Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tips to Help Maximize Your First Five Pages

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

One of your greatest marketing tools as an author is the first five pages of your book. Once a potential buyer looks at your title, cover, back cover copy, and Table of Contents, they’re likely to look at your first five pages. If the first paragraph wows them, they’ll keep reading. If the wow factor is missing, you may miss a possible sale.

So how do you maintain the “wow” factor of your first five pages and maximize the appeal of your book?  Here are five ways to keep the wow factor going.

Write tight.
Cut unnecessary words that distract the reader from the main point of each sentence and paragraph. Quantity of words is not as important as quality. A short sentence can contain more punch than a long one, and usually does. Ask yourself whether each word in a sentence is needed and whether each sentence in a paragraph is playing an important role.

Follow an outline.
I love to write from a feeling of inspiration, but I always have to go back and see if my writing follows a definite flow of thought. Make sure your first five pages don’t meander off course. Meandering can frustrate the reader, and they may put your book down.

Make the first line of every paragraph attention-grabbing.
If you read the first line of every paragraph in your first five pages, would you buy your book? Write these first lines with as much flare as you wrote the first sentence of your book.  You want to keep your reader interested and wanting to know more. Use questions, statistics, new insights, and stories to start new paragraphs.

End every paragraph with a mini-cliff hanger.
You don’t have to get too dramatic, but write the end of each paragraph as if you’re placing a stepping stone in front of the reader. Motivate them to “step” into the next paragraph and keep reading. If you conclude a thought in a paragraph, do it with such insight, pizzazz, and emotion that will make them want to keep reading to see what you have to say next.

Give them some take away—even at the beginning!
You want the reader to come away from your book with amazing take away—helpful insights, encouraging thoughts, answers to problems, and strategies to implement your ideas. Present these things in such a way that they are inspired to take action. Write with music, motivate with real-life stories, instruct the mind, and touch the heart. Your whole book should have insights that they can take away with them, but give them enough take away in the first five pages so that they see the relevance of your book and look forward to what else you have to say.

What would you want to see in the first five pages of a book that has an intriguing title? What elements would make you buy a nonfiction book? Tell us in the comments below, and don’t forget the power of your first five pages.


Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, a ministry which seeks to connect people to God through His Word. She has taught the Bible to women and teens, and has published two Bible studies on winning life’s spiritual battles. Her newest release, Breaking the Chains, is a compilation on how to overcome spiritual bondage. Katy is also an editor and a designer of Refresh Bible Study Magazine. She makes her home near Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. "Write with music", that line grabbed my attention. Precisely last night I was arguing words in a paragraph must have a rhythm to it.
    Your post was very helpful, Katy.

    1. Thank you, Ingmar! "Music" in a paragraph is a sure way to keep the reader's attention and make our writing memorable.

  2. Great advice as always, Katy. I particularly love the part about placing a stepping stone in front of the reader. :)

  3. Katy makes so much sense and keeps her message lean. No frills. No fat. Loved it.

    1. I like to "scrapbook" my writing. So including just enough to intrigue the reader is good, but definitely not making it too frilly so they put the book down. When it comes to novels, I like it when the author makes the story beautiful and captivating, but gets to the point. Nonfiction can be the same way. Thank you for commenting, Mike!