7 Second Author

It takes years for an author to perfect their writing, speaking, and marketing. However, an author only has 7 seconds to impress someone. That’s not a lot of time, but if you want to be an author, get used to it.

Here is my “7 Second List”

When blogging, the author has 7 seconds to catch someones attention and keep their attention. The blog  topic must show interest and be able to help the audience, or the reader will not care.

(It’s been 7 seconds. Are you still with me? Good.)

When a customer picks up your book and looks at it, studies have shown that they will spend 7 seconds looking it over. After 7 seconds, the customer will decide whether or not to continue examining your book, or put it back on the shelf.

The customer scans over the cover, reads part of your back cover, and reads the first sentence or two. Then the customer will flip through the pages. That takes 7 seconds. Let’s review:

* Front cover appeal.

* Quick and powerful explanation on the back cover.

* Great start to your book, especially the first couple lines.

* Comfortable page flow, from chapter to chapter.

Congratulations, you hooked the customer for another 7 seconds!

They will read the first page and see if the book interests them. Your book should start with a powerful first line, then a gripping paragraph, followed by one intriguing sentence after another.

Remember that if all goes well in your career, 99% of the customers who look at your books are people that you’ve never met. Your title, description, first page, and flow in your book must hook them, because you will not be there to explain anything, or answer questions.

Before your book is published, there are several ways an author needs to make a great first impression. Here are a few.

You have 7 seconds to describe what your book is about. Imagine that you are at a writer’s conference and you meet a literary agent. The agent asks, “So, what is your book about?” You have 7 seconds to sum up your work and make the agent interested in asking for more.

* Practice describing your books in quick fashion. One line would be best.

* Describe what kind of author you are in just one or two sentences.

* Try out your lines on other authors and see what they think. Keep practicing, because the time will come when you will have 7 seconds to change your career.

Your query letter should impress the literary agent or publisher in 7 seconds, so they will read the entire page.

* You have about three sentences to get the query reader hooked. Just like your manuscript, start off strong and grip your audience.

* Query letters are difficult. It may be worth hiring someone to write it for you. This investment should cost you around $100-$125. Just make sure the person writing the query has experience.

A synopsis must sell the book in 7 seconds. Those in the publishing industry are beyond busy, even in this economy. Authors should have a “hook” mentality with everything they do.

* You will have at least two paragraphs to interest the reader of a synopsis. The words in your synopsis, (and query) will give the agent or publisher a great insight on how your manuscript will read. If the first 7 seconds go by and the agent is still reading, then you did your job.

Book trailer’s are popular these days. They are usually around a minute and thirty seconds long, similar to a commercial. The first 7 seconds will make or break a trailer.

* Most book trailers are simplistic, which is fine by me. However, that means a picture and a few words. Make sure the first frame hooks the audience. I’ve clicked off trailers after 7 seconds and usually said something like, “Give me a break.”

* Show your trailer, (query, synopsis, manuscript, description) to other authors. Seek their advice and give your feedback on their work.

When an author asks for my help, I usually can tell within 7 seconds if they are in it for the long haul. Here are some examples of what authors said to me in person or via email, sometime in the first 7 seconds.

* “I need an agent, because my book is a bestseller.” (I can’t help this author.)

* “I’m looking for an agent, but willing to take the time to market and improve my work. Any suggestions?” (I will help this author.)

* “Please tell all your contacts about me.” (Uggg…)

* “I’m interested in networking with those in the publishing industry. Do you have suggestions of places I can do this?” (That is an author willing to do the work and not have me or someone else do everything for them.)

* “Traditional publishers do not care about authors.” (or) “Self-publishers do not care about authors.” (or) “Literary agents do not care about authors.” (or) “Authors do not care about other authors.” (And so on, and so on. There are many good companies and people in the publishing industry. No one is perfect and from time to time, you will get burned. But please do not complain to me in the first 7 seconds, because I will lose interest.)

* “I am trying my best, but not getting anywhere in the publishing industry. Could you take a look at what I’m doing and see if there is something I am missing?” (Again, the author is asking for my help, but starts off making it clear that they are willing to take control of their own career.)

It’s a lot of pressure to sell yourself in 7 seconds. Then again, if you are an author that loves to “hook” the reader, 7 seconds is more than enough time.

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

Preview: www.upauthors.com/authors/ronknight (If I do not hook you in 7 seconds, let me know.)

My manger is Melissa Link: melissa@upauthors.com


Ron Knight

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  1. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article