You know that people will judge a book by its cover, but do you know what else they will judge a book by? Yes, you got it, its very first line.
There are over 200,000 books published across the globe every single month. That’s works out to more than 6,000 a day. If you want to publish your novel and ensure that it doesn’t get lost in a sea of others, you have to find ways to beat the competition. You have to do everything you can to give your book the best chance of success.
Amazon gives readers the opportunity to ‘Look inside’ a book before they purchase. This means perspective readers can have a gander at the first few pages o your book to decide whether it’s worth investing in. So you need to make sure that you make those first lines attention-grabbing, arresting, and compelling enough to motivate readers to keep on reading.
First lines – what not to do:
Make it too long. Keep your first line short and impactful. If the reader runs out of breath before they’ve finished reading your first sentence, they’ll probably feel overwhelmed. Make it clear and arresting, not vague or confusing. Use interesting dialogue, don’t bring in too many characters at once, or use excessive description.
First lines – what makes a winner?
Evocative phrases and vivid imagery.
Grab your reader’s attention by crafting beautiful sentences that immediately conjure up a powerful picture in their mind’s eye.
Take them by surprise
Readers love to be surprised, and if the opening of your novel is not what they expected, that could work in your favor. Craft an opening that jolts them out of their world and reality and into that of your story. By doing this, you are showing your readers that you have the skill and talent to immerse them in another place and will create intrigue that will have them wanting to find out more.
Establish your unique voice
Every author has their own voice, and it should be distinctive. Your first line is an opportunity to establish your writing voice from the outset. Use dialect and tone to help distinguish a character voice or your own bespoke way of writing to show readers you can offer them something exciting and different to the norm.
Your first line really can make or break your book’s success. Get it right, and you’ll have more people buying your books, and even better your chances of agents or publishers taking on your work. Get it wrong, and you’ll put readers off before they’ve even begun. Use the above tips to create a fantastic opening, and you will be on the right track!
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