A fully-shrouded man exits using famed artist Tarina Vee as a human shield and shouts preposterous demands to them. Before the NYPD Crisis Negotiations Team arrives, he shoots Tarina in one hand and threatens to shoot every joint and limb until his demands are met. Agent Granite gets permission to stop the madman, just as reports flood in of atrocities exploding across the globe. This is much more than a kidnapping for high ransom money. He’s got to neutralize this man immediately, save Tarina, and stop the destruction. Or get as far as he can before being killed.
You get the idea. In your book description, create vivid characters and scenes and plant intriguing problems and questions in the reader’s mind. Pull them in to experience it like a gripping movie preview that ends in a teaser so they have to read the book. Never write “Will he succeed in saving the girl and stopping the crime to save countless lives?” (yes, of course) or other silly, obvious questions. End with uncertainty to force readers to buy your book to find out what happens and how it happens. Don’t allow them to figure out the plot by your description—make them buy the book!
There is too much competition today with thousands of books for readers to choose from, so yours needs to stand out. By creating a compelling first impression, you have a good chance of making a sale—and with an excellent story and powerful writing, it can lead to raving reviews, personal recommendations, and increased sales. Success!
Lora thoroughly enjoys editing fiction and nonfiction books for Christian authors. She views editing as a ministry first, partnering with authors to make their writing polished and successful. She also writes a blog of “Savvy Writer Tips” to help writers spot and fix common problems. Read them on her website: EditsbyLora.com or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SavvyWriterTips. Lora enjoys reading, editing, being outdoors, spending time with family and friends, music, art, quality chocolate, and soft kitties.