At your kid’s soccer match, during an impromptu chat on FaceBook or while stuck waiting at the pharmacy—potential readers are everywhere. Making a memorable impression, and sealing the deal, is easy when you’re equipped with these must-have seven sentences.
What do you write? Sure, you’re thrilled several of the women in yoga class have expressed the slimmest of interest. Now isn’t the time for a monologue on the sequence of dreams that drove you to write your masterpiece. If you drone on, your audience will roll up their yoga mats and slip out the door.
Two sentences, please.
Here’s mine: “I write contemporary fiction—a blend of romance and mystery. My debut, Treasure Me, is more comedic, like the movie Steel Magnolias, but my second release, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, is a darker, more suspenseful read.”
Notice the comparison to a familiar movie. It’s a subtle way of saying, “You loved the movie. You’ll be glad you bought my book.” Genre also matters. Some readers prefer clean romances, for example, or love horror novels. If your work draws from more than one genre, all the better. You’ve increased the chances of making a sale.
What is the story about? Three sentences: think “back cover copy” or “product description on my Amazon page.” Introduce the characters (first sentence), present the story problem (second) and finish with a hook (third).
No, you needn’t memorize a three-sentence synopsis. Your story pitch works best when tailored to appeal to a particular listener or group. If I’m discussing The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge with an adoptive mother, I lead with the plot’s main character—a foster mother. If I’m chatting with men, I’m more inclined to mention the novel’s fast pace and thrill ride ending. And, no, I don’t give spoilers. I want to give each listener enough information to encourage a book purchase.
Why do you write? No one will ask, but you’re wise to volunteer an answer in two succinct sentences. This is your chance to build credibility for your writing career.
The volume of poorly written eBooks streaming onto Amazon and other sites is no state secret. Separate your work from the dreck by touting your successes—awards won, glowing reviews, high sales or the earlier profession that prepared you for your writing career. Whenever I have a captive audience, I tend to mention my previous career in public relations and a plug by USA Today citing my debut as among the best of the Indies. Or I mention USA Today and a recent award or review.
If your book has racked up twenty 5-star reviews on GoodReads or received high praise from a well-known author, by all means, tell your audience. This isn’t the time to feel squeamish about boastful behavior. Avid readers are on a quest to find The Next Great Read. Which is your book, if you have the courage to tell them.
Polish those seven sentences, and you’re on your way to yet another sale.