Sizzling book descriptions…

I’m back from the cave (actually, we call it Nanna’s room, for when she visits—otherwise it’s where I write.)

I’ve finally pressed the upload button on Amazon, and Arafura – Unfinished Business (the sequel to Arafura – Blood, the Wet and tears) is floating in cyber-space, hopefully not like space junk.

Arafura – Unfinished Business will have the odd mistake. It hasn’t been ‘professionally’ edited, but a few generous souls have given it the once over, and made valuable suggestions. Overall, they have been very supportive (except the one who wanted to slap a main character, and thanks, that was constructive.)

Every time I edit, there’s still a full-stop or an extra space/letter/repeated word/verb that could be more active/passive voice/split infinitive/spelling-formatting error/quotation mark one space short/incorrect indent/inconsistent voice/joke too far or not funny enough, sentence starting with but ….

But I’m not going to wear my hair shirt over it. At recent editing training for work, the instructor discussed footage of JK Rowling with her editor – who told the author something like, ‘Ooops, here the person with one hand is clapping’, and, ‘You don’t need the whole of chapter three – remove it‘. ‘Okay,’ Ms Rowling said, cool as a cucumber. It’s reassuring, to hear that – cheaper than therapy.

Not being a tactical, military person who lives to play, and/or dream up war games and terrorist plots and shoot/apprehend/chase/blow-up criminals, I hope I’ve accounted for all guns/weapon/wounds where they should be, and when. I think my baddies are bad (they scared me anyhow – how did they sneak into my  romance??)—I’ve drawn on evil I’ve heard about first hand (thankfully not lived first hand). I’ve researched my gaps, interviewed experts, and hope the plot is compelling enough to make the reader suspend disbelief when necessary (as in James Bond movies etc., I can only wish…) Seriously, the things writers get away with…and isn’t a lot of fact stranger than fiction anyway?

I’ve grappled with swear words, suspense and sex, how far I want to go… I’ve tried to follow advice and amend my language to US style (alas, to no avail, and to be discussed in a future post).

I hope Arafura – Unfinished Business takes the reader on an emotional journey, of ups and downs, fear and hope, sexual tension, love, lust and hate, darkness and light; and I wouldn’t be satisfied if the reader didn’t emit the occasional snort of laughter from the banter between the two main characters. Goodness, I wish they would shut up – they are still carrying on – their voices in my head, like a travelling circus of boisterous characters on a steam train that takes ages to grind to a halt.


No, this is NOT the male lead …

Stories are like people, you can’t please everyone. Not everyone will like you/me, or my/your writing/hero-ine/ending/beginning/humor/’ham-fisted’ theme/sub-plot /partner/cooking/dog/fashion-sense/third-cousin removed. But diversity is the spice of life, is it not?

Anyhow, to the theme of this post – how to write a sizzling book description.  After a bit of research, it’s clear a description should have –

  • an implied whole story with a hook, or a question/itch that has to be answered/scratched
  • a story that moves the reader, takes the reader somewhere, and the read must be worth the emotional journey
  • a hero who offers conflict at a basic level, who can transform – one who has a primal goal everyone can identify with, and
  • something to offer the reader. Why should they bother reading the book?

Okay … how about this?

Love is patient. Love is kind. Sometimes love is explosive ….

Schoolteacher Katherine is kidnapped by terrorists outside a supermarket one balmy evening after being stalked by an unconnected, odious suitor – a police officer.

Soon Kat is caught up in a plot to wreak havoc in Darwin, her unruly emotions over the man who rescues her, and an ex-fiancé who refuses to move on.

As time runs out, how can they convince the authorities to take the terrorists’ plans seriously?

Arafura – Unfinished Business is a gritty romance with a bit of sex, dynamite, and hilarity – not always at the same time …

Any suggestions about what compels you to read a book?


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17 Responses to Sizzling book descriptions…

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Congratulations! I wish you well with your launch!

  2. What compels me to read a book? Well, let’s see… interesting characters, obviously – they don’t have to be nice, as long as I can believe in them Black comedy – I like to laugh and be scared at the same time – and I’m a sucker for the spiritual and supernatural. You’ve given me food for thought here! Good tips, too, very helpful and just at the right time, as I’ll soon be publishing a new book on Kindle.
    I know what you mean about finding more to correct with every edit, it could go on forever, but there comes a point where you just have to put it out there – which you have done. Wishing you the best of luck and every success!

  3. livelytwist says:

    Welcome back from the cave!
    The author, an interesting blurb, praise for the book, and recommendations from friends. This is because my time is so limited, I don’t have the luxury of being ‘adventurous’.

    I like the last paragraph of your book description, it’s definitely got a hook.
    Congratulations! I doff my hat to anyone who completes a book!

  4. Hi Timi, thanks. Glad you think the description has a hook. I know what you mean about limited time. I’ll only give a book the few minutes before I fall asleep to hook me. Cheers. 🙂

  5. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment Susan and finding out what happens next to Katherine. It will be holiday reading after I finish writing school reports. What entices me to read a novel is the secret hope I’ll learn something about how other people think. It mystifies me what is really going on in other people’s minds and authors reveal that a bit. Good authors anyway!

    • It’s fascinating to compare what others think to your own ideas/values etc, then ponder that, I reckon.

      My sister-in-law is in the throes of report writing, good luck with yours. 🙂

  6. I always have trouble with loglines. Good luck–I bet your book does really well 🙂

  7. I remember the first time I had to write a synopsis and how it scared the bejeebies out of me. It was for a 400 page tale. The next exercise was to write a three paragraph brief. Then a one paragraph summary. Next a three sentence pitch. And finally the hook or “logline.” I wrote a lot of stinkers. But the best help was scouring the library and bookstore shelves for stories whose jacket flaps captured me and trying to recognize a pattern. And then putting those tips to work for my own stories.
    It’s a skill and oftentimes a long process in developing it.
    Regardless, a huge congratulations on publishing your next book, Susan. Time to do a little happy dance!

  8. Vanessa Herrera says:

    that’s great i just got back on here too. i thought i had my blog but i guess i deleted it or it got deleted anyways. i just wanted to say that i been reading the book and i am loving it but i am taking my time to enjoy it because the first one i read it so fast ….this one i am reading a little every night…

    • Hi Vanessa. Yes, I lost your blog and wasn’t sure if you’d stopped writing? Don’t stop if you love it!
      So glad you’re enjoying the Arafura sequel so far… 🙂 🙂

      • Vanessa Herrera says:

        Hey I just got back on here rearranging my blog I missed it so much. I am going to continue and do a little every day and see how it goes. I hope your doing well and I still waiting on a 3rd book don’t forget to send me a copy because I want to review it. Lol take care now and talk to you soon.

  9. ChristineR says:

    You can cross split infinitves and beginning sentences with conjunctions off your editing list – not taboo these days. Congratulations on your second Arafura, Susan. It doesn’t take much to make me read on, but it’s a hard question to answer for one’s own novel. 🙂

    • Yes, I was told sentences can now start with ‘and’ and ‘but’. BUT try telling that to family! So good to hear about split infinitives, Christine, I didn’t know that. 100% eradication of passive voice is tricky too! Cheers 😄

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