The First Page Matters

 

The First Page Matters in the Sensory Appeal Test

Right after a potential reader eyes your book cover, the next critical test to pique the interest of the reader is page one of the story. Does it beg the reader to read more?

For this reason, I begin and end writing and editing with the first page. Like in real life, “first impressions matter” in establishing relationships. We don’t often get many second chances. Neither do our books should the first impression fail to pique a curious reader’s interest.

As an independent author, my books do not have the advertising and promotional blitz advantage afforded by the top publishers hawking their stable of best-selling authors. T. M. Brown does not have the name recognition of best-selling authors, such as Grisham, Patterson, Baldacci, Karon, Blackstock, etc. Like the myriad of other new books published this year, the majority lacking the deep pockets and name recognition, success boils down to passing the sensory appeal test.

What is the sensory appeal test? Does the book cover stand out when on display amongst the notable NYC published best sellers, or does it shrink almost unnoticed, overshadowed by more noticeable book covers?

Maybe its the competitive nature within me, but I desire my books to compete among the notables, the best-sellers. I prefer my books to be on the eye level front shelves in the bookstore; not relegated to shelves set aside in the back of the store. Why is that important? Okay, T. M. Brown is not a household name in the literary world, but when my book covers are displayed beside notable names that readers seek, Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and Testament, An Unexpected Return are exposed to more potential readers. BUT, now the senory appeal test begins.

When either of my book covers catches the eye of a perusing reader and they pause to slide the book off the shelf for a closer look, the reader’s keen senses in the next few seconds decide the fate of my book. Without the notoriety of the more familiar author Dan Brown, it is the front cover which then earns an extended feel of the book. Palmetto Publishing Group utilizes heavier stock paper to print its books, and it is noticeable to the feel. The reader then flips to the back cover and peruses the carefully edited snippets about the book. If the book cover has passed the initial sensory appeal test the reader invests another critical moment and thumbs through the pages before eyeing the first page. Those first 200 or so words reign supreme over the next few seconds as the reader weighs the quality of the content of this interesting new author’s novel. Should by chance the reader flip the page or closes the book but runs their hand over the cover once again, chances are a decision is underway. In that brief moment, the weight of the first page matters.

Now its your turn. What do you think? How much time do you give to selecting out a good novel to read? Are you narrowly focused on tried and tested bestsellers? Are you a reader who more often than not feels dissatisfied by the novels being hyped and peddled by the big New York City publishing houses.  Sadly, there is more and more pressure for the assembly production of novels by the notable authors. They are easy to recognize because the author name takes up the top half of the front cover. They are promoting the author’s reputation, not the story inside.

So how do my books stack up? Do the first pages cause you to consider reading more?

Roebling Point Books & Coffee, Covington, KY

Sanctuary, page 1

Testament, page 1

To order either of these, if you are not able to find a copy at your local, go to TMBrownAuthor.com’s Bookstore Page

or follow the links below:

 

Find your next book or local bookstore
SIBA Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance – Authors ‘Round the South Supporter

For Kindle editions, go to:

Authorpreneurs Recognize the Why Motivates the What

Authorpreneurs Recognize the Why Motivates the What

Knowing the answers to the key Why questions grow your confidence as an Authorpreneur, which will help navigate you through critical choices all authors face. There are no shortcuts the necessary dedication, discipline, and determination to reach the desired destination you envisioned when you first began writing your book(s).

There are two aspects of the Why behind the writing you must become confident about, which will ultimately motivate the What behind your creative endeavor.

First, internal motivation – Why invest the time and resources to write, publish, and market your book(s)?

Authors often find the company of frustration, doubt, and fear as they struggle to create, shape, and perfect their manuscript. Trees moan as countless crunched and torn pages find their destiny in the cluttered graveyard, ergo the wastebasket. Doubt becomes the writer’s harshest critic. So, why endure the torturous, lonesome ordeal to overcome the self-induced obstacles and dead-ends? Why persist and suffer to only surrender your manuscript to the critical scrutiny of others? Why choose to invite the critique of others after all those weeks, months, even possibly years of self-flagellation? 

The author’s journey is fraught with negativity, but beyond the naysaying, a ready-to-be-shared, worthy-for-primetime manuscript emerges and seeks the favorable eyes of an agent and publisher to get it transformed into a marketable book. More roadblocks spring up as hard-decisions arise to satisfy the fickleness of the market every book today faces. Book cover design, interior layout, additional book content, promotional media, etc. are all thrust upon the author, though all the while he or she trudges forward ever hoping to get their manuscript finally published. The final leg of the journey rests in the hands of an audience the author most likely will never know by name. Here the fate of the author’s motivation rests. Is the Why that first galvanized thoughts into words destined for public consumption unaltered and unshaken? If so, the external manifestation of the author’s motivation takes place with confidence.

Second, external motivation – Why will others invest time and resources to help write, publish, and market your book(s)?

With very few exceptions, authors cannot succeed without help along the journey. Sooner or later, others are needed to complete the quest of an author to transform a perceived idea into an audience-welcomed book. Consider all the different professionals, business people, and ultimately various members of the audience seeking to invest time and resources in the book.

An author’s team effort requires sharing with editors, agents, publishers, book reviewers, bookstore owners, book clubs, virtual and printed media, and ultimately the consumers or audience seeking to read the book.

 

What about your book will pique the curiosity of others? What is the takeaway that will captivate others to invest their time and resources? Ultimately, what about your book will cause someone to write a glowing review and recommendation to spur others to do the same?

Authropreneurs can spout without hesitation a concise reason that defines their Why that motivated them throughout their literary odyssey. They also can share the What that will galvanize others to want to read, review, and ultimately recommend their books to an ever-expanding audience.

Authorpreneurs are not modern Don Quixotes spurred on by overly idealistic, unrealistic, and impractical notions. Rather, they are modern King Arthurs surrounding themselves with gallant knights eager to promote Camelot to its inspired audience.

There’s a place for Don Quixotes in today’s world, but when you have a message to share in your book isn’t King Arthur’s Camelot approach more likely to achieve the outcome you first desired when you began writing?

Why not become a King or Queen Author and reconstruct the modern Camelot tale?

T. M. Brown

mike@TMBrownAuthor.com

Revised 2nd Edition, January 2018, Palmetto Publishing – NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!

 

 

Authorpreneurship – The Secret Sauce

Abra Cadabra Magical Potion

The Secret Sauce Key Ingredient: Confidence in Yourself!

No matter what discipline you have invested your valuable time and effort throughout life’s journey, Your invested Preparation and Perseverance have nurtured Self-Confidence, the key ingredient in your Secret Sauce to success as an aspiring author.

Fact of life: Wallflowers never make it to the dance floor – their shyness shuns potential dance partners away. Wallflowers feel awkward and unsure, and prefer watching rather than dancing at a party. Some Wallflowers only bloom when secluded and alone, but who gets to enjoy the beauty of a solitary wallflower?

Don’t settle being a two-dimensional WALLFLOWER…
Blossom into a multi-dimensional AUTHORPRENEUR.

WHAT’S AN AUTHORPRENEUR?

First of all, an Author is someone who writes books as a profession.

And, an Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so; a promoter in the entertainment industry.

Therefore, an AUTHORPRENEUR would be someone engaged in writing books as a profession with a business-like mindset willing to accept greater than normal financial risks in order to be successful – ergo, also a self-promoter in the literary entertainment world.

Let’s face it, for an AUTHORPRENEUR, writing books is no longer considered an avocation, but a vocation. Success is measured by the numbers of books sold versus royalties earned, minus out-of-pocket costs.

Those happy to continue writing as an avocation – a hobby or minor occupation – will be content just watching others on the dance floor. They don’t get flustered by their lack of sales and royalties. They justify their time and investment as self-satisfying.

However, those desiring to grow their writing into a vocation have a strong feeling of suitability for becoming an author (a writer of books as a profession) and desire their books to be regarded as worthy and of value to others, and are dedicated to not only writing but also promoting what they write.

* * *

Beyond honing one’s writing skills to be an author, consider these biblical principles as practical advice for growing as an Authorpreneur:

Proverbs 27:17… As iron sharpens iron, so one man (or woman) sharpens another.

Does your network of like-minded authors inspire and encourage you?

Is your platform or audience engaged and eager to invest in your books?

Eccl 4:12… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves, but a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Have you built a strong team, i.e., editors, writing coaches, critique partners, and others as needed to produce and promote your book(s)?

Proverbs 15:22… Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.

Writing a compelling book is hard enough, but what thoughts have you given to the process of publishing and promoting your book?

John Donne wrote: No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

An AUTHORPRENEUR understands the risk of attempting to be an island in the sea of books that are flooding the market every day!

An AUTHORPRENEUR understands the splash needed to create a ripple effect that will cause his or her book to stand out and get noticed.

Are you stuck with your back to the wall at the dance – a Wallflower, never reaching the dance floor? Or, are you ready to dance in the spotlight?

More tidbits about AUTHORPRENEURSHIP to follow… You can also look to a future workshop in your area.

T. M. Brown