Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let's Talk About Books Baby

I’m curious, when someone asks you what a book is about how do you answer?  Now, I’m not talking about when people ask what your novel is about.  I’m speaking of just the day to day book recommendations and sharing that goes on in a book loving community.   Do you detail the plot?  Talk about character, theme?  Does it vary depending on whether the person you’re talking to is a writer or not? I know I answer differently if I’m talking to a writer.

If I know the person, close friend or family member, I can tailor the answer to their personality.  I have a friend that is a plot reader so I know what she wants to hear about if she asks about a book.  But what about the people you don’t know, the casual bystander that sees you with a book and asks about it?  It’s a vague question, really, and subjective.  If you ask any author they say the query or one sentence pitch is harder than writing the whole book.  Though, I do believe it’s easier to do with someone else’s work than your own.  Often I just resort to the blurb on the jacket until I can tell if the person can intelligently discuss books.

How do you answer that question? 


  1. Depending on the person I use variations of: "It's a lesbian Science Fiction Epic fantasy!" (in the nicest possible way)

    They're either intrigued (and ask for more information) or gobsmacked (and say something like "oh, really.") or freak out and run for the hills (in case it's catching) or a combination of the three.

    I used to try and say it without using the 'L' word but lets face it, my book is about lesbians first and foremost, and the adventures they have.

    I've realised over the years that trying to alter the description because of how someone might or might not react/respond isn't being true to the book...

    ...and that's what it all comes down to in the end doesn't it?

  2. I used to hedge around the fact that my MC was a silkie (selkie, depending on spelling) because so many people would look at me funny. You're right though, it isn't being true to the book and if I couldn't talk about it then I shouldn't be writing the book.