Pub Rants

Building The Pitch Paragraph (Part Three)

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STATUS: Honestly I tried to do my tasks first but I had so many phone conferences, by the time I was done with them, the emails had piled up. I am making good headway on a contract right now though.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? THE HEINRICH MANEUVER by Interpol

Time for looking at Character elements in your pitch paragraph. So far none of my blog readers have offered back cover copy for me to analyze. I’m kind of surprised. I’d be happy to look at some copy for different genres and break it down for the reading audience.

That way I would tackle some genres not touched on even remotely so don’t hesitate to do that today.

But back to my presentation. I used Leslie Langtry’s GUNS WILL KEEP US TOGETHER as an example of a character-built pitch paragraph.

“Irreverent, witty and fun…a wild, adventurous ride!”
—New York Times Bestselling Author Katie MacAlister
on ’Scuse Me While I Kill this Guy

Dakota Bombay prided himself on his blond Bond image—bad-guy killer by day, lady-killer by night. Then his life gets both shaken and stirred by an irate grandmother demanding a marketing plan for the family assassination business, a precocious six-year-old son Dak never knew he had, and a mysterious redhead who’s erased his decades-old preference for blondes.

Suddenly the perennial playboy is knee deep in pie charts and thinking he may have found the perfect mom for his boy. She’s smart, funny, and directs a funeral home no less—what could be better? Now if he can just take out a team of rival assassins without getting killed himself, they can all live trigger-happily ever after.

Step One: Spot the plot catalyst
In this cover copy, it’s the grandmother and the unexpected arrival of a six-year-old son that’s going to push this story forward.

Step Two:
This cover copy is all about character. First we find out what Dakota is like—the blond Bond bad boy. That’s the image he’s always had. This establishes the character.

The second paragraph is a hint of what he’s going to have to become—a corporate business head and then a father which isn’t in keeping with the bad boy image. Not to mention there is a reference to the love interest (that will also be a departure for this character).

The last sentence wraps up in another plot element but for the most part, this pitch is all about character.

Now throw me some other examples and let’s take a look at them!

42 Responses

  1. Katie said:

    You know, I’m looking up the back copy of some of my books that aren’t in boxes (We just moved.)… and the problem with all of them is that they don’t accurately reflect the story! I mean, they grab the readers attention and interest, I suppose, but they hint at things that don’t happen! Or they use an inaccurate set-up. Or… SOMETHING. How often does this happen?

  2. Anonymous said:

    Hi Ms. Nelson,

    If you’re looking for a back cover copy, what about this one for the new release Ink Exchange, by Melissa Marr? It’s a little long I think, but I’m interested to hear what you have to say about it, especially since it’s so popular. It’s a young adult novel, and I think it’s urban fantasy but I’m not sure how the publisher officially classified it.

    Here it is:
    Unbeknowest to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, the ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
    Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.
    The tattoo does bring changes- not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils…

  3. Ryan Field said:

    I’m fascinated by this, I’m reading it and thinking about it, and I’m marking it for the future. I truly haven’t had time to offer back cover copy. This time of year I’m really busy with final revisions for books due out in 2009,and all the deadlines are in May. But I’m reading these posts very seriously, and I’m glad you’re writing them.

  4. Anonymous said:

    Hi Ms. Nelson,
    I was just wondering if you would be willing to write about synopses sometime? I know you don’t request them with partials, but they’re so hard to write. Should we start them like the query pitch, going right to the catalyst? Should we give more background detail? Any light you would be willing to shed on the subject would be really appreciated. Thank you.

  5. Cindy Procter-King said:

    Okay, I’ll bite. We’re supposed to provide copy from published novels, right? I’m reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ MATCH ME IF YOU CAN right now. I haven’t even read the back cover copy, because she’s an auto-buy…even if it takes me ages before I read ’em (the TBR pile is out of control).

    I couldn’t find the back cover blurb on Amazon or her website. The blurb on the website is different. So I’m typing it here from the actual paperback. Hope that’s okay. I’m not sure if this first para is a blurb or a blurb-prologue…

    “You met star quarterback Kevin Tucker in THIS HEART OF MINE. Now get ready to meet his shark of an agent, Heath Champion, and Annabelle Granger, the girl least likely to succeed.

    “Annabelle’s endured dead-ends jobs, a broken engagement…even her hair’s a mess! But that’s going to change now that she’s taken over her late grandmother’s matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City’s hottest bachelor as her client, and she’ll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.

    “Why does the wealthy, drive, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she’s entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success–the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinatry matchmaker, right?

    “Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she’d do anything to keep her star client happy…did she mean *anything*? If Annabelle isn’t careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughtest negotiator in town.”

    Phew, that’s one long blurb.

    The book is very cute.

  6. Amy Nathan said:

    I’ve been reading a lot of women’s fiction lately.

    From The Way Men Act by Elinor Lipman

    “Things have not worked out the way Melinda LeBlanc would have guessed from her days as the belle of Harrow High School. At thirty, she back home, unmarried, and romanced out, designing wedding bouquets for old classmates who hadn’t known a fraction of her early popularity. So why is she alone — not counting the occasional horizontal encounter — while these dull brides have found both men and happiness?

    Libby Getchel seems to fit the bill as a friend and confidante: same age, same retail urges, same taste in men. She too has moved back to work on Harrow’s newly chic Main Street. And both women are glad that Dennis Vaughan, an attractive single black man, has opened Brookhoppers just a few doors down.

    The Way Men Act is about friendship based on Main Street geography; about having no degree in a snobby college town; about being an ex-cheerleader in a politically correct landscape; about getting what you deserve; and about getting lucky in lovve after giving up hope.

  7. Julie Weathers said:

    Hmmm. I thought my pitch was character, but I’m not so sure now.

    Even so, this is a hilarious premise. I would probably buy the book off this.

  8. Janet said:

    From Guy Gavriel Kay’s Ysabel:

    Ned Marriner is spending springtime with his father in Provence, where the celebrated photographer is shooting images for a glossy coffee-table book. Both father and son fear for Ned’s mother, a physician for Doctors Without Borders, currently assigned to the civil war-torn regions of Sudan. Ned has inherited her courage, and perhaps more than that.

    While his father photographs the cathedral of Aix-en-Provence, Ned explores the shadowy interior with Kate Wenger, an American exchange student who has a deep knowledge of the area’s history. They surprise an intruder in a place where he should not be: “I think you ought to go now,” he tells them, drawing a knife. “You have blundered into a corner of a very old story.”

    In a modern world of iPods, cellphones, and SUVs whipping along roads walked by Celtic tribes and Roman legions, a centuries-old saga seems to be beginning again.

    In this sublime and ancient corner of the world, where borders between the living and the long-dead are most vulnerable, Ned and those close to him are about to be drawn into a haunted tale, as mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, changing and claiming lives.

  9. Kamilla said:

    Hi Kristin,

    I went through all my ‘Tweenies’ and found this fun back copy. It’s from the very first “A Series of Unfortunate Events – The Bad Beginning” I liked it because it includes his sense of humor, which is always a seller for me. Here it is:

    Dear Reader,

    I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
    In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
    It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.
    With all due respect,

    Lemony Snicket

  10. Jessica said:

    This is from Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist.

    Whether it’s riding bikes, catching snakes, or sliding down banisters, Essie Spreckelmeyer just can’t quite make herself into the ideal woman her hometown-and her mother-expect her to be. It’s going to take an extraordinary man to appreciate her joy and spontaneity-or so says her doting oilman father.

    Sadly such a man doesn’t exist in Corsican, Texas.

    It’s 1894, the year of Essie’s thirtieth birthday, and she decides the Lord has more important things to do than provide her with a husband. So she writes down the names of all the eligible bachelors in her small
    Texas town, makes a list fo their attributes and drawbacks, closes her eyes, twirls her finger and . . . picks one.
    But convincing the lucky “husband-to-be” will be a bit more of a problem.

  11. Rachel said:

    Hi Kristen,

    I’ll take you up on that back cover copy offer! Below are my pitch paragraphs for Final Approach, a 66,000 word suspense novel. I’d be delighted if you’d analyze it. Even if your words are ego-bruisers, I’ll faithfully remain a daily blog reader. Thanks for the opportunity to receive feedback. -Rachel

    Widowed four years, Emily Locke has nearly rebuilt her fragile mental health when a shady private eye from her past resurfaces. Richard Cole, at work on a missing-child case, petitions Emily for help he says only she can provide. Emily knows better than to work with him. Still, she can’t refuse to help the missing boy’s family—she’s suffered the loss of a child too.

    Richard takes her to Gulf Coast Skydiving, where veteran jumper Emily quickly integrates herself into the clientele and begins searching for clues. But, unexpected parallels between Richard’s case and Emily’s troubled past make it increasingly difficult for her to remain objective. Her sleuthing suggests that a baby brokering ring is using the rural Texas airstrip as its front. Soon it appears that her baby daughter, lost in the same accident that claimed her husband, may have actually been kidnapped and sold in an underground adoption. Amid suspicious deaths and disappearances, Emily must figure out who the kidnappers are among her fellow skydivers if she’s to recover the missing little boy and finally learn the truth about her daughter.

  12. Kate H said:

    Okay, here’s a blurb for you to analyze. It’s from Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy.

    They met in cooking school and became fast friends with a common dream. Now Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather hope to take Dublin by storm with their newly formed catering company, aptly dubbed “Scarlet Feather.” Not everyone, however, shares their optimism. Cathy’s mother-in-law disapproves of both Cathy and her new “hobby,” while Cathy’s husband, Neil, pays no mind to anything- except his work as a civil rights lawyer. And then there’s Tom’s family, who expect him to follow in his father’s footsteps, and an ambitious girlfriend who’s struggling with career dreams of her own. Between friends and families, ups and downs, heartaches and joys, Cathy and Tom are about to embark on the most maddening-and exhilarating-year of their lives…

    I suspect this wouldn’t be a great pitch for a book that wasn’t by a bestselling author. It works because people know what to expect from Maeve Binchy. What do you think, Kristin?

  13. Kelly McCullough said:

    You’re welcome to dissect one of mine. This is a brilliant series and I’ve been pointing my blog readers and fantasy writing students over to read it. The genre is a Cyberpunk Contemporary Fantasy hybrid. The book is WebMage and it’s the first in a series that Ace has been publishing. The third comes out at the end of next month.

    The front cover tagline is:

    Magic is about to get an upgrade

    And the back cover copy is:

    Ravirn is not your average computer geek. A child of the Fates—literally—he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can zero in on the fatal flaw in any program. Now that twenty-first-century magic has gone digital that makes him a very talented sorcerer. But a world of problems is about to be downloaded on Ravirn—who’s just trying to pass his college midterms.

    Great Aunt Atropos, one of the three Fates, decides that humans having free will is really overrated and plans to rid herself of the annoyance—by coding a spell into the Fate Core, the server that rules destiny. As a hacker, Ravirn is a big believer in free will, and when he not only refuses to debug her spell but actively opposes her, all hell breaks loose.

    Even with the help of his familiar Melchior, a sexy sorceress (who’s also a mean programmer), and the webgoblin underground, it’s going to be a close call…

  14. Risa said:

    mmmm, any of Megan Whalen Turner’s YA series (thief, queen of attolia, king of attolia)? Could be interesting to compare the first book’s back copy pitch to the third where there’s ‘history’ plus the book itself to deal with. B&N has the back copy available in the Search Inside feature on these.

  15. Heather said:

    I’ll bite! My favorite books tend to be pretty straight-up literary stuff. However, many of the ones on my shelf have somewhat non-traditional plot structures, which makes it a little harder to figure out how to encapsulate them in a query. For example:

    “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood

    And more recently, “Then We Came To the End” by Joshua Ferris

    I’d love to hear what you have to say about either of these!

  16. jwhit said:

    I’ll play.

    Peter Carey’s THEFT: A LOVE STORY

    Michael “Butcher” Bones is an ex-“really famous” painter, now reduced to living in a remote country house and acting as caretaker for his younger brother, Hugh. Alone together, they’ve forged a delicate equilibrium, a balance instantly destroyed when a mysterious young woman named Marlene walks out of a rainstorm and into their lives.

    me: this doesn’t do the book justice, in my opinion. But I’ll be interested in your comments.

  17. Kelly said:

    Kristin, these posts are awesome. I’ll look around and get you some examples soon. I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to share this with all of us. It’s a great approach to queries and I can’t wait to try it. (once I finish revisions)

    So thanks for taking the time to put this together!

  18. booklover said:

    The Emperor’s Children is a richly drawn, brilliantly observed novel of fate and fortune — about the intersection in the lives of three friends, now on the cusp of their thirties, making their way — and not — in New York City. In this tour de force, celebrated author Claire Messud brings to life a city, a generation, and the way we live in this moment.

  19. kwhite14 said:

    Back cover copy for two recent middle grade novels:

    The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle

    “The ads had started running on midmorning television the summer after Martin’s fourth birthday. “Wonder Babies are here!” they announced … Never had the arrival of the stork brought such excitement. Overflowing with charm and intelligence, Wonder Babies were like nothing the surburb had seen before.

    But that didn’t turn out to be a good thing.”

    The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman

    “Doing homework becomes a thing of the past!

    Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher’s pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code-named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention. And attention is exactly what you don’t want when you are keeping a secret.

    Before long, things start to get out of control, and Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Now the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail – or worse!”

  20. Pam Halter said:

    Do you want us to send the back cover copy directly to you or put it in the comments here?

    Also, would you be interested in looking at our own back cover copy from a WIP?

    This story with the guns and grandma sounds hilarious!

  21. Vivien V. said:

    Okay, here’s an example:

    Or typed out:

    The siblings Josie, age 16, and Jack, 18, in Braffet’s haunting debut are unusually close. Their mother is long dead, and their arrogant father is a university professor who rages and fumes about the ills of mankind. Josie sees Jack as her whole world, but gradually he forces her to go out in the world, first to seduce Kevin, the son of a local pharmacist. But Josie starts to develop real feelings for Kevin, and Jack reacts with a powerful rage and envy. When a confrontation with their father causes Jack to take off, Josie is devastated. She feels as though she’s lost her anchor, but it isn’t long before he comes back for her, to take her to live with him in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he is staying with a girl named Becka. But Josie and Jack’s relationship has never been one to permit outsiders for long, and soon the pair is adrift and headed for disaster. Braffet’s first novel packs a powerful punch, and readers won’t soon forget the chilling, unexpected ending.

  22. Parker Haynes said:


    Back cover copy from the last (I think) published novel by Edward Abbey–THE FOOL’S PROGRESS.

    When his third wife abandons him in Tucson, boozing, misanthropic anarchist Henry Holyoak Lightcap shoots his refrigerator and sets off in a battered pick-up truck for his ancestral home in West Virginia. Accompanied only by his dying dog and his memories, the irascible individualist begins a bizarre cross-country odyssey–determined to make peace with his past… and to wage one last war against the ravages of “progress.”

    Care to comment?

  23. Ulysses said:

    I haven’t read this book, but the cover seemed… off-beat enough to appeal to me:

    Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

    Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none–not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory.
    Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda’s request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.
    While Isaac”s experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger–and more consuming–by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon–and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes . . .
    A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader’s imagination.

    Unlike your previous examples, this one spends a whole paragraph describing the world. How effective is that as a pitch lead?

  24. hldyer said:

    I’ll play…

    At first look through Amazon, I thought most of the books in the “Women’s Fiction” category didn’t have back flap copy (I was finding quotes and reviews when I “looked inside” at the back cover.)

    Turns out, the “look inside” feature usually brings you to the hardcover edition. So the “back flap copy” is on the inside front flap.

    Maybe that’s why there isn’t a slew of comments already. 😉

    So, here’s some:

    Run by Ann Patchett

    Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

    The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve

  25. Gayle said:

    Ok, I have two fantasy blurbs to offer up to analysis. The first is The Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher (client of Jennifer Jackson). The second is Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn (client of Ethan Ellenberg). Jim Butcher’s is closer to a thriller (but with great characters too) while Sharon Shinn’s is closer to a romance novel (in terms of pacing and character development–the romance in it is subtle). My opinion anyway. Both awesome books by awesome authors!

    The Furies of Calderon
    For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood and metal. But in the remote Calderon valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy—the Marat horde—return to the Valley, Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war…

    Mystic and Rider
    Clouds of unrest are darkening the land of Gillengaria. In the Southern region, ill feeling toward magic and those who use it had risen to a dangerous level though King Baryn has ordered that such men and women are to be tolerated.

    Whispers abound that he issued the decree because his new young wife is herself a mystic, who has used her powers to ensnare him. The king knows this—and knows that he now sits uneasy on the throne. There are those barons of the Twelve Houses, who, out of their own ambition, might well use this growing dissent to overthrow him.

    So he dispatches the mystic woman Senneth on a journey to see firsthand how dire the situation might be. Accompanying her are Justin, a young Rider who distrusts the magic arts; Kirra a healer and shape-shifer born of the Twelve Houses; her servant, the lowborn Donnal, also a shape-shifter; and Tayse, the first among the King’s Riders. He too holds a hard view of mystics in general—and Senneth in particular.

    As these unlikely adventurers, venture further into the south, the enter a land under the sway of a fanatical cult that would purge Gillengaria of all magic users. They will face death—and worse. And they will come to realize that their only hope of survival lies in standing together, mystic and Rider, side by side…

    (Please forgive any typos or errors, I was working from a difficult to read cover flap copy from Amazon’s search inside feature).

    Thank you Kristin for all you do in this blog. You are amazing. 🙂

  26. Anonymous said:

    I’ve been going about writing all wrong. Forgive me for saying that this does not sound like a literary great, but are they seriously selling this stuff?

    On the positive side, this kind of gives me hope… I could come up with a story to attach to backflap copy like that in about a day. I’ll leave the 300K tome of adventure, love and loss aside to make some quick dough. Cheers.

  27. Anonymous said:

    I’d love to see your comments on the back cover blurb for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander….especially since her books cross multiple genres.

  28. K Simmons said:

    How about this one? I bought it almost six months ago because the back cover intrigued me, but I haven’t had time to read it yet.

    The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

    “On the morning after Sigmund Freud arrives in New York on his first – and only- visit to the United States, a stunning debutante is found bound and strangled in her penthouse apartment, high above Broadway. The following night, another beautiful heiress, Nora Acton, is discovered tied to a chandelier in her parents’ home, viciously wounded and unable to speak or to recall her ordeal. Soon Freud and his American disciple, Stratham Younger, are enlisted to help Miss Acton recover her memory, and to piece together the killer’s identity. It is a riddle that will test their skills to the limit, and lead them on a thrilling journey – into the darkest places of the city, and of the human mind.”

  29. Kathleen said:

    Katie said…
    I’m looking up the back copy of some of my books …and the problem with all of them is that they don’t accurately reflect the story!

    I found that as well, when I was looking for examples. Kind of annoying, actually!

  30. Patrice Sarath said:

    Back cover copy for “Gordath Wood,” which hits bookstores in June 2008.

    Something strange is happening in Gordath Wood, the old woods surrounding a training stable called Hunter’s Chase. The police think Lynn Romano and Kate Mossland have been murdered, but what actually occurred is much stranger. They’ve gone through a hole between worlds, into a medieval society at war. In a world that doesn’t ordinarily have use for women, the danger is great—good thing Lynn and Kate aren’t your ordinary women.

  31. ICQB said:

    Thanks so much for doing this. Between you and Query Shark, how can we write a bad query anymore?

  32. Katie said:

    I doubt you need any more, but just in case… I found a back cover copy for a book I’ve read that’s #1: accurate, and #2, fantastic (IMO). It’s much longer than your 7-9 sentences, though… and the only place I can find it online is in Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, if you click to see the back cover.

    The book is Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson, and it exclusively uses the backstory method. In fact, it doesn’t even mention the protagonist, antagonist, or the catalyst… but the setup, combined with the last sentence, “Eternity ended ten years ago,” just made me HAVE to read the book to find out about this world and what happened to it. (Which is exactly what the book is about. The hero slowly figures it out, although the plot is more involved than that.)

    If you’re interested in using this and want me to type it out, let me know and I’ll gladly do it.

  33. Katie said:

    Me again.

    The pitch on the inside flap of Elantris is more like your pitches. It’s shorter, and it tells some of the plotlines that are woven together in this book. So you could use that one, too.

  34. Francine Sharp said:

    As I mentioned before, the back cover copy for The Da Vinci Code offers a lot of rollicking intrigue, secrets to unveil and maybe a hint of romance- all kicked off by a murder that happens starting on page one.

    Gossip Girls (the first book) also follows your guidelines, outlining the story catalyst (What’s-her-name coming back into town), and promising a wild and salacious summer while all the details of what’s going on come to light.

    I can see why both of those books were huge hits, based on the back cover copy.

  35. Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said:

    Okay, I’ll be self-serving and put my own back cover blurb on 😉 . Here’s from SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER:


    That about sums up the sex life of Claire Doolittle, not-so-happily-married to Jack–once the man of her dreams but now a modern-day version of the bossy, dull Ward Cleaver of ’50s sitcom fame–Claire is at the end of her rope. Gone are the glorious days of flings in elevators and broom closets. And Jack? All he needs is a cardigan and a billowing pipe to become the domineering father figure Claire never wanted. And looking at her body in the mirror, Claire would cast herself as Lumpy. They’d once had a world of color, of wanton frivolity. Now, life’s black and white: a sitcom in reruns. A not-very-funny sitcom. Cue an old boyfriend–the “one that got away”–throw in a predatory hottie who’s set her sights on our leading man, and watch Claire’s world spiral out of control. In the old TV show, the Beaver always got a happy ending. Stay tuned.

  36. Paul West said:

    Hi Kristen,

    Are you still accepting pitches for critique? I hope so. Here’s mine. I hope you’ll let me know what you think.

    Mark was popular in his old school. He sang, danced, played several musical instruments, often with his family. But on Christmas Eve, the words spoken in anger to his father are the last, when most of his family are killed in a fiery automobile crash on the Carquinez Bridge. Moving to a new town and new school, he battles against his guilt and his need to be accepted. But his struggles are overshadowed by the rage building against the driver that caused the accident, and he vows revenge if he ever discovers who that driver was.

    Trying to overcome his depression, Mark falls in love with Genie Lombardi. But she has a jealous boyfriend, Jeff Marino, who vows vengeance of his own. But when Mark finds evidence that Jeff could be the driver that caused his family’s demise, his need for revenge leads him toward a new tragedy that could be even greater even than the loss of his family.