One of your greatest marketing tools as an author is the first five pages of your book. Once a potential buyer looks at your title, cover, back cover copy, and Table of Contents, they’re likely to look at your first five pages. If the first paragraph wows them, they’ll keep reading. If the wow factor is missing, you may miss a possible sale. See the post called The Indispensable First Paragraph to make a “wow” beginning paragraph for your book.
So how do you maintain the “wow” factor of your first five pages and maximize the appeal of your book? Here are five ways to keep the wow factor going.
- Write tight.
Cut unnecessary words that distract the reader from the main point of each sentence and paragraph. Quantity of words is not as important as quality. A short sentence can contain more pow than a long one. Ask yourself whether each word in a sentence is needed and whether each sentence in a paragraph is playing an important role.
- Follow an outline.
I love to write from a feeling of inspiration, but I always have to go back and see if my writing follows a definite flow of thought. Make sure your first five pages don’t meander off course. Meandering can frustrate the reader, and they may put your book down.
- Make the first line of every paragraph attention-grabbing.
If you read the first line of every paragraph in your first five pages, would you buy your book? Write these first lines with as much flare as you wrote the first sentence of your book. You want to keep your reader interested and wanting to know more. Use questions, statistics, new insights, and stories to start new paragraphs.
- End every paragraph with a mini-cliff hanger.
You don’t have to get too dramatic, but write the end of each paragraph as if you’re placing a stepping stone in front of the reader. Motivate them to “step” into the next paragraph and keep reading. If you conclude a thought in a paragraph, do it with such insight, pizzazz, and emotion that will make them want to keep reading to see what you have to say.
- Give them some take away—even at the beginning!
You want the reader to come away from your book with amazing take away—helpful insights, encouraging thoughts, answers to problems, and strategies to implement your ideas. Present these things in such a way that they are inspired to take action. Write with music, motivate with real-life stories, instruct the mind, and touch the heart. Your whole book should have insights that they can take away with them, but give them enough take away in the first five pages so that they see the relevance of your book and look forward to what else you have to say.
What would you want to see in the first five pages of a book that has an intriguing title? What elements would make you buy a non-fiction book? Tell me in the comments below, and don’t forget the power of your first five pages.