Writing a Page-Turner

As far as I’m concerned, the greatest compliment I can get is, “I couldn’t put it down.”

Why can’t the reader put your book down?

Is it because the content is so fascinating? Is it because he wants so much to be educated? Or is it because you, as the writer, have given him so little opportunity to put it down? I hope it’s the latter, and I hope in this panel that I can help you become a writer who gets the ultimate compliment.

I have to confess to you that I put down ninety percent of all those books I buy before I reach page 50…some of them by page 5. Why? Because they bore me, that’s why. Either I am not entertained, or I don’t think I can learn anything. Learn anything, either about the subject, or about writing better.

I put down Lonesome Dove after 70 pages because it was boring me. I know pigs eat rattlesnakes, and I don’t need 70 pages to tell me so. After it won a Pulitzer Prize, I picked it back up, and forced myself to read on, and after 90 pages I was absolutely hooked. After page 100, there was no way Mike Tyson could have taken it out of my hands…because I cared about the characters. In my mind it’s the writer’s job to hook you on page 1, or by page 3 at the latest.

“She wore a red nightgown so the blood wouldn’t show.” Sidney Sheldon.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens.

“Johnny Tenkiller got his name in the usual way, from his father. What was unusual was how seriously he took it.” Larry Jay Martin’s first western. Not Sidney Sheldon, not Charles Dickens, but good enough to keep an editor reading and finally to get him to write a check.

Those are hooks. Task one, write a good hook. The first keluaran hk   person you have to hook is an acquiring editor. If an editor, who reads hundreds of manuscripts, is hooked, then a reader normally will be by your published book.

Having been a salesman most of my life-I made my living for years selling real estate-I’m interested in the buying/selling process. Consequently, I’ve stood for hours and watched book browsers at book racks. You should too, if you’re interested in what makes a book sell. A buyer will be attracted to a book for two primary reasons, the cover and the author. Unless of course he’s there looking for a manual to pass his contractor’s exam. The potential buyer will pick up a book, read the front cover, roll it over and read the cover copy on the back, then if still interested, will many times open it and read the first page. 3% of the time, they’ll then go to the back of the book and see how it ends. So, after you’ve sold the editor with your hook, you still, in most instances, sell the reader. For if you don’t sell more than your share of books, your second one won’t see the light of day.


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