Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hey folks, I thought I'd put together a short list about the essential elements your book must have to succeed. You'll find plenty of tutorials about how to improve your book sales so here's my take on it and why this is a good list to follow.

Edge of The Apocalypse
Here's a list, in order of importance, your book needs to communicate.

1. Genre
2. Awesome Title/Sub-Title
3. Blurb (back sales copy)
4. Opening Sentence
5. First Chapter Hook
6. First Chapter Cliffhanger
7. Reviews
8. Author Authority/Website or Blog

GENRE:
This is a no-brainer. It's all about your genre and genre specific images on your cover. I'm working on a post-apocalyptic book series (The Edge of Time Book Trilogy) so my obvious genre is Science Fiction. Post apocalyptic fiction is a sci-fi sub-genre.

What kind of images does my book cover need to have? There are many typical images; destroyed landscape, crumbling or burning buildings, social upheaval, zombies, etc.

Research other covers in your genre and try to use images, colors, and font styles that match those covers with a unique layout that best fits your story. Design your cover so it appeals with a sense of curiosity about it.

The main purpose of your cover is to get readers curious about your story so they can read the blurb on your back cover. The blurb has to be good enough so readers will want to read your first chapter, and that starts with a curious opening first line that hooks readers through the chapter until the cliffhanger at the end of the chapter.

These are all bullet points for another article where I'll detail each step with examples.

AWESOME TITLE
Of course you need an amazing title because your title communicates the main concept of your story.  My book title (book one) is Edge of The Apocalypse because this title says to readers (fans of apocalyptic fiction) that this is the beginning of an apocalyptic event. (the edge). Obviously, this is the event my first chapter opens with.

BLURB
A book blurb is the back cover sales copy. Notice my emphasis on the word sales. Make no mistake, your back copy is strategic copywriting designed to get readers to read your first chapter. It's an important part of your sales funnel and more than just a snapshot of your story.

OPENING SENTENCE
Let's face it, the better you can open your story, the better your chances of making a sale. Although, this is not as critical as you might think.

FIRST CHAPTER HOOK
Your hook is probably the most important part of your book at this point because aside from your amazing cover, title, curious opening sentence, your first chapter hook is the reason readers will or will not buy your book. Get this right and your book has a better chance to sell. Get it wrong and you risk alienating potential customers from all your books.

FIRST CHAPTER CLIFFHANGER
Your cliffhanger at the end of your first chapter is critical because this is your reader's gateway to the rest of the story and a strong cliffhanger helps generate good book reviews.

BOOK REVIEWS
Book reviews are overrated but yes, good book reviews are important, although, I've bought many books with not so good reviews. It all depends on how much you like the story. For me, as long as the book has some good reviews, I'm comfortable buying it if I like the story and I know I'll enjoy reading the book because of the author's voice, plot, setting, story concept, characters, etc.

AUTHOR CREDIBILITY (WEBSITE/PLATFORM)
Believe it or not, this is probably the most important criteria because you also want to judge the author as far as their dedication to their writing craft. Remember, the most important thing new author's have going for them, is the current book(s) they are selling. Any previous work is a bonus if the books were successful.

The author's current book reflects everything about them, their platform, their upcoming books, their view of the world, and the types of stories they want to tell, etc. This helps build an author brand.

In my next post, I'll break down this short list and expand in detail, everything you need to know to design a kick-ass book cover that communicates enough information to get readers to read your first chapter and hopefully your entire book.

Your book cover must generate a chain reaction of events with all green lights in order to generate sales and good book reviews. Ideally, you want to have all these elements in place so your book can hopefully go viral and readers will do most of your promotion (word of mouth) for you.

In other words, your book sells itself. That's a tall order but many authors have done it so it's not impossible. Readers have to trust you as an author to deliver good stories. Putting yourself out there is also important so readers can see your personality and how you express your story ideas.

Readers want to know that as an author, you're committed to writing and publishing great stories for them to consume. One-hit wonders are okay, but a number of bestsellers is far better.

I'll also mention several one-hit wonders that made it very big and how they got there.

Can you come up with one? 

Come on back to see if that book is on my list!

An Excerpt: Edge of The Apocalypse

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