Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Chime in on my book description: Part Deux

thumbsI took a little bit of advice from many different people and came up with this much shorter description for Yesterday Road. After spending some time on Amazon with a few of my favorite authors, I noticed that most of the descriptions for their books were under 200 words and there was no need to “see more.” This is probably important when you’re trying to attract readers who are skimming to find something new to buy.

Anyhow, here’s the short-but-sweet version:

Jack Peckham — in this “coming-of-old-age” tale — finds himself on a journey into his distant past, helped along the way by Joe Easterday, a young man with Down syndrome, and Ida Pevely, a middle-aged diner waitress with her own mountain of regrets. Jack has a hundred grand in cash that he can’t explain, since he can’t remember yesterday much less forty years ago. Setting out from Northern California for “points east,” he gets lost, carjacked, abandoned, and arrested, but he’s always homing in on the one object of his inner drive — home. With humor and plenty of unexpected turns, Kevin Brennan’s second novel is a lyrical and poignant story of memory and identity, of how it is the whole of experience — pain and sorrow along with love and pleasure — that gives life its fullness. We tow our histories behind us as we make our way down Yesterday Road.

Better? Worse? Needs something? Nailed it?

7 comments on “Chime in on my book description: Part Deux

  1. 1WriteWay
    June 28, 2013

    I like this much much better. That was a good idea to check out Amazon. I’m pretty much one of those people who doesn’t care to click “see more” 😉

    This description tells me enough to pique my interest, but not so much that I feel like I’ve already read the book. I like the twist on “coming of age.” That immediately sets me up to think the novel will have humor. One minor suggestion: I think the opening sentence might read better if it was “In this coming-of-old-age tale,” Jack Peckham finds himself …”. Right away I’m being hooked in with the twist on “coming-of-age,” and I think it reads more smoothly this way. But, take or leave my suggestion 🙂 And I love that last sentence! What a great summing up of the novel!

    I think you nailed it 🙂

  2. Kevin Brennan
    June 28, 2013

    Thank you, Marie! I like it better myself, since the basic thrust of the story is there without spoilers or too much complexity. I’ll play around with your idea about the opening…

    Hope your kitchen went well today!

  3. lnahay
    June 28, 2013

    I like it 🙂 Shorter is better, but the first and last sentences are awkward. Maybe: ‘In this coming-of-old-age tale (this is your hook line, as 1WriteWay noticed. You should start with it, and minus interrupting dashes), Jack Peckam…..past. (As he can’t remember his yesterdays) he is helped along the way by….’. I think you can leave out the ‘diner’ before waitress. I’m suggesting the ‘As he can’t….’ because you wrote something similar in the first blurb that really jumped out and grabbed me. I think you should keep that essence. Somehow, the last sentence doesn’t flow from the previous for me. Maybe it just needs to be its own paragraph? Good job! Writing these are SO much harder than writing the book itself!

  4. kateshrewsday
    June 29, 2013

    I never read the first description, Kevin, but this one makes me want to go and find out more. It works very well.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 29, 2013

      Thank you so much, Kate! A little more minor tweaking and I think it might be ready.

  5. sknicholls
    June 30, 2013

    I didn’t have a chance to read the first one either, but this one does make me want to read more. I was told, by Ionia Martin who reads and reviews a lot of books, to shorten mine down to 200 words (I think I made 261 from like 400+) when I first put my book out there. She told me to loose the parts where I was describing my writing and the work collectively and leave that up to the reader to assess and then it will show in reviews because everyone knows that authors write their own reviews and it might look like grand standing….unless I have some really good celebrity reviews or something from Kirkus that I want to include. I trimmed down the description, dropped the descriptions of my own work and included a couple of brief reviews by people with something of a credential and I saw an increase in sales immediately. I am so very grateful for her words.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 1, 2013

      Sounds like Ionia has it about right. From what I observed, 200 words seems to be the ceiling. Glad to hear your changes brought about new sales!

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2013 by in Publishing, Writing and tagged , , , , .
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