By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
For kids, school is ending and they’re heading out for their summer fun. Packed inside their backpacks are books from their summer reading list.
As adults, it’s time for you to make your own list.
Here’s why: to be a great writer, continue to be a great reader. I along with countless guests I’ve interviewed on the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show say it time and time again. Being an avid reader only helps to make you a great writer.
Here are some tips to guide you with building your summer reading list:
- What interests you right now? If you want to learn more about a particular topic, then turn to the bookshelf and make your list.
For example, if you’re figuring out what to do to make money online, then check out the books from this week’s show guest, Joel Comm, and get more familiar with The AdSense Code, Twitter Power 2.0 and his new book, KaChing: How to Run an Online Business That Pays and Pays.
If you have the interest, someone who has been successful with it has a book on the shelf somewhere that you can read.
- For a good story, look to the fiction books that have hit the shelves and the best seller lists. If you have a particular genre that intrigues you like a whodunit, a romance novel or even a young adult vampire thriller, there are plenty of books ready to read and available to pack in your briefcase or tote bag for the beach.
- Sit down with your kids and take a look at what’s on their list. Do they have some classics that you can read together? Perhaps they might have more fun reading their list if they know some of those books are on yours. The added benefit comes when you can engage in a conversation with your kids about Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights or Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
- Read books in the genre you want to write in. If you are writing a novel, then read a good one. Take a peek at what’s selling and see how those stories have been structured and presented.
If you want to write a nonfiction book about your subject matter expertise, pick up some great nonfiction books and see how the information has been stitched into a great read and an effective reference for the reader. This is an excellent way to see how others have turned their passions into a book project, just like Joel Comm did.
If you’re writing a children’s book, it’s time to go to a children’s activity and connect with your audience in real life. Plug into story times at the local library or bookseller when oftentimes there are story readers and authors who provide great events for kids. Live a little in the outcome of your efforts and watch the children’s faces light up with laughter at the wonderful story being shared.
- What hooks you? Your book is your hook, I always say, so what is hooking you about the books on your list? What moves you to choose them? This is a perfect way to dig down deep and understand firsthand how a hook works. Realistically, you’re not going to read every book on the best seller list. Instead, you’re going to choose the ones that grab your interest…and hook you.
Notice what is at the core of why you’re picking each book. Is it the story? The title? The author? The cover? The fact that it’s on a particular list? Is there a book review you read on the back cover that encouraged you to buy it? Or did someone tell you, “Hey, you’ve just got to read this book!” Or maybe you’re in a book club and someone chose it for your group. Find out what hooked them and why they selected it. This is one of the best ways to clearly understand how hooks work—by watching your own behaviors around the books that hook you.
Summer is a wonderful time for writing. It’s also a great opportunity for reading. Just like years ago when you were on break from school, craft your own list this summer and enjoy the many benefits that will come from reading the books that hook you and make it on to your own summer reading list.