What Makes a Novel a No. 1 Fantastic Page Turner?
If you are a reader or a writer, one sentence will mean a lot to both camps. “It’s a page turner.” Books described as a page turner to an avid reader means they’re going to take a close look at the book in question. To an author, if your book is described in a review as a page turner, well, that’s almost like winning the lottery… not that I’ve ever won the lottery, but I have now joined the page turner elite, almost. I’m at the ‘I couldn’t put it down’ level on the ladder to indie author success.
If you have no idea what The Brittle Sea is, then where have you been this past few months? The Brittle Sea I published at the end of June 2020 and is book one in a trilogy. So far I’ve received multiple five & four star reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads from around the world. So my book seems to have almost hit the sales nail on the head and met with some good responses from readers, for which I’m grateful. If you haven’t read it, dear reader, where are you hiding? But, is it a page turner? Apparently not quite because no reviewer has so far described it as such. We will wait and see.
Marketing your novel
Marketing a novel as an Indie Author isn’t the easiest of career choices. Some indies do very well, but the vast majority struggle for sales. All I can say is, persevere. It’s taken me around a decade to be able to say my book sales are in the thousands, but that’s over a lot of titles, not just one. The Brittle Sea is different. I can see it’s doing better even during the off-peak period of the summer and I can feel the vibe coming through on the reviews so far.
I’m hoping from now through to Christmas and the New Year that I’ll do well with TheBrittle Sea. There is of course a fly-in-the-ointment and that’s Covid-19. Sales for all authors went up quite a bit at the beginning of the year due to lockdown, but that’s now changed dramatically for many indie authors as people seem to be fed up with reading and are turning to binge watching series on Netflix and other TV channels. I know of some people who have binge watched the latest series of The Crown, then went back to the beginning and started again.
That aside, I can’t sit back on any laurels. I have to write the sequel, The Brittle Land. I know I have readers out there who are asking when it will be released… that in itself is something of a novelty! I’m hoping to have The Brittle Land out by late December 2020 or early January 2021. After that the final part of the trilogy, The Brittle Sky should be released in the spring of 2021.
So far The Brittle Land 1st draft stands at 65 % completed. But it’s a long way from being finished. Then I will have at least another three drafts to go through and lots of proofing and editing.
So when it comes to marketing your novel, what’s the best approach. I wrote a piece earlier this month and I would suggest you take a look at that by clicking here. There are of course many, many more posts on the internet by authors giving their take on how to market a novel. My approach has been to test some of these ideas out over the years and see what works for me. If you’re a multi-genre writer like me, then it pays to look for information on marketing specific to a genre.
Is your novel a page turner?
But back to the original point to this blog piece. What makes a novel a page turner? It’s a fair question for any writer to ask and to be honest, its only a question you, the writer of your novel, can answer. But, and it’s a big but, your idea of a page turner is not necessarily going to be your next door neighbour’s or your partner’s idea of a page turner.
That’s the problem when you’re dealing with humans, we are all different and we like or hate different things. Your job is to make your page turner appeal across as wide a base as possible. That’s part of the reason we use editors and multiple draft copies, as well as beta readers. It will give you, the author, a different perspective on your writing. That’s because it’s you who is putting together your story and only you will be able to write something that makes your reader want to continue reading.
Think of a page turner like the hook in the blurb on the back cover of a novel. The hook is the book cover coupled with the blurb on your novel. That hooks your potential reader in. You need to create something akin to this hook (in words) at the end of a page, and no, I don’t mean every page should be a page turner. But there should be the page turner hook at least at the end of each chapter.
I’ve read a few page turners, but I’ve also read some badly put together works that I’ve struggled to get past the first page. Indeed, I know of one novel that I didn’t get beyond the first paragraph.
What makes a novel a fantastic page turner? You’re guess is as good as mine but I would bear in mind that how you describe your novel to your readers in the first place is critical. No good describing it as a sci-fi epic when it is in fact a horror fest, or a great love story where the lovers hardly interact.
Here’s a good example from my own stable of books. Operation Werewolf was my first novel and quite a good seller. But it’s the only book I’ve written where readers asked for their money back. Why did they do that? Because despite the blurb explaining it was about German partisan resistance at the end of World War 2, a small handful of readers thought it was a horror novel because it said Werewolf on the front cover. It seems some people will read words, but don’t actually take them in.
What makes a novel a fantastic page turner? Good luck with an answer to your question, because only you can answer it.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2020
The Brittle Sea is book 1 in a trilogy of historical fiction, romance and drama.
The Titanic disaster is the catalyst that sparks a bloody feud between two families in early 20th century America.
Genre: Women’s Fiction. Historical Fiction. Historical Romance. Drama