How to Write a Description For the Back Cover of Your Novel

Writing a Book Description?

Here are some ideas that might help. I’ve shared my book description (blurb) for DESCENT, the first novel in The Stone Mountain Mystery series, below and outlined how we arrived at the final description.

Step One: Decide what you want to tell the reader. You want to give away enough to intrigue the reader but not so much that you take away from the suspense. I was tempted to put too much information in the description and pulled back a bit.

The goal of DESCENT’s description is to give the potential reader the idea that:

  • Kalin Thompson is the protagonist
  • The story takes place in a remote mountain resort
  • The crime is a murder
  • The victim is a talented ski racer
  • Ongoing conflict between Kalin’s boyfriend and her boss will be a struggle for Kalin

Once you know what you want to say,  write, rewrite and rewrite again.

Step TwoDecide who your audience is. For me, I want an international audience. How does that affect the description? I’d used RCMP in the description? You’ll see below that RCMP is now cops. RCMP is a very Canadian acronym. My bad for assuming it was a world-wide term 🙂

Step Three: Get feedback from anyone you trust. Then write, rewrite and rewrite again.

Final Product: The idea behind the two paragraph description below is if we need a short version, we can use the first paragraph only. The first paragraph is designed to end with a hook just in case that’s all we use. I hadn’t thought of that in my first try at a description.

The back of the book description for DESCENT is:

When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on a super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.

Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate the murder. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.

Now as with other changes, I have to wade across the internet and change everywhere I’ve put a blurb out for DESCENT.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I’ve signed on with Imajin Books and intend to blog about my publishing adventure. I’ll share what I learn and hope it helps someone out there get their novel published.

Thanks for reading…


The Audacity of Reading a Novel Aloud

I’m testing both Garageband and Audacity to determine which one is better for creating podcast. So far Audacity is winning.

With the new Mac operating system, the help files are stored online and not on the Mac itself. For people connected 24/7 to the internet, this might be okay. For me, not so much. While living on my sailboat, I’m often not connected and can’t get access to the help files.

This is particularly frustrating when learning a new software program like Garageband. So on the advice of my fellow blogger, Kirsten at A Scenic Route,  I tried Audacity.

The help files come with the program, so I don’t have to have internet access. The noise reduction function works very well. The help files give tips on how to speak into a microphone. The basic functions are easy to learn.

So, Goodbye Garageband. Hello Audacity.

On the proofreading side of things, I discovered creating a podcast of written text helps find errors. A lovely added bonus when trying to perfect work.

Thanks for reading . . .

Setting the Scene: Template for A Novel

Last week I wrote about my template for writing a scene. One of the questions I asked in that template was:  Is the setting the best place for emotional impact?

How do I answer that question? I use another template. For each setting, I ask myself:

What is the Setting Role in Story:

Who are the Related Characters:


Unique Features of the Setting:







This allows me to determine if I’ve described the scene in a vivid manner. If I can’t answer most of the questions,  I don’t think the scene is the best place for emotional impact. I don’t believe sight, sound and smell have to be in every scene, but there should be something there.

The real purpose of the template is to make myself think about the scene in a structured way. If you have a way to do this, I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading . . .

Spread Sheets and Novels

#writetip I don’t know how anyone writes a novel without spread sheet. The more I write, the more columns my spread sheet contains.

What I’ve discovered writing my third novel, Burnt, is that I needed to add two new columns. These columns are helpful if you are writing a mystery novel.

One column is used for clues to solving the crime. This means the reader knows the clues, but the main protagonist might not. This is especially helpful if you write from multiple points of view. If not, you probably don’t need this one.

The second column keeps track of clues the main protagonist knows. This ensures the character doesn’t mysteriously know something at the wrong time.

For a more detailed description of my complete spread sheet and how I use it, please see:

Mystery Novel: Order of Clues

#writetip Are you writing a mystery novel and unsure of where to place your clues? Are you including red herrings in your novel? Me too.

One thing I learned working in the human resources field is that people tend to remember the last message you give them. So when I was giving feedback, I tried to end the meeting with a positive message, something the person could take away and be proud of.

I thought this could translate into writing a mystery novel. I give a “real” clue and follow it with a “false” clue. My hope is the reader will remember the second clue, forget the first clue but still have it in their mind, and not guess too early who the villain is.

What do you do?