Vote on your favorite promo copy!

Hey friends,

We’re definitely in the home stretch of our writing.  The first draft of the novel is complete at 65,536 words — just kidding! — just over 75,000 words.  We’re doing a final pass of revisions now.  My assignment at the moment is to re-read the book and point out techno-babble I disagree with, because there is some of that.  I think we’re on track to call ourselves done within a month or so.  At that point I plan to release a digital copy of the book to everyone who backed my Kickstarter or pre-ordered the book on Celery.  Exciting times!

The next step in our journey will be the process of “querying,” proposing the book to agents who can then take it to publishers.  In this process you write a short “query letter” to grab the agents’ attention.  This is essentially the same thing as the promotional copy you’d put onto the back of the book to catch browsing readers.

I had already started getting ready for the querying process by writing my first query letter, when my writer gave me her own version.  And so, I thought it would be fun to take both our promotional copies to you, have you choose a favorite, and provide feedback on what works / doesn’t work in each.  And so, without further ado:


When a Seattle bank comes to Cinzento Secure with bizarre network issues, the firm puts its best on the job—a team of five teenaged students at the corporate academy whose prowess outshines even elite adult programmers. Led by a colorful sixteen-year-old who calls herself Fireball, Team Raven leaps into action . . . and quickly finds itself playing whack-a-mole with something stranger than it’s ever encountered.

That Something swiftly grows beyond Seattle, reaching tendrils into critical infrastructure: transportation systems, hospitals, and power grids.

The kids face two crucial questions: What is this thing? And who’s behind it? Their response means the difference between stopping it and spreading it. Charged with finding answers amid growing evidence of its malicious spread, Fireball and her team buck public skepticism, intense pressure from Cinzento’s CEO, and growing government scrutiny to avert catastrophe.

To add to the chaos, there’s a new kid on the team—seventeen-year-old Angel, a talented orphan still grieving the loss of his parents. Dubbed ’Noob,’ by his teammates, Angel tries to fit in and use his considerable skills to contribute to a solution. Only time will tell if he’s an asset or a liability, but time is something Team Raven doesn’t have.

As they race to keep the hack from costing lives, a new question is added to the mix: why is someone stalking the team’s newest member?

Complete at 75,000 words, CORPORATE INTELLIGENCE is a fast-paced and suspenseful YA thriller set in the near future.


Fireball and her four teammates on Team Raven are not just one of the best security teams at Cinzento Secure; they’re also practically family. For some it’s the only family they’ve ever had. Though they haven’t all finished at the Academy yet, they already produce better results than most of the adults at Cinzento. So when a new client needs urgent help, it’s no surprise that the assignment goes to them. A large bank has been the victim of an embarrassing hack, and Team Raven needs to get to the bottom of it quickly.

On top of that, their mentor has surprised them all by adding a newcomer to the team. Angel is a skilled programmer, but is still grieving the loss of his parents. The team dubs him Noob until he gets a chance to pick his own handle.

Now Noob, Fireball and the rest of Team Raven need to adjust to each other while figuring out what the hackers have done, under intense pressure from their CEO. They soon find that the hack is unlike any they’ve ever seen. The evidence keeps changing, the attacks are affecting more and more systems, Team Raven aren’t sure their own computers are secure anymore, and someone is mysteriously following Noob. In this quick-moving thriller, you never quite know who – or what – is behind all the problems that keep piling up.

Complete at 75,000 words, CORPORATE INTELLIGENCE is a fast-paced YA mystery/thriller set in the near future.

What’s your favorite?  What are the best/worst parts of each copy?  How shall I merge these together into the perfect hook to catch the attention of agents, publishers and readers?  Would you read this book?  (Can you guess which copy I wrote?)  Give me your thoughts in these polls and/or the comments!

Which promotional copy is better?

  • Promo copy B (60%, 18 Votes)
  • Promo copy A (40%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 30

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How interested would you be if you read these descriptions on the back of a book? (Note: this poll is anonymous, don't be shy)

  • 3 - Sounds promising. (59%, 16 Votes)
  • 2 - Sounds OK. (22%, 6 Votes)
  • 4 - I'd dive in right away! (11%, 3 Votes)
  • 1 - Meh. Not very, sorry. (7%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 27

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Which promotional copy do you think I wrote?

  • Promo copy B (58%, 15 Votes)
  • Promo copy A (42%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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2 thoughts on “Vote on your favorite promo copy!

  1. Why Promo A works for me:
    1. It reads like a thriller — dramatic, high stakes — which is what the book claims to be.
    2. It cuts to the chase on introducing several points of tension, conflict and mystery.
    3. It’s written so that the problems feel like “my” problems — as opposed to asking me to look in and think about a book over there. Now I want to know what’s up with those hackers!

    Promo B is more chronological (drawback), more nuanced and explanatory (nice, but maybe not necessary), and more relationship-oriented (I’m glad if the book is, but the “thriller” angle draws me in better).

  2. A friend reminded me that I never updated this post with the answer! Sorry about that!

    The answer is that I wrote promo copy *B* while my writer wrote *A*. My tendency towards brevity and away from flowery details comes through here. I really appreciate all of the feedback you guys shared with me, though! The need for additional detail and character color in the promo copy is not lost on me. Let’s hope I can take these and tempt an agent / publisher to read and publish my book. 🙂


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