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


July Interviews













7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets


Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson

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Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!


Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.


KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.


Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.


Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


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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.