Ever heard of book reviews in video format?
This whole concept was new to me. I was just doing an (ahem) vanity search, and came across this YouTube review of THE FLOATING ISLANDS.
I wonder if there are many *readers* who find a video book review more interesting or compelling than a written review? Anyway, since the reviewer loved ISLANDS, naturally I approve of the review! Has anybody else ever listened to a YouTube book review, or even known that there were such things?
Elevator pitches: Or how to talk about your book really really briefly. I can’t even describe how horribly difficult I find this. There is totally a market for anybody really gifted at coming up with catchy titles and one-sentence summaries and such.
This post is actually about the paragraph-long summary, but that’s not a huge improvement. Susan Morris says: “Your story is complicated! It has layers! It is inexpressible in a measly paragraph. (Hence: book.)” And, well, yeah. Exactly.
I like the way Morris breaks elevator pitches down into types:
a) The x-meets-y summary. It’s like Highlander meets Black Swan . . . in space!
b) The Sound-Bite Summary, where in 100 words or less you provide “one sentence of premise, one or two sentences of complicating factors, and, if you’re talking to an editor or agent, one sentence about the resolution (you may want to skip that part if talking to a reader!).”
c) The accurate descriptive tag. “It’s a YA paranormal western novel with steampunk elements.”
And I think Morris’ last suggestion is really funny:
“Seriously? Sometimes? The easiest way to get a good pitch is to hand it to a trusted friend and see what they say it’s about. I mean think about it: you’ve been in the trenches of your book for so long, you hardly know what it’s about any more! You’re too close. Like how picking out gifts for someone close to us is somehow always infinitely harder than picking out a gift for someone about whom we know two things: they like bears and tea (shiny new bear tea cup, here we come!). So give it to a friend who doesn’t know your book—and then ask them to read it and tell you what it’s about. You may just be surprised at the eloquence of the answer.“
I get that! I never know what my big themes are until someone points them out to me. Then I’m all like, “Yep, I did that on purpose!”
Here’s an interesting and (for me) unanswerable survey from Nathan Bransford. I have no idea when I will finally get an e-reader. Maybe when Martha Wells’ Raksura novellas come out only in e-form next year? And even when I have an e-reader, I have no idea when or if I’ll eventually switch to buying mostly e-books.
It’s interesting to see the changing responses to this question, though. Nathan’s been doing this survey since 2007. In e-reader terms, that’s practically forever.