Why is my book’s hook so important?
“What’s your book’s hook?” is a crucial question that you are going to need to answer if you hope to entice readers. Your book’s hook makes readers pick it up and check it out. It’s what will set you apart from your competition. So how do you craft a successful hook that does that? Let’s explore sharpening that hook so you can help bring readers to your content faster.
“What’s the hook of the book?”
This is one of the most important questions your book has to answer. You cannot presume that a reader is going to pick up and buy your book just because you tell them to. If you ask your reader a compelling question, you captivate them, and they will sit up and take notice.
You might have heard this term before, but essentially a book hook is a sentence or two that is meant to tease the reader to purchase your book. The hook is the backbone of a good book idea.
Your book hook should be...
Do you have an outline?
If you were going hiking and you asked us, “What’s the one thing I have to have that most people forget?” We would say, “Water.” Of course! You have to have water. But have you ever left on a journey, maybe a vacation or even a hike, and forgot to pack something essential? Maybe it was water. You wouldn’t be the first person to leave a water bottle in the car.
Often on the writing journey, writers leave something essential behind too: an outline.
An outline is an essential part of your writing journey, like water is an essential part of any hike.
You might be surprised that a lot of writers when asked if they have an outline, respond that they don’t. “I know where I’m going,” or the classic response, “I have an idea.”
An idea of where you want to go with your book is great. That’s a start. An outline is like a map of your book. It’ll help you get where you want to...
At Yates & Yates, we advise our clients to be the kinds of authors that people working on their book will stay after 5:00 p.m. to work on it. We want you to be a "nights & weekends" author. It’s not because we are some kind of publishing Scrooge. It’s because people will put in extra time and effort on the projects they like versus the ones they don’t. Maybe better put, they’ll go the extra mile for authors they really like.
No one in publishing stays late to work on projects they hate. Why? Because the ones you hate get the minimum, nothing extra.
So how do you become one of those authors?
It starts with publishing etiquette.
When we say “etiquette,” you probably think of your mom scolding you for having your elbows on the table or reminding you to say “please” before she will pass you the peas. You might not have known it then, but your mom knew something about...
Procrastination doesn’t look like Procrastination. It’s super sneaky.
Let us give you an example. Sometimes procrastination looks like research: “Once I do a little more research, I’ll be ready to write my book.” Or it looks like conducting an interview: “I can write that next chapter once I schedule an interview with her.” It’s easy for these things to come between you and your writing. You think you need to do a "thing" before you can do the writing.
The thing is, the writing is the thing.
You have to make time to write AND do research, conduct interviews, etc. What separates pros from amateurs is their ability to recognize the difference. Schedule time for the writing and then schedule a separate time for the other things. That’s how you keep procrastination from getting between you and your writing.
If you’re waiting on the right time to write your book, you are wasting...
“Urgent!!! Act now.” “2 days left to save.” “LAST CHANCE!”
We’re suckers for those subject lines, aren’t we?
One of the strongest tools in marketing is urgency. You see these tactics all the time. Here are the four most common ones: Time (limited time, last time, now, today only, deadline, seconds, minutes), Speed (now, act now, don't delay, hurry, rush, instant), Scarcity (once in a lifetime, one day only, never again, last chance), and FOMO (price going up, offer expires, now or never, final sale).
Like us, you’ve probably made a purchase based on one of those factors, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Understanding how marketing works is a super useful tool when writing your book. We commonly tell our clients to “bake in” the marketing hooks. That means viewing your manuscript through the eyes of a marketer.
(Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a...
So you’ve finished a draft of your…novel, business book, etc. Now what? There’s a strong tendency to want to go back and begin revising and working on it all over again. It’s natural to feel that pull.
Let’s look at some options that will help you come back to your draft inspired and ready for your next steps.
1. You’re going to be kind to yourself. There’s a strong temptation to look back after finishing a draft and think it’s crap. You’re not going to be mean to yourself. Everyone makes bad art. This is a part of the process.
2. You’re going to remind yourself that you’re showing up for writing and art. Be proud of that. Completing a draft, even an unpolished first draft, is a step most writers never get to, believe it or not. It’s hard to finish. Be proud of your efforts to get this draft completed. If you want to take it a step further: celebrate. Maybe it’s ice cream or a...
John Maxwell understands the power of story. He’s used it to sell over 35 million copies of his books. PowerPoint and statistics will only get you so far. If you want to be memorable, you need stories. They are the secret sauce of John’s writing.
During a recent Minute with Maxwell, John unpacked how important storytelling is. “I made my career in telling stories,” John explains. On a recent trip to Jonesborough, the oldest city in Tennessee and dubbed the “Storytelling Capital of the World,” John attended the National Story Festival, which they have once a year.
“The greatest way to express yourself is through story.”
- John Maxwell
What is a magnet of storytelling?
“The greatest way to express yourself is through story,” John said. “I thought principles without stories. It was a great mistake.”
New York Times Bestselling author Adam Grant recently said, “Instead of telling kids they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, should we teach them to judge negative and positive examples differently? Don’t doom a book by a bad cover—but give a book with a great cover a chance.” Adam makes a good point, as he often does.
The thing about covers is: No one intentionally makes a bad cover. No one wants to “doom” their book, but so many often do. In today’s email, let’s find a way to follow Adam’s advice by giving your book a better chance with a great cover.
Here are three tips (plus one bonus tip) for creating a great book cover:
Does the size of your book (page count) matter?
Historically, publishers have determined the price of the book primarily based on the page count. Many of the hard costs incurred in publishing a book – raw materials, shipping, printing, binding, etc. – were directly proportional to the size of the book. Basically, the bigger the book, the more it costs to produce. And relatedly, the bigger the book (i.e., the higher the page count), the more value consumers will perceive.
A basic example of this is: a publisher believes that a consumer will pay $25.99 for a hardcover book that is over 220 pages. The size of the book plays a factor in the consumer's end decision. If the book was 90 pages, there would be a huge hesitation to charge $25.99. That’s what the publishers believe.
When a traditional publisher contracts with you to write a book, there will be a stipulation in the contract on the word count, not the page count. Most nonfiction trade...
John Eldredge has sold over 14 million books. He’s achieved success way beyond what most writers ever dream of. Over the past 24 years, the Yates & Yates team has had the pleasure of working alongside John on his books and publishing. Recently, John shared some advice with our team. He focuses on two things when writing a book. Today we want to share those tips with you.
Tip #1 Set a writing schedule
In order to get the writing done, you’ve got to have a schedule. Life will provide plenty of obstacles that will get between you and doing the writing. A schedule can help shield you against those times when things come up. If you don’t make writing a priority, other things will fill your schedule.
A schedule also establishes a rhythm for your writing routine. You know when it’s time to work on your book. If you leave yourself vulnerable to the whims of inspiration, you’re setting an unreliable writing schedule. Don’t do that. It probably...