Archive for March 10th, 2014


“This isn’t a book to be tossed aside lightly.  It should be thrown with great force.”

So Dorothy Parker wrote in a book review.  But the kind of pitching I’m talking about is advertising.  As in how to talk up your own book.

Here’s my question:  If you could afford a good-sized advertisement in a publication, hard copy or electronic, what words would you use to pitch your book?

mad men

I’ve thought about how to advertise my latest manuscript / novel (which is in the still-trying-to-get-it-published-stage), and it ain’t easy. It’s like trying to write a fraction of a blurb.  The pitch should make readers cry out dramatically, “I MUST BUY THIS BOOK!” In this case, it’s my humorous historical novel, Charity MacCay and the Almighty Dollar.

Here’s what I came up with:

When Charity is good, she’s very very good. But when she’s bad she’s brilliant.

Thanks to Mae West for that slightly altered line. Then there’s this one:

Charity MacCay—a Gilded Age bad girl who keeps trying to be good. But being good in a bad world isn’t easy.

Not too original, that one—but is it still catchy?

Here’s the longest version:

Charity MacCay keeps trying to be a good girl.

Then she falls in love with a kind of bad man.

And she gets rich in a sort of bad way.

But when company men take her hard-earned money, she becomes very, very good at getting even.

I’m still working on these lines, and they make my books sound pretty lightweight.  In fact it’s an intelligent, fiercely researched book about the Gilded Age, Manhattan circa 1867-68, and America’s first corporate scandal.  But if I pitched it along these lines I’d sell maybe five, six copies.  And the fact is my novel is also a FUN read about an idealistic, impulsive young woman who rebels against the corset-tight rules of her times.

I’d really appreciate your feedback and tales of your own experiences.  How did you sum up your story in one or two attention-grabbing sentences?  Can it be done?

Have a great week.