If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.














August Interview Schedule
8/7 Rhys Bowen Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
8/14 Heather Gilbert Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
8/21 Lynn Chandler Willis Tell Me No Secrets
8/28 Cynthia Kuhn The Subject of Malice
8/31 Bernard Schaffer An Unsettled Grave

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/3 M. S. Spencer, 8/10 Zaida Alfaro

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 8/24 Kait Carson

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Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:


Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.


KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology will be released on June 18th.

Congratulations to Margaret S. Hamilton for being a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier contest. Margaret competes in the Unpublished/Mainstream mystery/suspense category.

Congratulations to Shari Randall for WINNING the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interview about the book here. Yay, Shari!

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.

James M. Jackson extends the Seamus McCree series with the May 25th publication of #6, False Bottom.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grabbing a Reader’s Attention

In a newspaper, the headline is responsible for attracting the reader’s attention. The font is often different from the text; it’s larger and it’s bold. In radio the job falls to the five-second blurb, “Next up: Wooly mammoth returns to New Jersey potato field.” Often the volume increases, which television takes to an entirely different level when a commercial airs. Advertisers know that (other than for Super Bowl commercials that will only appear a few times and have some built-in anticipation) you aren’t going to be interested in their commercial. They need to pound their message into your head, even as you are walking away to the bathroom. But, I digress.

Movies provide trailers – often with the most exciting or touching or scary parts, and again with the volume cranked to the max.

For readers of novels and non-fiction books, such as I, the book cover jacket bears the responsibility of grabbing a potential reader’s attention. The marketing department’s choice of color, cover art, title, font size for the title, font size for the author’s name, whether the author has a full name or only initials – are all designed to get you to pick up the book.

You succumb and are now holding the book in your hand. Next you open the book and scan the inside flap with the blurb. A successful blurb answers, or better, suggests answers to the five “W-questions”: Who, What, Where, When and Why.

Who is the protagonist? What’s happening that we should want to spend several hours reading about? Where and When is the story taking place? Why should you read this book rather than another? The Why portion often consists of short quotes from other authors about how great the book is.

At least that’s what I understand a successful blurb should do. I read them only when I am psyching myself up for writing a query letter or a synopsis for one of my novels – a task I do not enjoy in the least.

I admit to falling prey to a good title or interesting cover art on a book while browsing a bookstore, but then I flip to the first page, first paragraph, and I start to read. An author who is new to me has a page, maybe two, to convince me I want to spend several hours with their work. They need to answer the same five W questions, but they must do it with their actual writing, not a blurb.

But that’s me, how do you choose which book to read next?

~ Jim

2 comments:

Krista said...

I have definitely bought books because I liked the covers. A great title is powerful, too. If a title makes no sense to me, I'm likely to pass on a book.

Like you, I read the first paragraph. It's rare that the first paragraph is the reason I pass on a book, but a really good first paragraph can overcome an uninspired cover.

~ Krista Davis
Domestic Diva Mysteries
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Kaye George said...

If I know and like the author, I buy it. Sometimes I buy on the recommendations of friends. But, when I browsing, yeah, the covers make me look. Then the back cover. My daughter turns to the middle and reads a page. I've heard some people routinely read something like, page 87. But I usually skim the beginning.