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 Never Cease to Bang the Drum

Are you banging your drum?

Authorpreneurs Never Cease to Bang the Drum

 

An Authorpreneur accepts there are no shortcuts around dedication, discipline, and determination to reach the desired destination you first envisioned when you began writing your book(s). There’s a vast population of good books heaped upon the pile every day that the author abandoned to the winds of chance and opportunity to promote and sell their books. Then there are likewise scores of success stories in the publishing world about authors who made the best-sellers lists, but when you examine their books, you wonder why yours didn’t succeed.

The answer to the why is tenacity – they persisted and persevered while others threw their hands up and walked away. They fixed anything broken but kept forging ahead until their book built the momentum that launched the bandwagon syndrome. Once the bandwagon begins to roll, no one wants to be left out. That’s when the magic happens, and promotion and marketing of your book become fun.

Why do folks race to follow the bandwagon??

Authorpreneurs understand the value of hype and hysteria to draw people to open and then purchase their books. However, don’t stir up unwarranted hype and hysteria to get attention, because that can cause irreparable harm. Stir up the gradual, crescendoing din of growing interest in you and your books. As the noise increases, more and more people will be encouraged to comment on and suggest your book to others. Favorable crowd noise is your friend, but don’t ignore any negative buzz among the din of whispers. Snuff the buzz by addressing the growing murmurs. You’ll never silence all negativity; listen and decide the warrant for their objections, and then take action.

Do you remember why you chose to write in the first place? After experiencing all the twists and turns along the publishing journey, you can lose sight of why you decided to become an author. Compromise is the first side-step toward seeking a shortcut. Turn deaf ears to promises of alternative paths that sound too good to be true. The only truth will be those promises will cost you your dream and your pocketbook. Neither bribery nor ransom can purchase the success you first envisioned. Only patience, persistence, and perseverance can redeem the price of success.

Remember the WHY of your journey; it is the secret sauce that fuels your internal drive as an author. No one will bang your drum like you, and no one can get your book’s bandwagon rolling but you.

T. M. Brown

mike@TMBrownAuthor.com