Writing a Bestseller in Nonfiction: Get a Hook

You’re writing a bestseller in nonfiction – you hope it will be a bestseller, and you’ve got your fingers crossed. Forget about luck. If you pick the right hook, your book will sell.

I talked about the importance of hooks here, and I can’t emphasize your HOOK enough. If you want your book to sell, and sell well, your hook is everything.

Your hook gets attention: it’s the first thing people read

When I’m working with my ghostwriting clients, we look at the hook first, before anything else. In a real sense, when you’re writing nonfiction, and fiction too for that matter, your hook is all that counts.

Check out Amazon’s top nonfiction books of the month. Each and every one of the them has a hook, otherwise it wouldn’t be there. Your hook gets attention, and ideally, it targets a specific audience.

What’s your hook?

When I’m discussing hooks with writing students, we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Years ago, an editor said to me: “Write about diets and dating, and you’ll sell.” She’s right. Diets (physiological) and dating (love/belonging) are vital needs.

Think about where your book’s subject matter fits in Maslow’s hierarchy.

Let’s say you’re writing a book about job-hunting. Your topic fits into safety needs, which is the second highest need. You could create a brilliant hook out of that.

Self-publishing? Put your hook in your book’s title

Occasionally a student will try to cream his book’s title with keywords. I suggest that he leave the keywords for his description, and also use them as they’re meant to be used, in the keyword tags. As Amazon indicates, don’t use keywords which repeat: “Information covered elsewhere in your book’s metadata—title, contributor(s),  category, etc.”

Your title is the first thing people read. It may be the only thing they read. So put your hook in the title, rather than cramming it with keywords. If you hook enough readers, you’ll have a bestseller.

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.