You’re passionate about your book’s subject. You want to emphasise how important your message is. Or you want to bring some enthusiasm and excitement to a topic you worry your readers will find dry and dull. The solution – an exclamation mark!
Or is it?
Readers understand that exclamation marks convey emotion. So when they see a sentence that ends with one, it flicks a little switch in their heads – ‘oh, this is supposed to have an impact. I should remember this.’ This makes the exclamation mark a useful tool for highlighting the most emotive, impactful statements in your book.
However, if you find yourself using them in sentences where you just want to sound a bit more enthusiastic, you fall into the exclamation mark black hole. You use one exclamation mark for enthusiasm. You then find a sentence you want to emphasise even more, so you use three exclamation marks. Then you write something that’s really important, so you use five … and all within a single paragraph.
The exclamation mark black hole is when, because you used single exclamation marks when they weren’t really necessary, you start using more and more to convey more emotion and emphasis.
Suddenly, you sound like a cheerleader, rather than a credible expert in your field.
Ultimately, it’s the role of your words to convey enthusiasm, emotion and emphasis – not an exclamation mark.
So when is an exclamation mark really necessary? Check out this infographic by HubSpot on when you should use an exclamation mark to find out.