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Yesterday, I went to a cosy workshop with the author Louise Voss (http://vossandedwards.com/), arranged by the lovely ladies at Write-Time (http://www.write-time.co.uk/). Louise talked about her career path and gave us some handy tips for writing a blurb, that all-allusive piece on the jackets of physical books or in the description section of e-books.

Her step-by-step instructions for the 200-word-max blurb ran thus:

1) Introduction in a single sentence – the tagline

2) Set the scene – main character and setting

3) Call to action and initial problems

4) Cliff hanger – what’s the dilemma/ issue/ gripping event that makes the reader want to read more

5) Summary one-liner

It got me thinking about successful first and fifth steps, both effectively pithy one-liners. These are typically used to sell a book, but can also get the imagination rolling before you even begin. A few examples to get you started:

Sleep Tight – if you can. You never know who’s watching (Sleep Tight, Rachel Abbott)

The Day of the Jackal meets Homeland with a dash of Bourne (I Am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes)

A story about love, life and lobster every Tuesday… (The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion)

Rebus: Saint or Sinner? (The Saints of the Shadow Bible, Ian Rankin)

Interestingly, the last tagline was used as the title in the Greek translation, an indication of the importance of tag-lines to our work.

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