Back in October, I covered the idea of writing a summary of your story in my post Jumpstart #4: Know What Your Story is About. My main focus was mostly on a summary helping us drill down to the essence of our story and use it as a guide for writing it.
Recently I was listening to a podcast interview with Rob Eager, a marketing consultant who deals with authors and others, and one of the tips he gave was to answer the question all consumers have: “What’s in it for me?” rather than just telling people what the book is about. Another way to look at it is whether the book is worth their money and the time it will take to read it.
With a little more digging, I found another quote from him related to this topic:
“Focus less on describing a book’s theme or plot. Focus more on telling the reader how they will be informed, inspired, or entertained.”
What’s interesting about this statement is that he doesn’t say “DON’T describe a book’s theme or plot. Clearly he believes that should be part of it and I know as a consumer of books myself, I do want to know what the book is about, plot/theme-wise.
But what about that second part? How can I incorporate the value of the book in my description of it?
Lets look at that criteria as a series of questions we must answer.
- How would a reader be inspired by my book?
- How would a reader be informed by my book?
- How would a reader be entertained by my book?
- How might a reader be changed by my book?
Next week I’ll try to answer that question for one of my books and come up with a new summary that incorporates these ideas in addition to a brief summary of the story. I hope you’ll do the same.