Writing book descriptions is challenging

by | Oct 6, 2019 | Fiction, The Kiminee Dream | 10 comments

It’s no secret among authors that writing book descriptions is challenging. Extremely challenging. It’s easy to assume that after spending months or years working on a novel, writing a short description of the book would be a snap. That may be for some authors, but it’s not true for me, nor is it true for any of my writing buddies.

I threw an initial description together some time ago but knew I needed to improve it and expand it a bit. But I was stuck. I had no good ideas. Then it occurred to me to just write a series of statements—not a book description, just basically a list of things I knew about the book. I made no effort to string them together in a logical or artful way.

That list freed up my mind, allowing me to get going on the description again. The current description in progress draws from the list, as well as from the last description I did. I’m going to paste it in here, because sharing my work is progress is one of the things I like to do on this blog. I think it’s valuable and fun to share the process and receive feedback along the way. So here it is:

Book cover for The Kiminee Dream — the cover is a work in progress, too!

The Kiminee Dream, description in progress

Odd things happen in Kiminee, Illinois. Lilacs bloom in winter. Pigs play kick the can. Gravel glows golden on occasion. So when Carly Mae Foley is born with extraordinary gifts, the community takes her brilliance in stride. Life goes on much like it does in any small town. But when a fearsome twister tears through, Carly Mae is maimed, dashing everyone’s hopes for her future. Her father is swept up and away and, after fruitless searches, assumed dead. And her mother slinks out of town after creeping, naked, with her lover from the remains of a ruined home. It is up to Carly Mae’s grandmother to hold what’s left of the family together.

Support comes from a cast of quirky, contrary characters who love Carly Mae as their own. But when further heartbreak hits, long-held secrets surface, revealing confounding connections and animosities that test the entire community’s mettle. In a place where forces beyond everyday reality both help and hinder, will these people rise above their differences, accept what can never be and embrace big dreams anew?

What do you think?

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The Kiminee Dream: Now Available!

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Influenced by folklore and magical realism, The Kiminee Dream is a lyrical story with characters equally charmed and challenged while living where the ordinary and miraculous coexist seamlessly. If you like depth as well as whimsy, arresting twists, and details that rouse your senses, you’ll love what is both an eloquent exploration of acceptance and a tender tribute to the people of Illinois.


  1. Mary Knight

    This is going to be my kind of book, I can foretell. As a reader of jackets, I think there are a couple of clauses that, while they have value, can be axed, more succinct for a jacket’s short space. “…revealing confounding connections and animosities… ”
    “… In a place where forces beyond everyday reality both help and hinder,…”

    My limited brain CPU shouldn’t represent your readership, so it’s okay to leave them in too.

  2. Dale Laszig

    Love it, makes me want to read the book.

  3. Laura

    That’s really good to know, Dale. Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Laura

    Thank you, Mary. I’m glad to know this looks like your kind of book! I also appreciate your thoughts on how the text can be shortened a bit. I’m going to leave the description alone for a few days and then return to it. I’ll need to add a sentence or two about the writing style, so all of it needs to be concise. I think I’ll create a few versions, each a different length, for different purposes. The description on this website can probably be longer than, say, the one that will appear on the back cover. I’ll need to come up with a good one-sentence description, too. That might be the most difficult one to do.

  5. Marie Judson

    Ain’t it the truth! Writing a blurb about a book is harder than writing the whole novel.

    Your description is very enticing! Just a few things:

    I think there’s a problem with the logic of “accept what can never be”. Seems like it has to be either “accept that some things can never be,” or “accept what is”…

    Maybe you want to get across that the characters are not just quirky and contrary but also lovable. Your description emphasizes hardship. There is also delight and much that’s heartwarming. You might want to get those across to balance it.

    Just my two cents. Can’t wait to see it in print!

  6. Marlena Maduro Baraf

    Laura – I’d love to know what kinds of extraordinary gifts Carly Mae is born with (one or two examples?) – maybe
    last 3 sentences could be less abstract.
    I love the concept of the odd things that can happen in this town and Carly Mae is one of them.

  7. Laura

    Thanks so much, Marie. for your encouragement and for sharing your thoughts. It’s good you mentioned having a problem with “accept what can never be.” I’d forgotten that it’s idiomatic and would probably be confusing to folks who didn’t grow up in locales or families where it is used to mean “accept that certain things can never happen” (or similar statements). You make some good points about the characters being lovable and the positive aspects of the story, too.

  8. Laura

    Thank you, Marlena, for your thoughts on this. I went back and forth between including specifics about Carly Mae’s abilities and taking them out. Now I will consider this further in the next draft. It is a blessing to have the help of friends like you.

  9. PH Garrett

    Laura, oh I love them just from the description you’ve provided. I like the tenor, the pace, and the info you have laid out. It is intriguing and engaging.
    Quite colorful and enticing.
    Xox Patrice
    PH Garrett

  10. Laura

    Thank you for letting me know, Patrice. Your words encourage me. I know I’m heading in the right direction.

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