The Hook: A Key to Selling Your Book

The Swivet has a nice piece focusing on the importance of the hook in marketing your book.  Here’s how they put it:

A strong hook in your initial query is going be the most effective tool you’ll have to help all of these other publishing and bookselling professionals sell your book. A great hook will get used and passed along the food chain, appearing everywhere from an agent’s pitch letter to an editor’s initial tip sheets for launch to the catalog and sometimes even the cover copy of the book.

They also link to a good article on the creation of powerful hooks.  You can find that here.  It’s a good introduction to hook creation.  But we feel it focuses too much on stories as “quests”.  Remember, it’s called a hook because it’s supposed to grab you.  And some of his hooks seem a bit mundane.  We also think it’s important to focus on your viewpoint character in a hook.  Wonka isn’t the viewpoint character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Ahab isn’ t the viewpoint character in Moby Dick.

We think Michelle McLean’s article here is much better.   You also might search for articles on creating “loglines” (what they call hooks in tinsel town) for screenplays.  Screenwriters tend to be more market savvy, and often have better advice than novelists.  Here’s an example of one of those.  But there are many others.  Fire up Google and have a look-see.

But the crucial fact to remember about the creation of a hook:  It’s a writing challenge.   So, if you’re a writer, you can do it.  It may seem a bit awkward at first.  But you’ll get the hang of it.

(Thanks to Jane Friedman for pointing us to the Swivet article via Twitter.)

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