The Dreaded Question – What is Your Story About

The dreaded question - what is your story about

What’s your story about?

I think there is one question that really throws most authors.

The dreaded question, ‘What is your story about?”

I don’t know about you but I used to stumble through that with something like: “uh, it’s a suspense/thriller. This woman got kidnapped when she was a baby and now as an adult she’s trying to figure out the truth…”

the dreaded question, what is your story about

How do you keep it short and interesting?

I always felt unprepared.

It’s sort of interesting but not really. I always used to do was start with, I write suspense/thrillers or I write romance. I’ve learned not to do that, unless they ask that specifically. The reason I suggest that is because there are amazing books written in every genre but sometimes when you tell someone the genre, you may lose them. They may say, “Oh, I don’t read suspense/thrillers. I don’t read that kind of story.”

I know for me, if you asked if I read dystopian novels, I’d say no. But the truth is that I’ve probably read at least twenty in the last two years alone. They wouldn’t have been my choice to read but the authors did a very good job on selling me on what their story was about. I thoroughly enjoyed each one but I would not have sought out a dystopian type novel to read.


So what do you say, when someone asks, ‘What’s your story about?”


There are three elements that really make a fiction book blurb compelling – setup, capture, intrigue.

Setup is the underlying theme or problem throughout your story.

Capture is the heart of your story – where the protagonist is, where s/he wants to be, the hurdles s/he has to overcome, what brought them to this point, etc.

Intrigue is where you use the climax and ending to pique curiosity – you hint at who wins, who loses or what might happen…

So when someone asks what is my story about, I use the setup, which I tend to write as a bold statement, and then the intrigue. Anytime you are talking about your book, you want the other person to leave being curious. You want them to wonder what happens? What is going on for your protagonist? What will happen to your protagonist? Where does the story go? You want the other person to care.

So how do you use, Setup and Intrigue?

So the setup would look something like this:

     She was kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead…

and the intrigue would be something like this:

     Can she unravel 30 years of secrets, lies, and deceit, to find the truth?

When you put them together:

     She was kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead…

     Can she unravel 30 years of secrets, lies, and deceit, to find the truth?

“Setup and Intrigue work well
to grab attention and pique curiosity.”

Keep it short and punchy.

It’s short, simple, clearly states what is going on for the protagonist, and really it is telling the person that it is a suspense/thriller without actually saying that. It will grab people’s attention, even those who don’t read my genre.

So the next time someone asks you what your story is about, you will have a short, punchy comeback that will intrigue them.

I recently did an interview with three lovely ladies who are authors and have created a podcast, called – Self Publishing Authors Podcast or SPA Podcast for short. Each week they provide invaluable tips on writing and publishing. And they have a lot of fun doing it. Click on the button to listen to my conversation with them and how to answer the dreaded question,

“What is your Story About?”

To listen in, click the link below.

Join our group -

Write Compelling Fiction Book Blurbs - on Facebook

Did you get your 10 Question Cheat Sheet,
to help you write a compelling fiction book blurb?

Why not write a synopsis?

An easier way to write
a compelling
fiction book blurb.

What is so important about opposites?

Yin and Yang will make all the difference.

What will grab the reader?

A simple layout that is key.

52 Weeks of Marketing Success – The Novel Business

Write for the Freedom!

52 Weeks of Marketing Success – The Novel Business

Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach

Writing the book is just the beginning.

I know for many writers that is all they want to do – write the book and let someone else worry about marketing it. But the truth is that even if you’re with a traditional publisher, you are going to need to market yourself. Only those who have a big name or have sold lots can get away without doing a lot of their own marketing. Other than those people, you will be expected to do the work to get your book out there. In all honesty, it is in your best interest. You’ll better understand the process, what’s required, what’s needed and get a better appreciation for who is reading your book.

Believe me I know how scary that is. You know your story is good but then having to put yourself out there? That’s not so easy.

There’s always the questions:

Where do I start?

How do I do it?

What do I do?


If you want to market well, you need to have a plan.

Marketing is just like writing your story, at some point you just need to start. You can device a plan and then start or you can just start. The important thing is that you do something. That you don’t allow yourself to be held back because you’re unsure what to do, how to do it and where to start. Again just like writing your story, do something and then learn from it. Go back and see what you did, what worked, what didn’t and what can you do differently.

There is a lot to learn. But there are also some amazing resources out there for you. And I’ve found something that will help you. How do I know? Because I’m taking the course and have found it so invaluable. I’ve been marketing for a while but I am learning lots.

The great news is that I found this amazing course that is 52 Weeks of Marketing Success. The really good thing about this course is that it is written by an author for authors. PM Terrell provides an incredible amount of information each week on the steps you need to take to understand the marketing world, what you need to do to market and how to use social media to get your book noticed.



I’d like to introduce you to the course

52 Weeks of Marketing Success



Plan for writing

What’s included in the course?


Week 1: Why you write, using that reason to increase your sales, and defining your marketing, promotional and sales objectives

Week 2: Looking at the market for your genre; sales potential, bestselling authors and your competition

New York LibraryWeek 3: Defining your ideal reader; how to locate and connect with them

Week 4: Selling to Businesses (Libraries, Bookstores, Retailers) and Selling Direct to the Reader

Week 5: Thinking like a journalist to sell more books

Week 6: Understanding why people read and tapping into those emotional reasons

Week 7: Staying on top of market trends and adjusting your marketing and sales efforts

Product Life CycleWeek 8: Setting goals for market growth over time and understanding the product cycle

Week 9: Determining your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as an author

Week 10: A deep dive into your competition – and how to reach their audience

Week 11: Looking at your book as a product and you are the business

Week 12: Pricing and discount strategies

Week 13: Understanding distribution and the placement of your books

Week 14: Understanding the differences between marketing, promotions and sales; using blogging as a hub

printing pressWeek 15: Special interest stories for newspapers, magazines and online content

Week 16: Establishing yourself as an expert and ways to make it pay

Week 17: Social media marketing: Twitter

Week 18: Social media marketing: Facebook

Week 19: Social media marketing: Pinterest

Week 20: Social media marketing: Instagram

Week 21: Social media marketing: YouTube

Week 22: Social media marketing: LinkedIn

Week 23: Social media marketing: Analyzing other channels

Week 24: Google: AdWords, Key words, descriptors

Social Media

Week 25: Advertising: YouTube

Week 26: Advertising: Facebook

Week 27: Advertising: Twitter

Week 28: Advertising: Assessing other social media channels

Week 29: Running the numbers

Week 30: The conversion rate

Week 31: Newspapers – advertising versus content and stories

Week 32: Magazines – advertising versus content and stories

Week 33: Radio – as a guest and with advertising

Week 34: Television – as a guest and with advertising

Week 35: Promotional giveaways – and why you don’t give away your book

Week 36: Blog Tours

PressWeek 37: Book Store Signings

Week 38: Signings vs. Talks vs. Events

Week 39: Libraries

Week 40: Community Events

Week 41: Maximize your exposure before, during and after the event

Week 42: Hand-out items

Week 43: Using reader enthusiasm

Week 44: Promotional items for campaign selling

eMarketingWeek 45: The email campaign

Week 46: Snail Mail: when it’s worth it

Week 47: Advanced Blogging – visuals, multimedia

Week 48: Sales forecasts and projections and breaking even

Week 49: Stages of a book launch

Week 50: Implementation strategy

Week 51: Milestones and contingencies

Week 52: Using this method for all your books and launches

“Marketing your novel is the key to Your Success.”

Patricia McClelland Terrell writes under the pen name p.m.terrell. She has been a published author since 1984 and a full-time author since 2002. She has written more than 20 books in several genres, including suspense, historical and non-fiction. She is also the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair and the founder of The Novel Business.

Join our group -

Write Compelling Fiction Book Blurbs - on Facebook

5 Tips to Writing a Compelling Fiction Book Blurb

You have 200 word to go. But they don’t have to be overwhelming and daunting.

Write a Compelling Fiction Book Blurb

Your protagonist or main character is the key to grabbing the reader’s attention and drawing them in to reading your novel.

Simple tips that can make all the difference to how you’re writing your fiction book blurb.

  1. Fiction vs nonfiction – what’s the difference
  2. When to write it?
  3. The Tone
  4. Relevant and Relatable
  5. The layout

Did you get your 10 Question Cheat Sheet, to help you write a compelling fiction book blurb?

Why not write a synopsis?

An easier way to write
a compelling
fiction book blurb.

What is so important about opposites?

Yin and Yang will make all the difference.

What will grab the reader?

A simple layout that is key.

Join our group -

Write Compelling Fiction Book Blurbs - on Facebook

Three Things that will Connect the Reader to Your Story

Write a Compelling Fiction Book Blurb

When writing your story, you’re really trying to get the ideas from your head to paper and do it in a way that is interesting to someone else. It doesn’t sound like it should be difficult but it does take practice and many rewrites.

And writing the novel is just the first step in getting others to read it. Now that you’ve got the story to where you want it, it’s time to entice the reader to want to read it. That’s where the fiction book blurb comes in. It needs to be a compelling, interesting description that gives a glimpse inside the pages of your novel. It needs to be short, intense and tell its own story. But it needs to do that in a way that grabs attention and creates action.

Easy-peasy, right?

Well, I didn’t find it that way for a long time. Actually, until I stopped doing what I was doing and took the time to really learn what made a fiction book blurb help a reader take action, it was difficult.

One of the key things I learned was that you have to make the reader care about your story. You have to connect them to it and to the characters. There are three things that you need to have that can help compel a person to read your novel.

  1. The Mystery Factor
  2. The Journey Factor
  3. The Relatability Factor

The Mystery Factor

Every book has the mystery factor – the reader who picks it up has no idea where the story is going, so there is a mystery. And you want to use that mystery to draw them in, so that they want to find the answers as to where the story might take them. It’s your job as the author to uncover a bit of that mystery but just enough to entice them to keep reading and keep them wondering what is going to happen to the protagonist/main character.

The Journey Factor

Every reader wants to be taken on some sort of journey. That’s why they read fiction. They want to be taken away from the reality of their life – maybe into something very different or maybe something that is similar. Just something that will help them believe in a bigger world than the one they currently live in.

The Relatability Factor

The reader has to find something in your book blurb that they can relate to – the main character’s struggle with change, the humor in a situation, the overwhelm/unfairness/difficulties of life, the successes/joy/excitement of life, the mistakes… The reader needs to believe and know that someone else is going through struggles but they also have to be something the reader can understand.

“Connect the reader to your story through the fiction book blurb.”

Make your reader care.

These three factors will give you the tools you need to connect the reader to your story and your character. If you can ensure there is all three in your book blurb you will pull the reader in.

So now that you’ve written your novel, which is a big accomplishment, make sure that you’re telling the reader how good it is. Write a compelling fiction book blurb.

Did you get your 10 Question Cheat Sheet, to help you write a compelling fiction book blurb?

Why not write a synopsis?

An easier way to write
a compelling
fiction book blurb.

What is so important about opposites?

Yin and Yang will make all the difference.

What will grab the reader?

A simple layout that is key.

Join our group -

Write Compelling Fiction Book Blurbs - on Facebook

Make Your Book Covers 3D – To Grab Attention

A 3D Book Cover will grab more attention.

Your book cover not only needs to look professional but it needs to really grab the reader’s attention.

You know when you go to a library or a book store and pick up a book. There’s nothing like holding a real book in your hands is there? I love the feel of a book. And the look of a book.

When you see a book, what is the first thing that you do? You pick it up and look at the cover. So the cover needs to look good. No question about that.

But things have changed. People are more often than not, looking at books on the internet – whether to buy a paperback, ebook or audiobook. So not only do you need to have a cover that gives a hint about what your book is about but it needs to pop. It needs to stand out and grab attention from the other millions of books and the other billions of images.

Images are a great way to grab attention and your book cover is no different. But having a book cover, gives you an advantage. You can make the book cover image look like a book. Often when you get your book cover it is 2D. They are flat pictures. They look like this:

Which doesn’t look bad but it doesn’t really stand out and give the impression it’s a book (unless you stop and read what’s on it). Right now it is just another picture that could be skimmed over. And I don’t know about you but after all my hard work of writing a book, I want it to look like one, even if it is just an ebook.

I found this program that changed that flat, 2D picture into a 3D picture. Look at what it does to it:



The two on either end were created with this program. The image in the middle, I used the book I created using this program, and then added it to a marketing banner. The 3D book image on the banner it looks more appealing than if I’d put a flat picture.


Your book, whether an ebook or paperback looks more real to the reader when it’s 3D. It looks like a book they’d pick up at the library or book store or it gives the sense of what it would look like on their ereader. It definitely brings it to life and makes it stand out more.

What a difference, right?

To make these ebook covers I use this program Ecover Authority

It’s a web based graphics application that easily lets you create 3D covers without having Photoshop or any other photo program. It truly is easy to use. There are a number of choices that you can choose from: paperback front and back book covers (in different sizes and facing different angles), hardcover book covers (in different sizes and facing different angles), ereaders, tablets, computer monitors, TV screens, etc. You simply choose the one you want and then you either upload your picture or you choose a background that they have.


(*affiliate link – means I get paid a commission if you buy through my website)


Here are a few of the options I’ve created, using their backgrounds. You can use this program to take your PDF giveaway or one that you have for sale or a course and turn it into something that looks more like what it represents.


(just the book part or CD’s were done with Ecover Authority not the boxes they are displayed in. I wanted to show you some of the variety that is available.)





“If your book covers look like real books, they are more likely to grab attention.”

Make your book covers stand out on the Internet with 3 D Covers.

So as an author, I suggest you give your book that extra pop that will grab a reader’s attention.

Why not write a synopsis?

An easier way to write
a compelling
fiction book blurb.

What is so important about opposites?

Yin and Yang will make all the difference.

What will grab the reader?

A simple layout that is key.

* Please note that if you buy through the links on this page, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Writing Tips from Authors – Interview with Laurence O’Bryan


I’m thrilled to have been able to do this interview with Laurence O’Bryan – Author, Marketer and founder of BooksGo Social.

Laurence shares some interesting tips about his journey of becoming a writer – some things that worked and some that didn’t. Research is important but Laurence goes above and beyond to do his.

His tip for new authors – Get connected. The Indie Community is amazing, so reach out. BooksGo Social is a great place to start. There are approximately 15,000 authors on their facebook group that share information about their journey with writing and reach out to get help. It is a very inspiring and supportive community.

Check out the upcoming Dublin’s Writers Conference – June 23 – 25, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland.

Laurence O’Bryan

Author, Marketer and founder of Books Go Social.

I was first published by a school newspaper when I was ten, for a short story about aliens getting lost.  The Istanbul Puzzle was my first novel to be published (Jan, 2012,) The Jerusalem Puzzle my second (Jan, 2013,) and The Manhattan Puzzle my third (Aug, 2014.) The Nuremberg Puzzle (April, 2016) is the fourth novel in the series.

In 2007 I won the Outstanding Novel Submitted award at the Southern California writer’s conference. I missed the award ceremony and only found out after it was over that the agents and editors attending had picked me out from over 300 unpublished novels submitted.

The Istanbul Puzzle was also shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of 2012. It has now been translated into 10 languages.

I am on the committee of the Irish Writers Union, and I host a”live” crime writers’ group in Dublin each month. I also promote and support other writers through my site

My research has taken me all over the world, from San Francisco to deep in the Arab world. I still enjoy looking at the stars, and listening to the stories of strangers.

What keeps you going?

I know it’s a cliche, but I dreamt of becoming a writer when I was a child telling adventure stories to friends on my street. Two of those friends committed suicide before they reached the age of 21. Ireland was a place of repression, secrets and shame back then. It still is. I dedicate my writing to their memory.

My motto? Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Níl gach uile fhánaí caillte.

BooksGo Social is a good way to get your book out there and get it found. If you go there to use their services, mention that I sent you and you’ll get 10% off. Or contact me and I’ll give you the discount coupon.

10 Question Cheat Sheet

Simplify the process

for Writing a Compelling

Fiction Book Blurb

Check your emails for a confirmation email.

Pin It on Pinterest