By: Diane O’Connell
Recall the last time you were perusing your local bookstore, or looking at books online. If a new book intrigued you, you’d be compelled to flip it over, or click to read the novel’s “flap copy”—the short description that tells you what the book is about.
This copy is, essentially, an author’s sales pitch to readers. When written well and conveying a strong and unique story idea, flap copy can be an author’s key to grabbing readers. When a story’s vision has big weaknesses, on the other hand, a potential buyer will lose interest and go off in search of another book.
Honing in on what really piques a reader’s interest lies in maximizing your novel’s potential for dramatic change, and creating something readers haven’t seen before.
The following 3 tips will help you in both crafting a compelling story and a solid pitch for a completed novel.
What makes a novel sell:
1. An original Concept
I often describe the vision for your novel as the spark that ignites the story idea, inspiring a full-fledged novel. Think of this as an author asking, “What if?” and the novel exploring the question in depth. For example, Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games series, was channel surfing one night and caught glimpses of a reality TV competition and then war footage on the news. The compelling contrast sat with her, and in answering the big “What if?” in detail, she developed the dystopian—and fresh and original—vision for her novel.
To maximize your novel’s chances of standing out in the market, make sure the big idea for your novel is solid and completely original, not hitched to an already popular bandwagon, like vampire romance novels. For tips, read 6 Ways to Generate Ideas For Your Story.
Ask yourself: What about your vision makes your story truly different from other novels out there?
2. A dynamic main Character
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