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So, what's your book about?


We’ve all been asked this question. A lot of us have answered with “Ummm, well it’s, ah …” After this we’ll ramble on vaguely for far too long, leaving the person asking none the wiser for all the words we’ve just thrown at them. In my case, no two answers are ever the same.

However, this simple question is surprisingly difficult to answer. How much is too much? How little leaves your potential reader floundering? The idea is to sell the essence of the book; to give them enough to pique their interest and leave them wanting more.

There are plenty of theories as to what constitutes a good pitch. ‘Fifty words in 30 seconds’ is often touted as the perfect balance of content over brevity. But what I’m talking about here isn’t a pitch in the true sense. You’re not trying to get a publisher to accept your manuscript, you’re trying to get one person interested enough to know more about your book and to then go on to buy it.

Big difference given how few words.

It’s an exercise that the writers’ group I belong to has been grappling with recently. We’ve now completed two rounds and we all admit we’ve still got work to do with the amount of crafting required far outweighing the small number of words involved.

At our last get together we realized that 30 seconds was too long, with listeners glazing over. We’re now looking at one, pithy, sentence and not too long a one at that. Here’s my latest for Dietvale, the comic horror I’m currently working on.

So, Andrene, what’s your book about?”

“It’s one woman’s journey from lard arse to kick arse while on a diet of B-List Celebs.”

I’m closer than I was, but I’ve still got more work to do.

Once I’ve finalised that, I can move onto a longer piece that goes into greater detail but that doesn’t give the whole plot away because we’re still talking about a lot less than the Reader’s Digest condensed version.

So, what’s your book about?

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