Writing a book is much like cooking a great dish. When the right combination of ingredients come together, the end result leaves you wanting more.
Anyone who has cooked before knows that one wrong ingredient can ruin the entire dish. Try adding salt instead of sugar for example; simple mistake with horrific results.
In this post we will discuss the ingredients required to write a great book. If you are currently in the writing process, use this as a checklist to see if your book has the required ingredients for success.
1. An Intriguing Book Description
Think about when you go to a restaurant and begin looking at the menu. Each food item generally has a description that tells you what is included. We tend to choose what to eat based on what “sounds” good.
When it comes to writing, this is your book description. People shopping for a new book to read will skim through several book descriptions trying to find a book that “sounds” good.
If you do not have an intriguing book description, people will never get a chance to read your book. Just like you wouldn’t try a dish that had an unappealing menu description.
2. An Attention Grabbing Cover Design
Let’s keep thinking about the menu at a restaurant. Within most menus are pictures of some of the most popular items. These items sell much better thanks to these images grabbing the attention of restaurant goers.
Your book cover design is much like this menu picture. Humans are extremely visual and will often choose books based on their cover. Make sure your book has an attention grabbing header that will make potential readers want to learn more about your book. We highly recommend that you create multiple covers so you can test which one resonates best with your audience.
3. A Strong Opening
You wrote an intriguing book description and created an attention grabbing book cover. Now someone is very interested in your book and has decided to read the first couple of pages. Having a strong opening is critical. Not only will it help you close more sales, it will also set the tone for your entire book.
James Patterson is a great example of an author that has mastered the opening. When you read his books, you often find yourself so roped in by the first couple of chapters that you can’t put the book down.
Writing a strong opening right away is very hard. In fact it borders impossible. Make sure when you are editing your book you put a lot of focus on your opening. Statistics show that people only finish about 50% of the books they start. Having a strong opening will give readers a reason to want to finish your book.
4. A Relatable Crisis
Regardless what genre you are writing, it is important for there to be a crisis to overcome. A great book has a crisis that readers can relate to. Sure, I may not be able to relate with Mark Whatney being stranded on Mars with no hope in sight, but I can sure relate with how hard it would be to have a daily diet consisting of less than 2 potatoes.
When you start planning the outline of your book, make sure that you include several relatable conflicts throughout the story. Having an overall crisis and several mini crises is a great strategy to keep readers interested.
5. An “Ah-ha” Discovery
Great books always have a point where you literally say out loud to yourself “ah-ha”. This moment of discovery changes everything for you and the main character.
When writing your next book, make sure you include at least one moment of discovery that will change everything for your reader. This moment will propel them to finish your book and feel more connected to it than ever.
The moment of discovery often leaders to the ultimate resolution. Every crisis must have a resolution. Readers like a great conflict, but they love a great resolution.
The resolution is what most readers look forward to the entire book and you do not want to let them down. The second readers find out that Mark Whatney is stranded on Mars in The Martian, they are looking forward to how this crisis will be resolved.
It is important to note that the quality of your resolution is highly dependent on your crisis. If you do not do a good job creating an interesting crisis, you will have a hard time creating a believable and exciting resolution.
7. A Satisfying Conclusion
I don’t know about you, but nothing leaves me more satisfied when leaving a restaurant than a great dessert. It is literally the icing on the cake.
Great books always have a satisfying conclusion. Show me a successful author and I will show you the great endings they have written. When a reader is left satisfied when a book ends, they immediately want to read more of your books. Satisfying endings have allowed James Patterson to write over 50 books and see his sales increase with nearly every new release.
A satisfying conclusion, much like a great dessert, makes you happy. As an author, this should be your ultimate goal.
8. A Sense of Originality
The last crucial ingredient authors need to write a great book is originality. With millions of books written to date, this can be very difficult. To make sure your book is original, avoid clichés and inject your own personal experiences.
When you do these two things, the book will feel original to you. It is easy to want to copy successful authors in hope to replicate their success. While it is beneficial to study what has worked for others, reader will ultimately appreciate originality.
A great book is much like a great recipe. When you combine the right ingredients, you end up with a masterpiece. Use this post as a recipe to help create your next book. It is up to you to decide exactly how to incorporate each ingredient to make your book a success.