The Art of Fielding

art-of-fieldingSo here is the book that everyone is talking about…

And maybe that is the problem with this blurb: There is just too much talking.

There is one killer point that comes through in Jonathan Franzen’s quote — “First novels this complete and consuming come along very, very seldom”.

In other words — this is a special book…

Rare, desirable and precious…

A one-off that needs to be seized upon…

This is the point that the publishers should have rammed home — but instead they got caught up in the breathless eloquence of long quotes and witty baseball metaphors.

(Hardly motivational for readers in a country that knows sod all about baseball and shows absolutely no interest in learning more about it either)

This blurb would have been much tighter if the publishers had showed more restraint and edited the quotes so that they all reinforced Franzen’s central message. After all, in among the baseball references, each of the quotes pick up on the same theme:

For example James Patterson exclaims: “The Art of Fielding is one of those rare novels that seems to appear out of nowhere, and then dazzles and bewitches and inspires until you nearly lose your breath from the enjoyment and satisfaction”

Seldom…Rarethese are big motivational words that are getting lost amongst all the others

The bottom line here is this — When putting together a blurb it is nearly always better to focus on one powerful message than to get distracted by lots of other themes (no matter how positive and tempting they might be).



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  1. Charlie M

    I disagree. The words you’re focusing on are hackneyed and hyperbolic — how many times have I read that a book is ‘rare and seems to appear out of nowhere’, or that a ‘debut novel is seldom so complete’? The first part of Franzen’s and the latter part of Patterson’s quotes are much more telling and particular.

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