Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Your Book in 30 Seconds

One of the most important skills an author can develop is the ability to describe their book concisely. To trim off all the fat and get to the heart is an amazing skill that let's the people you meet know that you understand your own book instead of rambling on about how this happens... and then this other thing, which is really cool because it makes the next thing really funny, but that none of that really makes sense unless you know this about the backstory.

You can leave people dizzy!

So read the following comments to see how authors are describing their books in 30 seconds for fiction and 60 seconds for non-fiction (non-fiction authors have to talk about themselves briefly and explain why they are qualified to write a book on their chosen subject, so they get double time).

And if you're publishing your book in the near future, be prepared to do the same :)


  1. It's often called the elevator speech. Explain your book in 3 floors or less. If someone say's, "What's your book about?" you have an answer.

  2. Here's mine (for 'Family Home Evening Adventures', no-fiction)

    How do you teach young children to love the scriptures? How can parents help build their children's testimonies of the atonement, faith, baptism and other important gospel principles? Family Home Evening Adventures is exactly what parents need to get children excited about family home evening lessons that use the scriptures to teach important doctrines. Written and illustrated by Rebecca Irvine, a communications and research professional, Family Home Evening Adventures will help your children learn and understand gospel principles directly from the scriptures with 12 monthly lessons, such as:

    Love at Home
    The atonement
    Feast Upon the Word
    and Preparing for Baptism

    Each of these monthly themes use fun, seasonal ideas to promote an appreciation of scriptures study, teach basic gospel principles, and involve family members in wholesome activities. How does it work? Families read a set of themed scriptures and then work together playing games or solving puzzles with visual aids that allow children to have hands-on interaction. Helpful hints are included to help mom and dad plan more effectively and to encourage children to pay closer attention during home evening lessons. With this handy helper parents can help children gain the tools they need to actively learn from the scriptures and increase their individual testimonies.

  3. Here's a big announcement that even Sherilyn doesn't know about. I've just contracted with Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run, A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. He got published and landed on the bestseller list because of his online marketing. Now he's reaping the media exposure.Christopher will be to our Online Marketing to the MAX. An added bonus. You've got to sign up today. This is the best information I can find for you. Don't let it pass you by. Go Here:

  4. Here's a special price if you're listening:

  5. Divinely Designed (fiction)

    It all began with calamity, coupled with faith, followed by a flat tire. Seeking to find some liberation from certain heartache, Kennedy Jackson moved to Arizona to work as an interior designer.

    Braxton Taylor came to Kennedy's rescue and found himself captivated. What he didn't plan for, though, was Kennedy's interfering ways and her uncanny knack of messing with his orderly life.

    Divinely Designed is a fun, sophisticated romantic comedy, with an elfin dose of drama, that will uplift, entertain, inspire, and leave readers wanting more.

  6. Where the Sun Rises (fiction)

    My name is Frank Richardson, author of Where the Sun Rises. While serving as a military chaplain and later as a teacher and community volunteer I discovered that even the best lives sometimes unravel. Fortunately, the universe comes to the aid of those who keep trying. In this novel, a single ray of light starts Hatch Stephens on a journey that introduces him to men who can teach him how to live, women who can teach him how to love, and enemies who will test his steel. Where the Sun Rises can inspire us all to mend the ragged edges of our lives.

  7. Introduction: Temple Worship Simplified (non fiction)

    During the past 30 years I have had the privilege of serving as a bishop, in a stake presidency, as a mission president, a temple ordinance worker, a sealer, a temple recorder and in a temple presidency. The blessings of the temple have been central to each of these callings. The book I have written could properly be viewed as a “temple primer”. Each chapter will begin with a personal temple experience and a question. The question will form the basis for the discussion that follows.
    With the completion of all the announced temples, over 80% of the membership of the church will be within a 2-3 hour drive of a temple. Even with this increased access, for many, the temple remains something unique and somewhat mysterious as it relates to their personal worship of God. It is universally recognized that all aspects of temple ordinances are supremely important and that the temple is sacred and holy. It is understood that we never speak of the ordinances of the temple in any detail beyond the walls of that sacred building. Beyond these common understandings, however, many enter the temple year after year uncertain as to how repetitive ordinances and procedures can add light and knowledge to their personal spiritual growth.
    Temple worship requires increased personal insight that can lift our understanding beyond the redundancy of temple work. The goal of this book is to offer this insight through discussions of real temple experiences and questions; Happy reading.

  8. I have a couple of pitches I'm trying and I want some feedback on which is better.

    #1: Tolkien meets Star Trek in the sci-fi/fantasy/action/comedy The Dragon War Relic. Jared Mills has the task of trying to solve the murder of his predecessor. He uncovers a stash of powerful artifacts left over from the Dragon War – a war fought hundreds of years ago for the right to control Earth. Someone wants those artifacts and has a scheme to use them to change the galaxy forever.

    #2: Sci-fi slams into fantasy in The Dragon War Relic. Teenager Jared Mills receives a mysterious ring from a stranger, not realizing that it would lead him on an adventure across the galaxy. With the help of his childhood friend, an Ogre, an Angel, and some Elves, he attempts to solve the mystery of the Dragon war artifacts. Who killed the stranger? What do these artifacts do? Why are the gray aliens chasing him? And, most importantly, why do Elves like Star Trek?

  9. Hi, my name is Nichole Giles. My friend, Cindy Beck, and I have put together a book called “Mormon Mishaps and Mischief: Hilarious Stories for Saints.” The idea for this book came about over several years, after coming home from church many Sundays, filled with the Spirit, and also much laughter.

    Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” and that about sums up our thoughts when Cindy and I put this book together. What we didn’t realize when we started was how many people had fun stories to share. Our contributors are just your regular, everyday churchgoers who remember the funny moments with fondness, and are able to tell those moments in a way that makes us laugh. With the urging of contributors, as well as many fans we’ve picked up along the way, we’ve created a newsletter, Facebook fan page, and a humor blog on which we post new clean funnies every week. Our fans have been patiently waiting for the release of Mormon Mishaps and Mischief.

    Laughter is therapeutic. It makes embarrassing or hard situations easier to deal with, heals the sick—or sad—at heart, and creates feelings of happiness and fellowship among friends, family, and ward members. In these trying economic times, everyone could use a little more laughter in their lives, and Mormon Mishaps and Mischief provides that. People need to laugh, they want to laugh, and they will go to the ends of the earth looking for the things that make them laugh.

    From little children earnestly burying their testimonies, to an elderly brother prancing around the cultural hall in a flashing red nose and toilet paper tail, LDS people all over the world are lighting the world with laughter. What better place to look for it than on a bookshelf, in a book they can pick up and read over and over again, always finding new things to smile about.

    Eileen Gibbons Kump summed it up best in the August 1983 issue of the Ensign when she said, “Surely nothing is more ironic than a gloomy, irritable, sour-faced Latter-day Saint.”

    We couldn’t agree more.

    And remember ... as Groucho Marx said, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”

  10. Sherilyn,

    I'm trying to schedule a book signing at my local library, but I really have no clue what I'm doing. How do I know how many books to order and how long will it take me to recieve those so that I have them before the signing? Any advice anyone could give would be appreciated!

  11. Brenda,

    Frank Cole is doing the exact same thing! You should contact him and see what steps he is taking that you want to do as well!

    Here is an article about his upcoming visit (and your library should do the same!):

  12. Introduction - Centsible Meals (non fiction)

    Would you like to feed your family for less? The average American family spends $500 on food monthly. I spend $200 a month on healthy meals for my family of nine. Less money does not mean cheap junk food. Censtible Meals can teach anyone to eat well for less.

    Forget clipping coupons. With seven children I don’t have that kind of time. It’s cheaper not to buy pricey snacks, packaged foods, or commercial baby foods at all! I don’t spend hours in the kitchen, either. Dealing with picky eaters? That’s here, too!

    Centsible Meals will benefit anyone of any age – single, married, with or without kids. In today’s economy many need to spend less. In the future it may be a necessity for all of us. Here are the tools.

    Much poverty is not lack of money but lack of knowledge about preparing healthful thrifty meals. Centsible Meals can dramatically help social workers, ecclesiastical leaders, university extension services, medical caregivers and anyone who is interested in the health and economic well-being of an individual, family or our society.

  13. My suspense novel in 30 seconds
    Wrong Number by Rachelle J. Christensen

    When Aubree Stewart answers her cell phone on the way to work one day, she isn’t prepared for her life to change. Someone dialed a wrong number, a simple mistake. But the call changes everything when Aubree overhears information about the murder of a government official. Now she must run for her life as the caller tries to eliminate her.

    Aubree is placed in the witness protection program, but when the FBI’s protection fails, she heads out on her own. She soon realizes she’ll never stop running until she can solve the mystery behind the wrong number.

  14. And now for my 60 Seconds on my nonfiction book

    After my second miscarriage and struggle with infertility, I searched for answers to my questions in the gospel. It was hard to understand why I couldn’t have a baby when I wanted one so desperately and it was terrible to cope with the loss of my babies from miscarriage.
    I felt alone and couldn’t find anything to answer all my questions and offer comfort.
    This is why I wrote Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage. I wanted to lighten the load of those who are suffering from miscarriage and provide tools for those who would like to comfort someone in need.

    Women of the church desperately need this book to help them in one of the most difficult situations they will face on this earth as they try to obey the commandment of the Lord to “multiply and replenish the earth.” Everyone affected by these problems knows others who suffer similarly. This book would be a wonderful gift for those desiring to give comfort, as well as a self-help book to aid the grieving person.

    My blog,Coping With Miscarriage offers more information and a forum for those suffering from loss.

  15. "Compare Isaiah, Understanding Biblical Scriptures in the Book of Mormon"

    If Mormon could only include "a hundreth part" of the records he abridged into the Book of Mormon why did he choose to include scripture already available to us in the Bible? Did you know that there are 25 pages of Isaiah in the first 100 pages of his record?

    As my son prepared to leave for his mission I sought ways to impress on him the importance of every single scripture from the Book of Mormon. To that end I chose to write a book about the parts viewed by most as 'boring' or 'confusing' in order to demonstrate that Mormon had a definite reason for including them.

    What resulted was a fascinating and faith building story that revealed much about the politics and pressures that Nephi (and others)faced as he tried desperately to lead his people. At the same time it unlocked the beautiful message of Isaiah that has been obscured by centuries of mistranslations and loss.

    The account of Abinadi's attempts to bring King Noah back to the Lord show us much about how long-suffering and loving the Lord is with all of us and how none of us is irredeemably lost until we so choose.

    Additional biblical scriptures in the Book of Mormon show incontravertably that Joseph Smith was divinely inspired during his translation. The comparison of the Savior's sermon to the Nephites, when compared to the Sermon on the Mount as found in Matthew provides astounding insight into the divinity of the Book of Mormon.