When buying a book in a bookshop, the typical ritual is to read the blurb, the opening paragraphs and perhaps flick through a few random pages to get a sense of what lies within before making a decision to buy. While this experience isn’t fully possible when buying a book online, a story outline allows potential readers to replicate this, at least to an extent.
With this in mind, we strongly recommend you include:
1. A “Blurb” / Description
While it doesn’t pay to give too much away in advance when it comes to short stories, it is important to give enough information to convey the subject matter and pique interest.
This can typically be done in a couple of ways:
- A simple and effective description of the story, perhaps written in the style of the story, but giving no more information than is necessary.
- A teaser line – something evocative and intriguing, reminiscent of a tagline for a film
2. An Extract
Including a passage from your work really is an essential part in selling it. The opening is always a good option, or strong passage from another part of the story that is not too revelatory. The length can vary, depending on how long the story itself is, but it’s important to include enough of the text to communicate the style and quality of your writing to potential readers to persuade them to take a chance on it.
All in all, before your work becomes available for sale a good rule of them is to take a look at what a visitor to the site would see on the story page and ask yourself the question, “would this be enough to make me buy a story by a writer I’m not familiar with?”
(For a good example of a story outline, click here.)