Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tips for How to Hook Your Reader

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

The best compliment a writer can hear is, “Your book kept me up all night. I was hooked from the very first line.”

We’re pumped! What wonderful affirmation for our hard work. All the hours, tears, rewrites, digesting critiques, and muscle-cramped fingers just paid off. A lovely nap is in order.

But in addition to all the effort it takes to write a dynamic story, a wise writer understands her readers have certain habits. Those peculiarities and preferences are vital to creating a novel that leaves the reader satisfied and wanting more. Our desire is for our books to be shared with others, via word of mouth and social media.

How can we writers determine the best way to engage readers? We can begin by understanding the demographics of our readers. Know who they are and write to heartfelt needs. By penning the answers to the following questions, we writers can ensure our books are well received.

Questions to Ask
  • Who is your reader? Can you describe her (him)?
  • What is your reader’s age? How can a story appeal specifically to that reader and what she is experiencing at this stage of her life?
  • What is your reader’s career? Can the writer pen a story that relates to the reader’s expertise or interest?
  • Where does your reader live? Is her home the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, etc? Does the story idea draw in the reader’s home or travels? If the reader lives in a different area than the book’s setting, does the story paint a vivid image of the location?
  • What are your reader’s hobbies?
  • What does your reader do with free time?
  • Jenn dePaula of Mixtus Media coaches writers to find their “ideal reader.” Do you know your reader like a best friend?

Keeping a reader glued to the pages of our books is more than crafting unique characters, a strong plot, vivid setting, witty dialogue, appropriate emotion and body language, correct grammar and punctuation, and all the other techniques involved in writing a quality story. A bestselling novel caters to the world of the reader and invites her inside with an adventure that promises to live on in her heart.

How do you hook your readers?

Tips for How to Hook Your Reader - @DiAnnMills on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. 

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. 

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. 

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. Outstanding post! Thank you, DiAnn. This is a keeper!



  2. I agree with MaryAnn! I plan to keep this in my writing file!