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What Readers and Reviewers Look For In a Novel

Having read hundreds of books and written many reviews, I’ve realized that there are some things that authors may not consider as being important enough to include in a novel. Apart from the plot, characters, disclaimer, copyright, etc., there are some other options that either add credibility to a book or make it more interesting. Naturally, some readers, reviewers, and authors may disagree with this article hence I say that these inclusions are optional.

1. An attractive cover – the first impression. An attractive cover is often what attracts readers to a book; it should be eye-catching.

2. A descriptive title. The title is the best opportunity that you have to market your book and encourage readers. The title should indicate the genre of the story as well as the tone.

3. About the author. Include a paragraph about who the author is and what inspired them to write the story. Also their website or contact details in case the reader would like to find out what else the author has written and read previous reviews.

4. Age-appropriate. If there are profanities or erotic scenes that are not suitable for children then mention this in the introduction of your book. As a parent, it is important to know that our children are not subjected to anything beyond their age of understanding.

5. An index or table of contents. This is important especially for non-fiction books as readers sometimes need to refer to a specific section and it is easier to do with an index.

6. Quotes. Quotes help the reader to gain some insight into the plot or moral of the story, but not too many. I prefer two or three.

7. Preface. A preface helps the reader to understand the reason why the book was written and why the author could be a subject matter expert, especially for non-fiction books.

8. Dedication. Here is an opportunity for the author to honor any person or people to whom the book may be dedicated.

9. Thanks. Here the author can thank anybody who contributed to, inspired, or assisted with writing the book. Also, thank the reader for selecting your book to read.

10. Foreword. The foreword is written by someone else usually an expert, well-known person, critic, or author. A foreword adds credibility by praising both the author and the book. It is also used by publishers to increase book sales.

11. Reviews. Include two or three reviews written by one well-known person, one friend, and if possible another author. You can get reviews done before the book is published.

12. Prologue. Usually limited to fiction, a prologue is written from the point of view of one of the characters to bring a different perspective to the story. It provides the reader with additional information to assist with comprehension of the story, including the setting of the scene, previous events, or details about other characters.

13. Introduction. An introduction helps to engage the readers and encourages them to read the book.

14. A list of all the important characters. The characters drive the plot forwards and help the reader to experience the story through the eyes of your characters. It also helps the reader to remember “who is who”.

15. Epilogue. An epilogue is a narrative that provides the final conclusion to your story including what happened to each one in the end or after the story ends.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Natalie Soine