Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Writing Tips: Hook, Line & Sold!
Take yesterday for me. I went to get my hair cut and styled and brought my writing notebook. My stylist said, "Whatcha' doing?"
"Writing a book."
"What's it about?"
I've got 1 chance to tell her about my book and "hook" her in and grab her interest.
Now that's a challenge. You, the author, have 1 sentence (possibility 2) to "sell" your book to either a reader, an agent, a publisher, a representative at a book store whom you're trying to arrange a book signing.
Your hook better be pretty "snazzy" to grab that person's attention.
The pros? A 1 line sentence about your book is easy to remember and easy to draw on when people ask.
The challenge – your hook needs to be in an "active" voice, not a passive one. Active voice will grab that potential buyer, where a passive voice may make them snooze.
What's an active voice? Stay away from "was" "has been" and "to be" as verbs. When crafting your sentence use a thesaurus to give you "active" verb word choices. Stay away from "ly" adverbs. The stronger your verb, the less you need an "ly" adverb.
It usually takes me a good 20-30 minutes focused time to develop my hook.
When people (in person) ask, "Hey, what's your children's book, The Giving Meadow, about?"
I say: "It's about a caterpillar who travels through a meadow learning to share and care. Young children really enjoy the story.
I have a 99 cent short story called Journey of the Heart.
Here's my blurb: Can World War II veteran James help Rachel save her winery or will he drift out of her life the same way he drifted in?
I usually use that blurb when I'm on the Internet. If I'm in person, my hook is a lot more "conversational."
"Rachel's going to lose her winery, and only has one chance to save it – World War II vet James. Does he care enough to stick around?"
I usually try to end the "hook" with a question if I can – inviting the person to find out the answer by buying the book.
Question: Do you use hooks? How to come up with your hooks? I'd love to hear your thoughts.