What is your book about?
Providing an answer to that question has rendered me tongue-tied on a number of occasions. It’s not that I don’t know what my own book is about. The problem is how to convey the essence of the book without sounding like I am spouting marketing copy.
In a nutshell, here’s what it’s about:
Stuck between a scheming bully and an anonymous notewriter, thirteen-year-old Wendy Thibodeaux just wants to survive to see high school.
That’s a lot better than saying, “Um, it’s about a girl.” Seriously, I said that once–to a stranger, not an agent or editor. Fortunately.
The following blurb covers the main points of the story. I used it in a number of query letters.
Not-quite-fourteen-year-old Wendy Thibodeaux doesn’t care one bit about being popular like her classmates Tookie and the Sticks. That is, until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend is hiding something. While juggling divorced parents, caring for abandoned puppies, and trying to make the high school track team, who has time to play detective?
Still sounds like marketing copy, doesn’t it.