Question: If you were browsing through a bookstore and read the blurb below would you buy the book?
The character-driven novel “XXX”* brings a distinct knowledge of literature and literary convention together with current knowledge on crime, punishment and “green” architecture.”
A friend who works with writers sent me this one sentence summary a client provided about her book. I scratched my head reading it. What did all these words strung together mean? I was puzzled but not tempted to buy the book. Only the author’s mother could love this gobbledygook.
To my friend’s credit, he wrote a cogent response:
Who are these characters and what are they like? Is this novel a meditation on literature, architecture, or a crime story? At bottom, what sets it apart? Is it the characters or you who “bring a distinct knowledge of literature, etc..” Breathe life into the description.
The mistake many beginning writers make is to exhaust themselves creating their books and then failing to find the right words to sell it. Hollywood knows the value of a good pitch. Their promos are sometimes better than their movies. So here’s a piece of advice to everyone who’s written the great American novel. Your work isn’t ended when the book is finished. It’s just begun. No matter how brilliant the pages are between the cover, the jacket is where to cast your line. If the words don’t hook there, you’ll never catch a reader.
(Courtesy of outdoorsurvey.com)