Generate a hook for your book: 5 ways to make This meet That

A this-meets-that hook, which I mentioned earlier, is where you introduce your book by way of comparing other novels, series, authors, or films. It’s a great way to offer a recognizable frame of reference for your story, and because a this-meets-that is compelling, agents and publishers eat it right up. Since it can’t hurt to have one in your Query Letter, here are a few ways to generate one:

1)      Mix it up. Use different media types, genres, etcetera. Your pool of options will increase if you include films, video games, and TV shows in your comparison—and a science fiction novel can still be similar to a romance. Most importantly, don’t forget the classics! It doesn’t all have to be contemporary.

2)      Make two halves into a whole. Find two books that are like yours but go in opposite directions from one another; if they were to meet in the middle, your book would be the result.

3)      Think of structure, tone and voice. You don’t have to make content both halves of the meeting; one half can simply be the way it sounds or looks. Do you have Catch-22’s sardonic tone? A free verse structure like Out of the Dust?

4)      Copy and paste. Take two completely different parts of a story and put them together. Things you can explore can be main characters, stakes, plot twists, magic types, premises, settings, and more. Does your book have the setting of Avatar, but a main character like a Dementor?

5)      Increase the tempo. Use another work as a jumping-off point, where yours takes changes something significant or explores a different outcome. Is it a space story like the Firefly series, but where the characters all get caught?

In the end, you know your book better than anyone. When you find the best this-meets-that, it will just feel right.

-Frustrated Intern

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4 thoughts on “Generate a hook for your book: 5 ways to make This meet That

  1. Coming up with a hook is so hard, especially with so many opinions on what it should look like. I’ve seen comparisons suggested before, but you gave really concrete examples on how to do it. Thanks!

    1. You’re welcome! I think the largest problem with making these comparisons is that most authors try to take two books that collide to form their book; they try to only use books, not other media, and they don’t explore different aspects of the novel, just its whole. Doing those two things instead really opens up the options!

  2. I like these tips!
    haha my book is basically A Tale of Two Sisters meets Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue…sorta
    a Korean horror and a version of that famous kid’s show with an unusual anti-hero mixed in.

    1. That’s a great comparison! That would interest an agent right away; the sheer difference of the two things being brought together would inspire curiosity.

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