10 Seconds to Rule Them All…

The first 10 seconds of an online video will make or break you.  So what does this mean for writers and bloggers?

While conducting research for school, I came across this article from Ad Age. The article, by Mary Pedersen, shares the harsh truth about just how long viewers will give your online video before moving on.

*Cue drumroll*

Ten seconds.  You have ten seconds to grab their attention and 30 seconds before you already lose 33 percent of your viewers.  Your viewership continues to drop steadily after that.  By one minute you have lost 45 percent and by two minutes you have lost 60 percent.


Image from Ad Age and research from Visible Measures


So what does this mean for us writers and bloggers?

  • If we ever do a video post, we better make those first 10 seconds as addicting as chocolate.

  • I would venture to say a similar rule of thumb applies to blog posts.  Don’t “click bait” your audience with a misleading title (people tend to get annoyed at this), but make sure you’ve made those first few lines of your post “sexy.”  People are intrigued, they want more… oooh la la.


  • The importance of the first few sentences in a query letter has never been clearer.  If we are only giving videos 10 seconds, we probably aren’t giving query letters much time either.  Not to stress all of us aspiring authors out or anything, but we better make that letter sing!

Again, I’m making a leap here from a study done on online videos, but with how many query letters agents get in a year (this agent reported 3,000), it makes sense that they probably move quickly through these letters.

Just like the first 10 seconds of a video, I think the first few sentences of a query letter are equally important.  An agent isn’t required to finish reading our letter, so we have to make them want to!


image2 (10)

Time flies, so we better move fast!


  • Lastly, when querying you often send the first 10 pages or so to the agent.  Ten pages to draw them in and hook them!
    • Maybe our own literary “ten second rule” has been there all along… titled something along the lines of, “the ten page rule of thumb for novels.”  This doesn’t mean we have to all start our novels with epic battle scenes etc., but it does mean we better spin a rich and immersive story from the first sentence on!

image3 (6)

*I couldn’t resist the Lord of the Rings play on words for the title…. Nerd alert, I know!*


3 thoughts on “10 Seconds to Rule Them All…

  1. Cameron D Hamilton says:

    This is a really interesting piece. I’m still working on mastering the hook for my posts. I have always lived by a rule of the first 33 pages in a novel it’s something my English teacher told me when I was much much younger. The rules for blogging are a little more vague just because of the varied content that can come from them but this is a wonderful analysis. Certainly gave me a lot to think on. Oh the LoTR name play was a great idea, let your nerd cred fly!!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Cameron D Hamilton says:

        It’s kept me right over the years it’s the only useful thing I took from that teacher. I’ve not even started worrying or analysing stats I’m working on consistency and hopefully quality. Oh if it wasn’t way past my bedtime I’d be indulging in some LoTR right now, that hook worked on me!!

        Liked by 1 person

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