The All Important Book Description

In the continuing adventures of cover art, nothing I’ve tried has improved the look of the book thumbnail after amazon compresses the hell out of the image, and so I’ve decided to go with the cover as is.  Unless something terrible happens after I publish my book on Kindle and it looks absolutely horrendous no matter what size they display it at (which still concerns me, but I have no way of previewing that…yet), then consider the cover art final.  Huzzah!  (People still say “huzzah!” right?  If not, I’m bringing it back.)

What I’ve been working on this past week is the crucial book description that will appear on my book’s page on Amazon and in the Kindle store.  I’ve been playing ping-pong with this thing for the past week with my longtime pro bono editor (a.k.a dad), cutting words here, adding descriptors there and all that fun happy stuff.  It has to be perfect.

Amazon allows for up to 4000 words in the description, but from what I’ve seen in researching other titles, nobody comes close to using that much.  Which makes sense I suppose.  Who wants to read a novel before reading the actual novel? 😛

Definitely the hardest part about writing a summary of your own book is the fact that you already know the story.  As funny as that sounds.  But it’s true.  It’s so easy to assume information is already understood, and to unintentionally leave parts of it vague.  It’s just as easy to go the other route and overload the reader with too many character and location names in a small paragraph that they have no clue what is going on.  There’s an art to writing a good summary, and I’ve yet to master it.  This could be the reason why my query letters to agents fail miserably 🙂

That said, I’m extremely pleased with the way this has turned out so far.  Now it’s time for the next step: present it to the blogosphere.

Percival is only a baby when he winds up floating perilously down river on a chunk of ice and swept away into a peculiar woods filled with all manner of critters and folks of a curious and dangerous sort.  After nearly being cooked and eaten by foxes, wolves, witches and trolls, Percival finds himself taken in by villagers living smack in the middle of those woods.

But that doesn’t make things any easier for Poor Percival.  No sir!

Growing up among the inhabitants of the woods, Percival quickly comes to learn there’s always plenty of trouble waiting for him at every turn – escaping Witch Autumn’s cottage, outracing the monstrous snake (Ol’ Slink!) on a washed up treasure ship, fetching back his white eagle feather from big Augustus Frog and more.

So pull up a comfy stump, set on down, and let Papa Hickory tell you just how it was Percival grew up in not so ordinary fashion.


Poor Percival Stories is a collection of folktales recounting Percival’s lifelong adventures from the time he first arrives floating down a river as a baby on to old age.  Narrated by Papa Hickory, the stories are told in the colorful style and tradition of the Old South with a playful take on colloquial southern dialect, and include a wondrous assortment of talking critters and magical folk, making for an entertaining and fun reading adventure for all.

So what do you think?  Too long?  Too confusing?  Not enough description?  C’mon, you can tell me 🙂

To turn this around, have you found writing book summaries to be as much of a chore as I do?  Know any tips or tricks that make it easier?  Leave a comment and let everyone know.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I like it! My only issue is with the phrase “Percival finds himself”. That phrase has always bugged me for some reason. Whenever I read it, I think “Oh, look, the character found himself! Was he lost? Did he lose track of his own body? How bizarre!” Obviously that’s not what meant, and God knows I use the phrase often enough, but that’s my only qualm, lol.

    • Believe it or not, I actually had that phrase twice in my original draft of the description. I think I use that phrase a lot too. It bugged me enough to remove one of the references at least 😀


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