What can be more infuriating to a potential purchaser of a non-fiction book than chapter headings which give no clue as to their contents? After all, if someone is looking in the non-fiction section of a book store, it implies they want facts, not a fancy and "clever" table of contents! Here are 4 sure-fire ways to make your text grab the reader's attention:
1. Make sure the text on the front and back covers is compelling. It should state plainly and simply what the book is about. For example: "Buy this book, and learn how to master the craft of teaching in 15 lessons".
2. Why should anyone buy the book from YOU? Don't waste limited space on the back cover telling the potential reader about your 3 cats ? unless it's a book about cats, of course! Write something like: "The author has been a practising teacher for 13 years, and writes regularly for the Teaching Times."
3. Organise the table of contents so that the chapters fall into easily-identifiable sections. For example: "Section 1: Before you face your first class; Section 2: The first year" and so on.
4. Make sure that the chapter headings actually MEAN something. You may think it's great to have chapters like "All that glitters" and "Every cloud has a silver lining", but I' have news for you: nobody else is impressed! When people are browsing they want to know right away what they will get for their money if they buy the book. They don't have time to look at each chapter to find out what it's about. The chapter headings should tell them everything they need to know. For example, have chapters like: "Chapter 3: Maintaining order in your classroom; Chapter 4: Where to find excellent resources for your lessons", and so on.
You have just a few seconds to impress a potential buyer. Don't waste them!
Terry Freedman has nearly thirty years experience in education, and nearly 20 years experience as a writer. A member of the UK's Society of Authors, Terry has had around a dozen books published, and over 800 specialist articles in leading newspapers and magazines. His website provides free access to many of his articles, a free newsletter and more, or visit his blog.