Dessert Disappointments: false advertising in writing

Have you ever noticed that the beautiful, glossy pics advertising scrumptious desserts rarely portray the messy, pasty, cardboardish lump the waiter plops down in front of you?

“Why,” you ask, “is it so hard to actually put whipped cream on mine and top it with a cherry instead of a whole can of chocolate Hershey ice cream sauce?”

And, “Why, oh why, does my brownie taste like left-over birthday cake that’s been frozen for a month and nuked on high?”

The answer is simple.  They could hardly advertise the truth or it would never sell.

Left-Over Birthday Cake Surprise: this frozen puck of a brownie has been over-nuked, leaving it hard and tasteless.  However, we have since drowned it in chocolate sauce to rehydrate it and added a dab of faux whipped cream for color.  And forget the cherry.  You had one in your Shirley Temple.

Query letters can also be dessert disappointments.

Writers advertise the heck out of their novels with beautiful words and promises of exciting things.  But somewhere along the way, they serve up a tasteless, cardboard lump. 

We get excited about finishing our WIP and forget that writing an enticing query letter is not enough to get our manuscripts on the bookshelves.  We must deliver what we promise.

So, the next time you’re tempted to shoot your query letter into the literary world of waiting customers, remember that you must have a product worth eating reading.

To find out if you’re ready, head over to A Steampunk Reverie.  Calista Taylor has a great list of questions to help you decide if you can deliver what you advertise.

Happy Writing!

6 responses to “Dessert Disappointments: false advertising in writing

  1. Great post, Cat, and an excellent point. We sweat blood over the query, rejoice when it gets a request, then send off shoddy first chapters that get the R – pretty pointless.

    And by we, I mean all of us. *points at self* GUILTY!

    • Point your paw in my direction any time you want. I am always guilty of the things I post–how else would I be so good at describing them?!?!?

  2. Awesome analogy! 🙂

  3. And we’ve seen what happens when the falsely advertised book makes it to publication in SPITE of not living up to the promise of the query letter. It gets a great cover and a lot of buzz and ends up on a bestseller list–but it’s still not that great of a book.

    I’m too polite to name any names, but YA is full of such books. BEST BLURB AND FIRST TWO CHAPTERS EVA.

    But the rest of the novel is meh.

    Great frosting, dry cake. Ugh.

    • Oh, yes, there is that too! And it’s the worst. I hate falling in love with the cover, the cover blurb and the first few pages, only to take it home and find out the product is NOT what I thought I bought.

      So sad…

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