Today, let’s try a fun exercise to ramp up your book description in your proposal, which may in turn help your publisher’s marketing team ramp up your book sales!
When a man gives a woman a large ring, she is torn about telling him about her past. What she doesn’t know is that he has a secret, too.
Note that this example doesn’t hint at the book’s setting or time period. Though a timeless story is always great, readers still want to know right away where they’re landing. This story could take place almost any time and anywhere from Bible times to contemporary New York. An author can’t depend on a book cover to anchor the reader. It’s the author’s job to entice the reader. And other than the fact both the hero and heroine have secrets, we know nothing else about them. They have no personality. As a reader, I’d be likely to move on to the next book.
When dark-eyed Byron returns to Boston and surprises shy blonde Promisina with a marriage proposal sealed with his grandmother’s large cluster diamond ring, she’s torn. Should she reveal the secret she’s held close to her heart ever since The Incident that happened after The Great War? But Promisina doesn’t know that the ring is not a symbol of Bryon’s true wealth — or his love. He must stop at nothing to convince Promisina to marry him right away, or he will lose everything — even his life.
This example offers a setting, a time period, a brief description of the hero and heroine, a significant detail about the ring, curiosity about The Incident, and the hero’s high-stakes motive. Granted, this plot will not appeal to every reader, but the blurb offers a chance to make a pretty good assessment of the book so the potential reader can decide whether or not to purchase.
Here’s another bland entry:
A man is called to go on a journey to find a missing woman, but he is forced to take his bratty and demanding sister along.
How can you improve on the better version of Byron and Promisina’s story?
Using either bland entry, write a better blurb.
A practical and instructive post. I will try.
“After an online courtship that went strangely silent, Blake determines to head to the Alaskan wilds in search of Samantha. He let her slip away once and it wasn’t happening again. But then there was Cecilia, no longer the sweet child Samantha had known but a raging fourteen year old little sister for whom he was the sole guardian. His sister would have to go with him kicking and screaming all the way. As the journey progresses, a much higher agenda for all three lives emerges requiring sacrifices and tough choices for all.”
Sandy Faye Mauck
Thomas Holden saddles up to a hard enough task—to retrieve a rancher’s niece from the clutches of a madman, something he has accomplished many times with some difficulty. But when his hard-headed, mouthy kid sister follows him and he if forced to take her along for the ride, he has more problems than he expected. And when the cowgirl ends up being an old flame, the sparks ignite in every direction and there is much more trouble than he bargained for.
The young and, seemingly, awkward, aspiring detective had finally landed his first assignment after following his gut, and secretly dropping out of law school to start his own private investigation business. Hired by a rich entrepreneur, desperate to find his missing finance, the newbie PI was eager to solve the case, and prove to his family that he was the next Sherlock Holmes. Incognito in a public meeting with a potential suspect, his disguise is nearly compromised when his younger sister runs into him, questioning why he isn’t in school. Threatening to reveal his secret to their folks, he reluctantly agrees to allow her to tag along for the case if she keeps quiet. What he doesn’t realize is that his annoying comrade just might be the Watson he never expected.
Tamela, call it what you will–elevator pitch, high concept description, blurb. Every writer should have this on the tip of their tongue for every one of their books. Thanks for a practical post.
After Kenzi had thrown his ring at him and caught a flight for LA, Alfred Jamison breathed a sigh of relief. Good riddance. But that phone call last night from her mom had haunted him throughout the day. Kenzi gone? Where to? He turned in his notice at the New York Street Department, gathered all the cash he lay his hands on, hopped in his 1996 Honda Accord and headed west.
He was just outside Pittsburgh when Erica popped up in the back seat. “Hey, big brother. Where are we off to?”
Another Blog Reader
Joe wins. That was awesome.
Tamela Hancock Murray
Thank you all so much for participating. I love all these ideas!
When handsome young Byron stepped aboard the Empress of Britain on that drizzling foggy morning in 1912, he knew what he must do if he ever hoped to set eyes on his beautiful Promisina again. His family was so different from hers. His was a long line of powerful, wealthy cattle ranchers with vast holdings spreading their greedy fingers over the English countryside. Hers was a line of humble farm workers; a family of good people who’d come to England from their tiny Italian village to labor in the employ of his father’s ranch. But something was very wrong, and Byron knew he must set out on his own across the cold Atlantic in search of hope and freedom for himself and Promisina. He’d give her the ring when he sent for her…if only it wasn’t too late.
Heather Day Gilbert
Here’s my stab at the last bland blurb…
When Kelsie Morone decides to get even with her cheating boyfriend, she’s willing to go to any extreme–even faking her own kidnapping.
Tate Haywood enjoys his exorbitant Manhattan lifestyle and needs his girlfriend’s money to maintain it. But when he receives a call from China that Kelsie has gone missing, he drops everything, dragging his hanger-on sister along for a redeye to Singapore.
As Tate plunges into dirty back alleys and withstands waves of demands from his spoiled sister, he’s shocked to discover he loves Kelsie for more than just her money…but will he find her before her kidnapping scheme goes horribly wrong?
Heather Day Gilbert
And OOPS I meant redeye to Hong Kong but Singapore could work too…it’s a long trip! 🙂