Fifty Words, Huh? (a kvetch)

Recently I contacted a blog that features indie books on a weekly basis.  They sent me a nice e-mail, asking for a cover image, the link to my book on Amazon, and a request for a capsule description of fifty words or less. 

Now, in case you’ve never tried to sum up a book in fifty words, it ain’t easy.  Particularly in the case of Catskinner’s Book, since I went out of my way to create a new mythology instead of using things like vampires and werewolves and zombies.

However, I managed to pare down my description to fit the requirements–two sentences:

“Catskinner’s Book is the story of a young drifter named James, and Catskinner, the monster who lives in his head. When James is attacked by a stranger who seems to know his secret, he learns that he is not the only monster in a suddenly strange and dangerous world.”

Not much, huh?  But it’s under fifty words (it’s forty-nine) which is what they asked for.

Well, when I checked the blog I found that they had included my book, along with a bunch of other ones, cover images, links and capsule descriptions.


My description was the shortest one of the featured novels.  By a rather significant margin.  Most of them, I’d estimate, were between two and three hundred words.  Since the “fifty words or less” requirement isn’t posted on the blog anywhere (it was in the e-mail that they sent me) it makes it look like I just didn’t have anything interesting to say about my book.

I don’t know.  Maybe I should have looked at the previous book posts to see how serious they took the word count requirement (hint: not at all) before I submitted my capsule description.

Still, I really feel as if I am being penalized for being the only one who bothered to follow the rules that they gave me.

I’m not going to flame them, or even link to them here.  I am happy for the exposure, I didn’t pay for it, this is a site that wants to promote indie authors, and I am grateful for that. Still, I have to wonder, why put that draconian word restriction in the e-mail to authors if you clearly have no intention of enforcing it?


About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in On Promotion, On Publishing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fifty Words, Huh? (a kvetch)

  1. cyelkoth5637 says:

    It doesn’t seem fair that they don’t enforce their 50 words or less rule, but maybe it was something they just added recently? Regardless, I personally LIKE quick elevator pitches and yours caught my interest. I don’t feel like you needed to give me more than that to be interested in the book. Then, if I want to know more, I can go to your site or amazon and read more about it. As another writer, I can recognize the skill in summarizing an entire story in such a tight way. It shows to me that you can pick what we need to get hooked and throw the rest out. So I say, good job! (Though once again I agree, it still wan’t fair that they don’t enforce their word limits. 🙂 )

  2. I hate it when you’re given a word limit and you’re the only person to follow it. They should just say suggested or up the limit because that’s just wrong for those that follow. On the plus side, I think your book description is great. It might not have the details, but there is a definite hook of mystery that draws me in. No specific expectations, but a ‘wonder what this is’ feeling. I’d keep it and use it a few more times because I think you really have something there.

  3. l0rdraven says:

    wow CatSkinner in 50 words or less, almost impossible. It is an amazing book. Though you did a great job.

    I am blown away they would ask for a short clip like that and let the others slide. This is one time that the mystery might make the readers gravitate toward, not enough information so tell if you will like it or not. It has potential so why not give it a try. Just my 2 cents.

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