You got one chance and you can’t throw away your shot.
Everyone’s watching the stage. It doesn’t matter if it’s a song, movie, play, or novel, a first impression needs to be top notch. If you don’t catch the audience’s attention in the first few minutes, you might not at all.
There’s a couple of important ways to catch their attention.
A great picture on the cover speaks wonders. If you don’t capture the reader from a cool cover, the reader may just pass by. Having the title pop on the cover with an interesting background is super helpful.
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 that much time to hook the reader. You might have a page or less. Your first chapter needs to hook the reader from the beginning. Explain the background later 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 from reading only the first chapter.
Any other first impressions for books that you can think of that I missed? Leave a comment below!