What's the Difference Between Writing a Book Description and Playing a Piano?

Answer: a piano has 88 keys, my approach to book description only has 4.

I'll play myself off.

4 Approaches to Writing a Book Description According to How You Solve Problems (Conation)

I've been thinking. I've taught clients and students how to do hands-on writing stuff for over 12 years. I have so much information up in that work outbox. Why not share it with you?

I thought I'd begin with what I'm working on right now. I'm currently guiding a client through writing her first book description. It'll go on the back cover of her book.

I'm going to share 4 approaches to book description, each geared to a different kind of learning and problem-solving styles (conation) in a series of 4 keys. That means four separate posts. This post will only go into detail with Key #1, but here is a brief overview of them all.

Key #1 (Playing by Ear) is about using your "ear" to tune into how others are doing it. It works best for writers who are good at picking up rhythms and styles. It's for the more intuitive writers. It requires a bit of self-trust, but I do suggest everyone start here, as it's the most optimized approach. Even if you don't nail it off the bat, you'll be surprised at how much you already know how to do.

Conation: #quickstart


Key #2 (Playing by Hand). In my many years working with writers, it amazes me how little we regard our one of our greatest assets: verbal communication. I can't even tell you how many clients and students, while lamenting that they can't write a book summary, tell me exactly what is important about their book and how it all fits together. In this exercise, you'll record yourself as you talk to a friend or imagine yourself explaining your book to someone in a social situation. You'll be surprised how the pressures of in-the-moment communication with a specific listener really clarify things for you.

Conation: #implementor


Key #3 (Playing by Memory) is a comprehensive approach that asks you to pare down your book's description from very long to very short. It's arduous. When I taught classes to do this, we needed a good two hours for the whole process. Still, it might save you time in the long run because doing this exercise also helps generate other useful things like keywords, proposal summaries, and editorial clarity.

Conation: #factfinder


Key #4 (Playing by Sight). Just like many of us had to learn to read music before we could play music, sometimes we just need to be told what to put where. It's not how you're going to get the most authentic or creative book description. Cookie-cutter boilerplates can actually be tricky because they can take you out of your voice and intuitive flow. But it will get your hands moving, and when we're overwhelmed, just following instructions can be a relief.

Conation: #followthru


26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All