What to say to 'What's Your Book About?'

Practically in the shadow of this amazing geological feate, Diamond Head, I listened to an excellent lecture by author and communication/creativity consultant, Sam Horn. She answered the question of what to say when people ask, 'what's your book about?'. If you ever get the chance to see this lady speak do it, she is compelling.

'First she said, don't tell what your book is about, tease them to incite curiosity and interest'.

If you ramble on then they will tune you out and you'll have lost them. The worst thing you can do it bore people. If they start to get that faraway look in their eyes or keep glancing around for exits, you're talking too much and not engaging them.

'Don't explain your book, ask them something to turn it into dialogue'. A statement leads to a dead end, while a question leads to a conversation.

'Don't do run on rhetoric, give a real life example using imagine or 'have you ever' type of questions'. This gets them to relate to your story in some small way.

'Don't confuse them, finish with an airtight sound byte'. Give words that have a rhythm of rhyme, something memorable. Make it memorable!

'Don't lecture, but do link your project to something familiar or fond'. What book, novel, or author are you like? Be careful when doing comparisons though, an agent or editor may also want to know what's unique about your project (my words).

This is only a fraction of Sam's advice, forty five minutes wasn't nearly enough time to cover everything in her amazing repertoire. For more of Sam's invaluable advice check out her website, it may just help launch your career!


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Heather. Very insightful. You're right about not immediately jumping in and comparing yourself to other writers, agents might jump to conclusions that you are big headed. I feel that you should only compare yourself to other top sellers either after you've proven your individuality or if they ask you to compare yourself.
    Thanks for posting this!

  2. Your welcome. Good point about proving yourself. It can be really bad if you compare yourself to someone then an agent reads your book and wonders what in the world you were thinking. On the other hand, if it really can stand up, go for it!


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