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15 Rejected Marketing Blurbs From Famous Novels

On Monday, I had the awesome opportunity to guest post over at Book Riot–an outstanding site filled with a crapload of great, funny writers who write about all things books.

Today, I thought I’d share that post with you. It might be one of my most random, weird posts yet…and I’ve had quite a few of those. So here you go.


Marketing blurbs and tag lines for movies and films must be tough to write. Basically, the writer is told, “Here’s a 2 hour film. You have 16 words to summarize it. Go!”

What? But the good copywriters do it well. I’ve been fortunate to work with guys who crank out ad copy and tag lines like politicians spit out clichés. It’s an art, no doubt.

You probably know the famous ones, like “One ring to rule them all” from The Lord of the Rings, or “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water” from Jaws 2.

Today, I thought I’d make my best (read: worst) attempt at imaginary marketing blurbs from famous novels.

At some point in the publishing process of these legendary novels, a group of people sat around a table and decided what would appear on the back copy. These are the blurbs that were left on the conference room floor.

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret: 4 pre-teen girls. 1 period. Who will draw first blood?

Gone With The Wind: If this is a portrait of romance, then God help us all die alone.

Ulysses: Place this high on your bookshelf, and make sure all your friends know you read (a chapter of) it.

A Clockwork Orange: You thought Boys N The Hood was gangtsa? Please.

A House for Mr. Biswas: Hey ladies. The author of this novel thinks you should stop reading and make him a sandwich.

Blood Meridian: Things happen and then a puppy gets thrown over a bridge. That’s something you might want to know.

The Great Gatsby: Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can make the road to misery and despair more fun.

Mrs Dalloway: You’re invited to the most boring party ever. Bring your own disinterested, fake smile.

Catch 22: Because Catch 21 left so many unanswered questions.

An American Tragedy: Who wants to go on a super fun canoe ride?

Deliverance: In these here woods, don’t get caught with your pants down.

Infinite Jest: Here are 1,076 pages that will make you feel stupid.

The Corrections: The man who wrote this novel is much smarter than you. Here, let him tell you about it.

1984: Because a 1984 with Big Brother is a much better option than a 1984 with Boy George.

Neuromancer: Cyberpunk: Where good science fiction goes to die.

Remember, I totally made those up. So please don’t go and tell me your aunt was George Orwell’s secretary and I’m spreading lies.

Now, can you imagine some of the rejected marketing blurbs from Fifty Shades of Grey?

*So, um, 101 Books is on Facebook and stuff. If you do that sort of thing.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Loved your post., especially the line for ‘Are you there god? It’s me Margaret.’ I worked in the marketing department of several publishers, One-liners are definitely the hardest thing to write which is probably why you see a lot of bland lines like “From the bestselling author of ___,”


    July 20, 2012
    • Definitely. I’ve had to write some stuff like that in my day, and it’s not easy.


      July 20, 2012
  2. Fifty-Shades: Hurts so good, sometimes love don’t feel like it should.
    (giving a nod to that 70’s-80’s rock star whose name escapes me at the moment.)


    July 20, 2012
  3. I actually did what you wrote on Ulysses and people believe I’ve read it based on what I’ve said about the first chapter…!


    July 20, 2012
  4. sweetrocky1999 #

    I’ve read books that end like catch 21 and i hate not knowing the answers, you know what i mean,


    July 21, 2012
  5. I love those and made me giggle a little bit this morning…e ven though I’m awake way earlier than I would like to be


    July 25, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, July 20, 2012 « cochisewriters
  2. My Most Popular Posts, Broken Down By Category | 101 Books

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