You got one chance and you can’t throw away your shot.
Everyone’s watching the stage eagerly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a song, movie, play, or your novel, the first impression always needs to be top notch. If you can’t catch your reader’s attention in the first few seconds, there’s a good chance you won’t catch your reader’s attention for anything else. There’s a couple of ways of to grab your reader’s attention.
A great picture on the cover speaks wonders. If you can’t capture the reader with a cool cover, the reader may pass by your book without realizing it. I’m not saying to have neon lights blinking all over it, but having the title pop on the cover with an interesting background is helpful. Most writers hire design artists to get this done right.
You may say “Oh, but the second chapter or third chapter is where it really gets good. I just need the first one to introduce the characters and where they’re at. Background story.” To which, I’d say, “No.”
You don’t have much time to hook the reader. You honestly probably even have a page or less. Your first chapter needs to have action and great characters to hook the reader from the beginning. Explain all the background stuff later on when the character runs into it or when you feel is appropriate. But your first chapter is more critical than the cover. Some literary agents will only pick your book to publish by just the first chapter.
Any other first impressions for books that you can think of that I missed? Leave a comment below!