Friday, February 8, 2019


Does Saying it Succinctly Sell the Book? By Debra H. Goldstein

I wish I could give an elevator speech or explain something succinctly. Writers are supposed to boil ideas and descriptions into log lines and blurbs. In fact, if you can’t explain your concept or premise in a few words, you are told your work probably is too convoluted.

When asked about my new book, One Taste Too Many, I ramble. I mention it involves twins. I tell people how I hate to cook and how Sarah Blair, the protagonist, is a cook of convenience – she brings take-out in and prefers recipes that include already prepared ingredients like Spinach Pie made wish Stouffers Spinach Souffle. Her twin is a gourmet cook. Trying to entice would be readers, I explain that after a divorce, Sarah must discover the resiliency to stand on her own two feet while solving the murder of her ex-husband because her twin has been accused of being the perpetrator. Perhaps I should stop at this point, but I keep on talking.

My publisher, Kensington, nailed the log line (and sometimes I even remember to say it):


For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!
They even gave me a blurb to use with the logline:

For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!
Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired town she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant.
Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

 When I can stick to the blurb, I sound intelligent, but that doesn’t happen often. Plus, when I’m asked to blurb the book in writing, I feel like this is too long, so I end up cutting it down to read:

For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!
Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by her twin sister’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and her sister wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen! 
Do you have trouble writing loglines and blurbs? As a reader, do you bother with them or do you simply thumb through the book or look at the cover to decide if you want to read it? 
One Taste Too Many:


2 comments:

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  2. I share this problem too, Debra. I have found that I boil down my first two older books better and better over time. I wish it didn't take years though! I have your book and it is in my TBR pile beside my bed. I subscribe to that tagline SO MANY BOOKS SO LITTLE TIME. How true, how true, darn it. Good luck with your new book, my dear.

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