Getting the Reader to Say “Yes”

Warmest greetings to you, Katy Lee here. This week I have been working on writing the synopsis for the back cover of my soon-to-be-released novel. I already have a lengthy synopsis completed that I had used to submit to agents and editors, but I can’t use the same one for the reader. It gives too much away. Agents and editors aren’t looking to be kept in the dark. They need to know the details upfront before they can say “yes.” Buyers, however, are another story altogether. We want to intrigue our readers but not spill the beans.

So how do we intrigue them with only a handful of words? How do we engage a reader into our story and persuade them to agree, or at least sympathize, with our premise? How do we peak their interest and get them to say “yes?”

It has been my quest this past week to research this to the fullest. And now, I am going to play guinea pig to see if I passed the test. I’ll let you, my Scribe Fans, be the judge.

First, I am told it starts with my title. The tone of the title sets the stage for what is to come. It relays the feel of the story and acts as a hook to convince the prospective buyer to read more.  

Honestly, I always name my stories first before I start writing. I can always change it later, but by beginning with the title, I provide myself with the foundation of the book to keep me on track. During the writing process, I want the story to live up to its name, so I don’t pull a “bait and switch” on the reader later.

My title is Real Virtue. It is an Inspirational-Romantic-Suspense based around a virtual-reality game. I used my title to act as a reminder of the message I wanted to portray: The meaning of virtue – a person of high worth, goodness and even courage.

The next step, I am told, is to wow them with a little more detail. This is where the back cover synopsis comes into play. My first one line statement, also called a tagline, is supposed to sum up the message of my story. Here is mine:

In a virtual-reality game where she can fly, there’s someone aiming to take her down.

The next “short” paragraphs of the synopsis will back up that first sentence with a few more details about the characters and the major problem(s) they face. But it is not to be an overwhelming amount of information. I don’t want so many facts that the prospective buyer loses sight of the story and gets confused.  A hook only requires the reader to be intrigued enough to the point they ask “why,” and then say “yes” to finding out the answer.  

So, here is my back cover synopsis. Am I giving too much away? Do I need to give more detail? Do you ask yourself why questions throughout? Do you think it will intrigue the buyer enough to say “maybe?”


 Mel Mesini is a New York City restauranteur and an avid, virtual reality world traveler. She’s risen above her misfit life and now bears a striking resemblance to her glamorous, gaming avatar. But her successful life—both online and in reality—takes a swerve the night her father is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Mel is careened back to her judgmental hometown, where being the daughter of the town’s crazy lady had made her the outcast she was. To make matters worse, Officer Jeremy Stiles, the man whose harsh, rejecting words had cut her the deepest, is heading the investigation.


 Jeremy knows he hurt Mel and attempts to make amends by finding her father’s assailant. When he realizes she’s the actual target, his plan for reconciliation turns to one of protection—whether she wants his help or not. What he wants is answers, especially about this online game she plays. Is it a harmless pastime as she says? Or is she using it to cover something up? As a faceless predator destroys the things that matter to her, Jeremy knows he’s running out of time before she loses the one thing that matters most—her real life.

 The Unlocked Secret: I’m putting myself out there because I value your opinion. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. This is business and the goal as authors is to get the reader to say “yes!”


13 thoughts on “Getting the Reader to Say “Yes””

  1. Nice Katy. It’s a great story concept and the back blurb is definitely intriguing. There are a couple of structural things that I’ll e-mail you about off-loop.

    Great job!

  2. Nice job Katy. The books sounds exciting and I can’t wait to read it. I agree with PJ, there’s some spots where the voice could be more active. I can e-mail you directly with suggestions if you’re interested.

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