Give Your Book a Hook

The hook of your book is a sentence or two that is meant to tease the reader to purchase your book.

“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 intriguing, pique curiosity, and make the reader want to learn more.

To build a great hook, your hook is going to answer two questions:

  1. Why Your Book--among all the books that are out there (and there are a lot), out of all the things they could be reading, of the discretionary income they could spend, why should they buy YOUR book? What makes it stand out from the rest?
  2. And then why Now--what is unique in your audience, in the landscape of books, in the buyer’s market, in this place, at this time, that makes your book attractive and interesting right now? 

Once you know your  WHY and your NOW, you are going to start to see the unique hook your book is offering a reader. 

Here’s a great example of a hook for the book Boundaries: Learn when to say yes and how to say no, to take control of your life! This hook is practical and clear. Who doesn’t want to learn how to take control of their life? 

A great angle to your hook might be to ask a question. Gary Thomas is an author we’ve worked with for a long time, and his book Sacred Marriage has sold over 1 million copies. His book hook is a question: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? It’s a compelling question that’s sure to have contributed to those strong sales numbers.

“A book hook is a sentence or two that is meant to
tease the reader to purchase your book.”

 At first, it can be hard to identify your hook. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to sit down with a friend or family member and hash it out together. Ask their opinion. Learn about what they see as the unique angle of your book. Sometimes we’re too close to our own project and we just need an outsider’s perspective. 

 It can also be helpful to take a look at some of the books you’ve read and ask the question, “What about this book’s idea/premise hooked me?” You start to see how the book was marketed to you, the consumer, using a “hook” to grab your attention. 

 Take a little time here to noodle on your book’s hook. Look at the premise you wrote and use it as a launch point (struggling with or not sure about your premise, read this “How Do I Know If My Book Idea Is Any Good?”). Any effort you put into this will return dividends. Your hook might become your subtitle. It might end up on the back cover of your book. No matter what, it’ll help bring readers to your book.

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