As writers, we may not be the most sociable creatures, however, we do still enjoy getting the attention. Only, we like to do it with our words, wherever possible.
Grabbing the attention of a reader is a key part in not only selling your book, but in growing your platform. Increasing your audience is not only done by writing more books, but by ensuring that those that do pick up a copy remember it. Grab their attention and keep it. You can guarantee that a reader will tell their friends about a great book. That’s how it works.
But how do you grab attention? Well, in my mind, there are two distinct parts to this question. First, you must grab the attention of the reader. This is where many writers – myself being at the top of the list – struggle. Social media, and interaction with others, is a key part of the life of a modern writer. You need to get out there, get noticed and ensure that people see you, know you and understand what it is you are trying to do.
Get on Goodreads, get on Facebook, and Twitter. Google Plus is also great for gaining fans and generating a buzz about you and your writing.
There are two of course, good and bad ways of getting attention. Don’t be an attention seeker. Just be yourself and interact with people. Don’t try to sell yourself as anything other than genuine. Be who you are, and people will appreciate it much more. Do not just stand up and start shouting that everybody should like your page, or follow your posts. That is not only rude, but far from the good form and manners that is dictated by standard social etiquette.
You want to get good attention, not negative. In the writing world, there certainly is such a thing as bad publicity, and a reputation, which can take a great deal of effort to gain, is lost with the greatest of ease.
Once you have people’s attention, once they are aware of your writing, then it is time to turn the responsibilities over to your words. Get people hooked on your writing, get people lost inside the worlds you create.
This starts with a great cover. I just had the covers to my Highway to Hell books remade and the difference is outstanding. The new cover is not yet live, but it will be soon and I can’t wait to see the reaction people give it.
A great piece of cover art will grab the attention of a read as they browse the shelves, whether they are digital or situated firmly in the real world, it doesn’t matter. Cover’s stand out. Readers do judge a book by its cover, and no matter what we say, they are right to do so. Think of it like going to a job interview. If you turn up in a suit, you get noticed. If you arrive in a dirty sweatshirt and tatty jeans with stains of last night’s kebab sprinkled in for good measure, then no matter what your qualification, your content, you will be judged.
Great, you have not garnered some attention for your great looking cover, but now you need to grab the reader’s mind with your skills as a wordsmith.
The opening lines of a book are of the utmost importance. Sell yourself in those opening lines. Generate the desire to read more. Instil in the reader a greed for more. This does not have to be an overly complex statement, it does not need to be a flowing paragraph design to show the full extent of your linguistic talent.
It just needs to be good, better than good it needs to be great in the context of the book it is set it.
Not every novel warrants a ‘It was the best of time, it was the worst of times’ opening. As great as that book may be, it has a time and a place.
I have read a lot – less recently, but that is something else entirely – but even now, the best opening line I can remember came from a book by Kathy Reichs. I believe it was the first Temperance Brennan book. It went a little something like this,
“I wasn’t thinking about the man who had just blown himself up. Earlier I was, but now I was busy piecing him back together.”
Doesn’t that grab your attention, it draws you into the pages. That is the reaction we all hope for, that is the goal.