Invite People In

Will your opening turn browsers into buyers?

On a recent trip through Germany, we made a lot of restaurant choices. But before we stepped inside, we checked the front window for the menu.

Not just any restaurant would do. With two young children, we wanted a restaurant that offered a children’s menu or something plain in small portions. Several of us hoped for regional specialties. We sought places that didn’t cater only to tourists—or that cost a fortune.

Fortunately, the window menus gave an easy orientation. Ones printed in multiple languages signaled a tourist place. The menu at one castle’s restaurant priced their meals much too high. So we walked a few minutes to a placed that looked cozy. Their menu mentioned “Rinderroulade mit Apfelrotkolh und Grünen Klössen.” For me, this was the place!

That’s much like browsing for a book. People are hungry for something on your topic. Your book’s title and cover treatment prompt them to take a closer look.

Will your introduction and first chapter invite them inside?

As they read your first paragraphs, book browsers ask multiple questions.

Consciously or not, as they read your first paragraphs, book browsers ask multiple questions.

 • Can I relate to this presentation?
• Does the author know what he’s talking about?
• Will the information be reliable?
• Will the book say anything new?
• Will the scope and style meet my needs?
• Will I get a good return on my investment in this book?

No book will be a perfect fit for every reader. People come with different needs and preferences.

Your challenge is to make sure your first paragraphs convey an accurate sense of what you will explore and the approach you’ll take. Make sure your front-window menu conveys what people will find inside.

Whether your book offers fast food, slow food, regional specialties, or international fusion, potential readers need to know. They want to feel informed and welcome.

About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.

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