‘Tis the season, right?
For mixing and mingling with family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. A time when both genuine interest and small talk could all lead to “the question.” The one we long to hear and hate to have to answer.
What is your book about?
I’ve witnessed (and been guilty of) two distinctly different kinds of answers, over and over again.
You love your story, your characters, the twists and turns, the little details…
and you want to share it all so you eagerly begin to spew something like the following:
Burn Me Now is a romantic suspense with a paranormal twist, and it’s the story of how Megan meets the man of her dreams, a sexy fire investigator, on the night her family home is burned to the ground and both her parents are lost in the blaze. The man suspected of setting the fire has already been stalking Megan for more than a year because she used to date his best friend, a guy who committed suicide when he was dumped at the altar. But what nobody knows is that the boyfriend was actually murdered because he was a witness to a different fire being set and was already on the investigator’s radar. The story gets really exciting when Megan notices something is off with her best friend—someone she’s known since kindergarten…. blah blah blah
Yep, the person who asked you about your book is now looking over your shoulder, desperately trying to signal her husband to come and rescue her. And, no way in hell she’ll ever buy the book or anything else by the author.
The other typical response to the question is that of an introvert backed into a corner,
or put on a stage and asked to talk about something highly personal.
Well, um. It’s about a woman being stalked by a man who set fire to her house.
Any of this sounding familiar?
Taking you back to moments you’d rather not think about? Remind you at all of those first pitches at conferences?
We’ve all been there.
Would you like to never again find yourself stumbling over words or unable to turn off the torrent?
It’s really not that hard, because there are magical ways to draw in a listener and make her beg for more—make her wave off any offer of rescue.
Magical, you say?
Yes, because YOU are someone who has managed to use the same twenty-six letters as everyone else and spin a completely unique and exciting tale …is that not magic? Do you not string letters and words together like a maestro does notes and chords?
Just like writing a book, or a song, preparing an answer to the question requires a some skills, lots of practice, and the odd misstep or two or twelve.
The first step is identifying your target audience—which applies no matter what you’re selling.
- When I ask a car salesman about a particular vehicle, I don’t want to hear about pistons, or spark plugs, batteries, cooling systems or the like. The savvy salesman assesses his target, skips the pesky details and tells me it can go zero to sixty in two point three seconds and holds the road like one of those fancy German models.
- When a literary agent asks about your book, he/she will definitely be interested in word count and genre, and premise.
- You neighbor’s second cousin who you’re meeting for the first time at a New Year’s party is probably more interested in whether it’s a small town romance, or a shapeshifter story, a second chance romance, or a cozy mystery.
A laundry list of characters and events is BORING, and a synopsis is not something Miss Potential Reader is generally interested in (even the word makes me shudder).
The best way to answer the question is with the first few lines of your back cover copy, or product description.
Example: “What is your book about?”
“Love, lust, and twisted truth. A sexy arson investigator, a stepbrother, and a man with a grudge stand between Megan and the quiet life she’s desperately longing for.”
If this description piques the interest of the listener, and she wants to hear more, then you should expand with something like this:
Readers are calling it a page turner because the mystery is very intriguing, and while the heroine knows her life is in danger, she has no clue whether the enemy is the sexy guy, or the creep, or someone else altogether.
This is a good time to stop and ask, “What do you like to read?”
Then just maybe, a natural conversation will flow, and neither you, nor the other person will be trying to find a way to gracefully become invisible.
So, what does this have to do with the workshop I’m presenting in January?
Everything. Back Cover Copy (Blurb, Jacket Copy, Product Description) is all about delivering what the reader wants and hooking them into buying the book, or at least opening it for a look inside.
Join me right here in January and we’ll spend four weeks together, building your Cover Copy from scratch. You will learn how to effectively write Cover Copy and Produce description in several lengths, using power words, cadence, and simple formulas.
Once you have mastered Back Cover Copy, you will have magic ready and waiting for the next time someone asks,
“What is your book about?”
Kathryn Jane writes page-turning mystery, adventure and romance in the form of Women’s Fiction, and Romantic Suspense. She also writes and narrates a wonderful collection of Short Stories about stray and feral cats. Her spare time (she says laughing), is spent spreading kindness and joy to family, friends, and strangers alike through her painted rocks and tinykittens.com
Living in the Pacific Northwest, Kat is blessed by being surrounded by everything she loves–the Pacific Ocean, the color turquoise, her aging but charming prince and his sappy dog, and of course, Miss Mavis, a grateful but opinionated feline who somehow ended up homeless in her senior years.
A love story of epic proportions.
On the back of a horse Dusty has skills equalling that of any man, but when her feet hit the ground, her ability to cope with reality is sadly lacking… until.
Until life slaps her so hard getting back up might not be possible.
Dusty’s new journey takes her from a ranch in western Canada to a reservation in New Mexico, and the discoveries she makes along the way are beyond life-changing, and a love like nothing she’s never imagined are the reward at the end of a rugged trail not meant for the faint of heart.