It is an unfortunate truth that not everyone is going to like your book. Not only that, but the vast majority of people won’t even be interested in reading it in the first place. No matter how many prizes you win, how many copies you sell, how many plaudits you get from readers, your book is not going to be for everyone. This is a good thing. Trying to interest millions of people is far harder than nudging fewer people towards something they’re likely to enjoy. To help you reach these people, you have to know all about your book – which isn’t as easy as it first sounds.
In Hollywood, writers are often coerced into giving producers an elevator pitch – a sentence or two that summarises the work and provides a reason to want to hear more. One of the most celebrated examples is the film Alien, the script of which generated huge interest with the studios after being pitched as ‘Jaws in Space.’ You don’t need anything as reductive or as clever as this, but you do need to know how to talk about your book in a way that will entice readers, and give them a sense of whether they are going to like it.
There are many ways of doing this, and the best research – as always – is to read more. In this case, read the blurbs for books that you love. What do they pick out? How do they describe the plot and characters? How do they condense hundreds of pages into just a few lines?
Ultimately, you should be able to explain what your book is about quickly and succinctly – and hopefully pique someone’s interest. Feel free to compare it with other books, but do remember, if you’re comparing it to Harry Potter, Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, or Fifty Shades of Grey, readers have been told this countless times and so might be a little jaded to see those books mentioned again.
Getting to know your book from the ‘other side’ will really help you to find a market for your work.