In a book, the hook is the unique selling proposition (USP). It is the promise you make to the reader and how you intend to deliver it. It is what makes a reader curious enough to look inside the pages and then choose your book over the book next to it on the shelf. A successful hook identifies the ideal readers’ pain point and compels them to trust in your book to find the answers.
Suppose you want to write a book on healthy eating. There are A LOT of books on the topic. How do you make your book stand out?
Go to the library, a bookstore or look on Amazon for books on your topic. Read the description and the introduction. Take notes on the specific topic and USP for each book. What problem does each book solve? Who is the ideal reader for each book?
Go from broad to narrow – Start with healthy eating, narrow to healthy 30-minute meals and then narrow further to healthy 30-minute meals using the Paleo diet.
Find a theme – Successful books often have themes. Keeping with the healthy eating topic, explore themes like growing (like a plant), boxing (fighting disease), a mother’s care (nurturing body) or exploring a current food trend. Numbers are also great ways to frame your book (7 Ways to Boost Your Nutrition). Use caution to avoid being too cliché.
Use your experience and expertise – What is your motivation to write this book? Did you lose a lot of weight, lose weight after a baby, was someone in your family sick, were you sick, were you going into the military and needed to get in shape or did you return from an impoverished place that had no nutrition? Perhaps you are a doctor, nutritionist or own a wellness company that can provide a framework for the book.
Let reader self-identify – Your book can be local or regional, quick and easy for the busy family, for the common man, for the athlete, for maximum performance in life, to save the reader from illness, to save money or not be a burden on the readers’ family.
Style – You can use recipes, make it a narrative of your experience and how it can help the reader, use a combination of both, interview users of this approach or clinicians who tout it, create a daily guide or workbook, and then use your voice (funny, inspirational, clinical) to make a compelling book.
Tie it all together
Using the information gathered through these exercises, write a book jacket description. Can the reader identify himself, their pain point and the solution you offer? Identifying the hook before you write will help provide the framework to write your book and help you market it once it is published.
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