Welcome to the place where I rant, rave and discuss books, writing, the town of Cobourg Ontario and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

An overview on overviews

Fellow writers and readers, this is about how important an overview of your book is to literary snobs like me (and others I know, like my mother).

I was recently directed to a book by a fellow social networker, the author, that I considered purchasing. Writers helping writers and all that stuff, stuff that I actually do believe in. When I got to the overview of the book, it was poorly written. Or at least, poorly edited. There were words missing, and the sentences didn’t flow. Did I buy the book? Nope. Would I have downloaded the book onto my Kobo and read it for free? Nope.

The reason is two-fold. First, I’m a slow reader. Not like, super-slow, but I take my time and really delve into what I’m reading. So my reading time is valuable to me, and I don’t want to waste it. Second, I’m a writer. Or at least I aspire to write. The advice from successful authors is to read, read, read! I don’t want to read something that is poorly written and pick up bad habits. For example, if I’m having an issue with punctuation in dialogue, I’ll pop open a book I have handy to find an example and see how it’s done. That doesn’t work if the book is poorly written, and I can not expect to learn very much if the overview hasn’t even been edited.

Now I’ll be the first to admit, when Letters to my 10-year-old Self first hit smashwords, there were a few spelling errors in the introduction and overview. These were minor booboos that I missed when I edited it, just once… but that my mother caught immediately and pointed out to me right away. (Thanks mom!) I guess with the excitement of the book being finished and ready to send out into the world, the other stuff didn’t really matter that much. But if even one person didn’t download the book because of those little errors, I wouldn’t blame them one bit.

So to sum up, as a writer, take every single step seriously. Abate the excitement that comes with your finished project and put as much focus on each step as you do on the actual book itself, because snobs like me, (and my mother) will assume you did.


  1. Your comments are appreciated, especially now that my book is in print. And I must say that your words strike a real chord with me. It is intimidating to write an overview, especially as a new author - for it is the cover design and that briefly written statement that often sell or dissuade the potential reader.
    All that is to say that I'd appreciate your input. If you have a few minutes, you can go to the Tate publishing site, and look up my book (tatepublishing.org) - just look under books, then plug in the author or name of the book (Laminar Flow), and then when you click on the icon, the overview will appear. You can get hold of me at my email address (drachmabook@gmail.com), or on my website. And, if you would like, I can send you a copy, free of charge, and signed by yours truly.

  2. Thanks Tara and Tyrean!

    Drachma, I'm on it! I'll send you my input by email.

  3. Oh and Drachma, I agree with you. Writing an overview is extremely intimidating, and terrifies me to the core. But it needs to be done, and it needs to be done right! write? Right! :P