Give Your Book a Hook

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...

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Publishing Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 11

 

 

 

The Big 5 is still 5. 


Pan-caked! 


Just before leaving for her new appointment to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Florence Pan issued her ruling on our Trial of the Century – at least until another Big 5 publisher tries the same stunt.  


Determining that the proposed acquisition by Big #1 Penguin Random House of Big #3 Simon & Schuster would “substantially lessen competition in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books,” Judge Pan officially blocked the merger.  PRH has threatened to appeal, but some sources aren’t so sure that S&S parent Paramount will be willing to wait around.


In an interesting deal point, the original agreement between the publishing rivals included a $200 million expiration fee if the deal wasn’t consummated within 2 years of the November 24, 2020, agreement date. With S&S still raking in record sales and even higher profits (see...

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The Promise Your Book is Making

What’s the biggest thing your book is missing?


Have you ever read a book and when you described it you said, “It didn’t deliver?” That thing it didn’t deliver, that piece that was missing, is the promise. Every book makes its reader a promise. If you don’t deliver on that promise, it’s doomed. That’s why it is so important to define your book’s promise. Let’s unpack how to create a promise so this doesn’t happen to your book. 


The Promise Your Book Is Making


The book’s promise is what fulfills your commitment to the reader. 


When we are talking about a book’s promise, here’s what we mean: let’s say you were sitting with one of your readers telling them what your book was about (the premise). And then you say, “I promise that after you finish reading my book you will …”


One of the most critical mistakes a book can make is breaking its promise to the...

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How Do I Know If My Book Idea Is Any Good?

What’s the best way for me to figure out if my book idea is any good?


There’s this great cartoon of a doctor holding up an x-ray to a patient and saying, “It looks like you’ve got a book in you.” In the x-ray, there’s a book lodged in the patient’s ribs. 


If you’re reading this, you probably feel a lot like the patient, metaphorically, of course. Instead of wondering if your book idea is any good, let us help you figure that out.


Great book ideas start with the premise!!!


The very first step you should take when trying to figure out which book you should pursue first is to sit down and write out a premise of your book idea. The premise of your book is basically its thesis statement.


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“What are the important factors I should consider 

when I am developing my book idea?”

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But what if you have two book ideas and can’t decide which to write about first? The premise is a great...

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Publishing Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 10

We all love the fall.  Crisp temperatures, colorful trees, and—best of all—football.  But this year, it’s more than just the leaves that are falling.


3rd Quarter Results Head South for the Winter


The early results are in (who’s ready for election season?!), and the good people at NPD BookScan are telling us the results are not good. Through the first nine months of 2022, book sales have slid 4.8% below the same period in 2021. Adult fiction readers answered the bell, driving sales up an industry-best 9.2% for the year thus far. But in the all-important category of adult non-fiction, the bestselling book this year is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear—which came out 4 years ago! (I hear it’s pretty good).


At HarperCollins, the fall has ushered in a falling headcount.  In what might be the direst harbinger in this month’s Market Update, the Big 5 publisher (or is it 4 now?) announced an “elimination of a small...

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What to Talk About When You Talk About Platform

Every writer wants to know how to build a stronger platform. We get constantly asked, How much is enough? What number should I shoot for? 


When asked how much money is enough, John D. Rockefeller famously said, “Just a little bit more.” The same goes for platform numbers. More is always better. Even if you have a large platform, it could be a bit bigger, right? Most writers are in platform infancy. So what do you do when you’re pulling together your proposal and you want to talk about your platform that you wish was, “Just a little bit more?”


Here are three ways to talk about your platform when you don’t have one: 

  • Talk about the good. What’s the strongest part of your platform? That’s where you want to emphasize the good. That’s a great place to focus on and explain why it will help sell your book. Good beats great when it comes to feeling like your platform has to be perfect. There is no perfect. As Seth Godin...
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Further Inspiration - Don't Miss Out!

Writing is hard. There’s no way around it. As the old saying goes, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” What often makes writing worth doing is that challenge. It’s putting pen to paper in order to make sense of our thoughts and share them with others. That type of work takes inspiration. 


Did you know we provide further inspiration on Instagram? If you’re not following Author Coaching on Instagram, you are missing out on our Tip of the Week posts:

 Need a jolt of inspiration when scrolling? We also provide quotes to keep you going.

 

If you’re not following us on Instagram, you are missing out! Like an aid station in a marathon, we’ve got what you need to keep going in the pursuit of your publishing dreams. Follow us today!


TAKE ACTION:  Be the First to Know


It’s almost open enrollment for Author Coaching University – are you on our waitlist? We want you to be the...

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Need Thicker Skin? Here's How

In a recent inspirational post on Instagram (Follow us @author_coaching), a writer asked us, “I feel like I need thicker skin but also don’t want a hardened heart in the process. Any wisdom on how to do that?" 


That’s a great question. 


No one wants to become some Grinch-like writer living alone with a dog on top of Mt. Crumpet, envious of all the writers out there doing what you wish you were doing. If you’re an introvert that loves dogs, there might be something in that life for you, but for the rest of us - it’s tough to have thick skin. 


If you want to cultivate a thicker skin, the first step is to own the things you can control. You can’t control what that agent is going to say, right? Here’s what you can control: Putting together a well-researched query letter. You’ve done everything you can to give your manuscript the best opportunity possible: you know the agent’s genre of expertise,...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 9

Cue the marching band….


First Half Reports


With the publishing industry’s first half of 2022 in the books (see what I did there?), we all feel pretty good about the unnoteworthy results: flat.  If you’ve been with the Update for the last year or two, you know that the industry has been rocking and rolling (intentionally mixing metaphors because it’s fun).


Through June 30, 2022, trade book sales were hanging in there with the same period for 2021. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) reported survey results with sales off only 1.6% for the first six months of the year.  Adult sales fell 2.6%, but children and YA sales picked up much of the slack, coming in at 4.3% over 2021.  


Corporate earnings reports for Q2 are here, with publishing hot-shot—and the focus of so much courtroom drama of late—Simon & Schuster still crushing it. S&S saw revenues increase 34% and profits jump 54% over Q2 2021, with CEO Jonathan...

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Proper Etiquette

Etiquette matters. 


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. 


(By the way, we recently covered all of this in Author Coaching University. The enrollment period for the 2022-23 Author Coaching University term is not open yet, but you can join our waitlist and be one of the FIRST to know when the application window opens for the next session in the coming weeks.)


So how do you become one of those...

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