Friday, February 17, 2012


The 15-word challenge!

Pitching your finished book to an agent at a conference requires a short, succinct precis of the plot. Fifty words, three sentences, a short depends on which agent, which conference and the like.

Taking a step backwards, it's also a good idea to be able to explain your concept in a short form when pitching it to a publisher. Or agent.

Once you're on the publishing journey, it's still a good idea to have a short 'sales pitch' on hand. Speaking at the public library? They'd appreciate a promo for their program booklet. Sending an advance reading copy to a reviewer? You want something short and snappy that will snag their attention. So when did novel writing turn into copywriting 101?

Welcome to the new world of publishing where the writer is also the publicist.

We all have to do it, to some degree -- line up signings and events, that's after The Launch, and, make sure there's a general buzz going on about your book.

Here's my challenge this week -- create a one-liner that will send readers by the droves to the nearest bookseller to buy my book. In 15 words. Max. It's for the 'Author's Announce' page in the program book for Malice Domestic 2012, the upcoming somewhat cosy conference happening in Bethesda, MD at the end of April. For $25US I can tell all conference goers that A Killer Read has arrived. In 15 words.

So far, there are approx. 175 authors registered so I'm a very little fish in a big pond. These 15 words must count.

This shouldn't be a challenge for me -- I trained and worked as an advertising copywriter in a long-ago life. One liners were a specialty, usually with music background and often with sound effects. But somewhere along the line I became more verbose (how many words is this blog up to at this point?).

So, I have two possibilities and I'd like your help in deciding which it's to be.

a. Lizzie Turner’s Ashton Corners Book Club members find murder is one for the books!

b. Introducing the first Ashton Corners Book Club mystery where murder is one for the books!

What's your vote? Or should I keep trying?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime


  1. I like b, because it reads cleaner. (The first is rather a mouthful with all the proper names.)
    Good challenge! I'm parsing my own this very minute, and I want 16 words!

  2. I chose b. You don't need the character's name as long as you have the series name.

  3. Thanks for your comments...and those on Facebook! #2 wins.