Sunday, 10 June 2012

Abstract: The Story or the Hype?

By the time your book is finished and almost ready for publication, the publisher (and sometimes even the cover designer) will want to have the abstract for the back cover of your novel. We all know that it is the cover of the book that makes someone pick it up from all the others on the bookshelf - even an ebook bookshelf. The decision to buy then rests on the abstract of the book printed on the back, or the inside of the dust cover.

Unless you are a famous best-selling author, it is those few words that will convince a potential reader to buy your book. Those 100 to 150 words that could say so much, and yet can also be construed as just a load of hype. Where do you draw the line?

As with the first chapter, you want to hook your reader into reading the next chapter, and the next. The same applies to the abstract: you want to grab the attention of a potential reader, and yet you shouldn’t give away the whole plot.

Of course, with a romance novel, a happy ending is expected, but the abstract should entice the reader to take the journey with your hero (or heroine) on his quest to win the fight, and the heart of his true love. In a mystery novel, the sense of the unexpected remains the ultimate thrill on this ride to finding whodunnit.

The abstract of Keeper of the Dragon Sword has a long way to go still, and that selection of words will require some fine tuning to make sure that just the right balance can be found to tell the story, and yet not give away Elizabeth's battle to be the Dragon Master.