Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Let’s start out by getting caught up on where we are with narrative hooks. On Tuesday, we introduced the topic and explained how:
… most of us readers know what we like in a novel. And we’re even better at identifying what we don’t like when it comes to advertising.
If that sounds like a random topic change, it’s not. Don’t for a second think that a narrative hook is anything but a marketing ploy. It’s the last step in the book sales process that lands you that fishy you want so bad.
More about that on Thursday!
Since it’s now Thursday, and we’re properly prepared with the fact that narrative hooks are a novel marketing strategy...
Let’s continue learning how to fish.
Front covers are your first and foremost book marketing device.
The back-jacket blurb (or online version) is your second.
And then there’s the narrative hook, which is the deal-closing part of your marketing strategy.
To be clear, closing deals require incentivizing people enough to make them agree to your terms. In this case, that means they buy up your book at your – reasonably – set price.
Here’s how to do it.
Identify your ideal reader; identify your ideal hook.
As always, it’s your story. You can do whatever you want with it during the pre-publishing process. So go ahead and write a hook that captures your attention, making you want to read the rest of your story (which you, of course, wrote).
However, keep in mind one of the biggest reasons you wrote it in the first place: to be read. And, as we said in our writing Definition, nobody’s going to read it all the way through if they open it up, only to find a hook that doesn’t appeal to them.
This only makes sense when it's a transaction we’re talking about. And you don’t make a transaction without first making it about the other person to some degree.
Usually to a large one.
If you want to learn more about identifying your ideal reader, check out the Business Writing Tip linked below. It works just as well (or very nearly so) for novelists as it does for bloggers, article writers, and marketers.
You’re more than welcome to read it here. Though you can get the gist just as easily down below...
It boils down to this: If you’re interested in writing any kind of copy that makes a mint, you need to stop trying to please everyone. Figure out who your ideal reader is instead.
What’s their age, if any? What’s their gender, if any? What’s their ethnicity, if any?
How about their occupation, their frustrations, their likes and dislikes, their dreams?
Does that make you feel uncomfortable analyzing them so closely in order to take your money? Maybe even a little skeevy?
It shouldn’t. Just as long as you’re offering a worthwhile product and you’re not threatening people into buying it.
Under those stipulations, don’t worry about being politically incorrect in targeting a certain group to push your work at. Worry about being unethical, but not politically correct.
Chances are, your ideal reader doesn’t see himself or herself as a completely PC entity. And neither should you.
Your sales copy won’t work on everyone because it’s not meant for everyone. Because it’s selling something that not everyone wants or needs or cares about.
Get that into your narrative hook writing/editing head. And, once you do, never let it go.
That's the best way to sell successfully.
Editor’s Note: Read the next post on narrative hooks here.