The First Impression: How to Get Your Novel Noticed with Stronger First Pages

The First Impression: How to Get Your Novel Noticed with Stronger First Pages

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  • Your are a writer who struggles with beginning your novels
  • You are a writer who ais unsure about how to improve your opening pages
  • You are a writer who wants to strengthen your opening pages
  • Your are a writer with strong ideas, who needs help implementing them


The first impression is sometimes your only impression.

Before an agent can fall in love with your project as a whole, they must first fall in love with your submission. Strong opening pages are essential to getting your submission noticed and read by an agent. If an agent isn't hooked by those first few pages, it's unlikely that they'll want to read more. So what makes some submissions successful, while others receive form rejections and never manage to make it out of the slush pile? What prevents agents from wanting to read beyond the first chapter? The first page? The first paragraph? The first sentence?

In this on-demand webinar, instructor and literary agent Annie Hwang (Folio Literary Management) teaches you how to make the first few pages of your manuscript shine. You learn how to craft opening pages that can capture and sustain readers' attention and compel them to keep turning the page. You gain insights as to how agents go through their slush pile and what they look for in the projects they want to pursue. By the end of the presentation, you know how to establish characters readers will care about, how to set the right pace for your story from the very beginning, and how to avoid common pitfalls that can get in the way of your literary ambitions.


  • What agents look for in the first few pages and why
  • How to present the best first pages of your manuscript to compel an agent to request to see more and continue the conversation
  • How to pique interest and sustain that interest beyond the first line
  • The appropriate length and tone of a first chapter
  • How to decide whether your novel begins in the right place
  • How to set a strong foundation for the rest of your story
  • The importance of showcasing your unique authorial voice
  • Common pitfalls that can bore, tire, irritate, or completely put off readers


Originally from Los Angeles, Annie Hwang first worked in journalism before moving to New York to pursue her love of books. Since joining Folio Literary Management she has had the pleasure of working with both debut and seasoned authors alike. Annie specializes in all categories of literary, upmarket, book club, and speculative fiction. She particularly enjoys working on historical novels and psychological thrillers. More than anything, Annie loves working with debut authors who have a gift for storytelling and can immerse her deep within a well-built world in the space of a few sentences. She is especially drawn to braided narratives, layered plots, and characters with deep emotional resonance. Annie also works on nonfiction in the categories of pop science, diet/health/fitness, food, lifestyle, humor, pop culture, and select narrative nonfiction.

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