Time is tick ticking away until release day for The Undead Mr. Tenpenny (Book One of the Cassie Black Trilogy). This means I’m floundering between being ecstatic, feeling as stunned as a possum facing down a pair of headlights, and doubting every little thing I’m doing for the release.
And one of those “little” things is the book description.
Many indie authors will tell you they dread writing their book descriptions — that’s the little blurb of text on the back of the book or on the book’s page on a retailer’s website.
Why is that? Why the pressure? We’ve written an entire book, why should a few paragraphs send us into paroxysms of panic (and yes, I’m feeling quite proud that I spelled paroxysms correctly on the first try!).
Because those teeny tiny paragraphs have to do so much. They need to hook you from the first sentence, drive up your curiosity without revealing too much about the plot, and they need to convince you to scroll back up and click that lovely little Buy button.
I’ve Got a Secret
But I’ll tell you a little secret…I kind of like writing these things. Doing them for all of my short stories has really helped drive away some of the fear and it’s been a great way to get some practice.
Still, description writing is a chore and I can never truly know if the results are going to work until I test them out.
Your Opinions, Please
All of which is my long way around of asking you for your opinions on the description and tagline I’ve written for The Undead Mr. Tenpenny.
I’ll also be doing this for the other two books in the trilogy, but I want to focus on this description since it’s crucial I nail this one. Because trust me, once readers get hooked by this book (Book One), they won’t be able to resist Books Two and Three.
The folks on my mailing list have already had a crack at this and have come up with some great ideas, but I can always use more.
So, are you ready to put on your critic hats? Then let’s go.
I’m not going to describe anything of the plot or the genre. some of you may know a little bit about the books, but I want you to come into this just like someone would who was browsing the book store and had no familiarity with Cassie Black.
First up, the tagline…
This is just a single snappy sentence where I’m trying to pique someone’s interest. I’m trying to decide between…
A: Life would be so much easier if the dead would just stay dead.
OR B: There’s nothing like the undead to upend your life.
Which makes you more curious? Which would make you keep reading the rest of the description?
And here’s the description…
Cassie Black works at a funeral home. She’s used to all manner of dead bodies. What she’s not used is them waking up.
Which they seem to be doing on a disturbingly regular basis lately.
Cassie thinks she has the problem under control until the recently deceased Busby Tenpenny wakes, claims he’s been murdered, and believes Cassie might be responsible thanks to a wicked brand of magic she’s accidentally been exposed to.
Eager to get Busby back to being dead and to keep the health authorities at bay, Cassie finds herself pulled into a world she never knew existed. There’s witches, potions, charms, and pastries. Oh, and there’s an evil wizard after her. Because there’s always an evil wizard, isn’t there?
The only way for Cassie to save the funeral home and get her life back to normal is to tame her magic and uncover Mr. Tenpenny’s true killer.
Of course not. What kind of story would that be?
Because while Cassie works on getting her newly acquired magic sorted, she’s blowing up kitchens, angering an entire magical community, and discovering her past is more closely tied to Busby Tenpenny than she could have ever imagined.
If you like the urban fantasy and paranormal mystery of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, the irreverent humor of Christopher Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends, and can appreciate a well-placed Hogwarts reference, you won’t be able to put down this first book of the Cassie Black Trilogy.
Grab your copy of The Undead Mr. Tenpenny to find out what it really takes to Keep Portland Wyrd.
- Winner of the Novel Excerpt Prize from the League of American PEN Women
- Finalist in the Yeah You Write Novel Contest
Thoughts? Too long? Too short? Does it make you curious? Does it leave you flat? Would you consider buying this book if you came across this description? Or would you move on with your book hunting?
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9 thoughts on “Cassie Black: The Description Decision, Part 1”
I can’t decide which tagline I like better. They are both great. I like the description too, makes me want to read that book!
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Well, that’s a good start!
I like tagline B a smidge more. The description is good and gives you a good idea of what the book is about but is a bit long in my opinion.
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Thanks, Jonny. I agree it’s too long. Time for some chopping!
Yeah, even for full length books I would keep it to two short paragraphs, maybe a little longer than that if needed but not too much. Lol sorry I’m super opinionated
No problem. I feel like I’m doing nothing right with these books, so I’m sure the entire description will get ditched.
Aww, you will figure it out I promise. Writing blurbs is always super hard for me too.
Tagline A for me.
I agree with Jonny that the description is good but a bit long. However, it does give a flavour of your writing style. I think there is a repetition in para 4 (Eager to get Busby back to being dead ….) and para 8 (Because while Cassie works on getting her newly acquired magic sorted,….). Perhaps cut para 4?. BTW, seeing the three books together on your sidebar confirms that you made the right decision about the covers. They look great!
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Thanks Anne! I think I like Tagline A better too and completely agree the description is too long. I was giving it a look this morning and think there’s an entire paragraph I can chop without losing anything. Sometimes you just get ideas in your head for concepts/phrases you want to include, so then it comes down to who makes the cut. As they say, “Kill your darlings.”
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