15 Rejected Marketing Blurbs from Famous Novels

This is a guest post from Robert Bruce. He is a full-time writer and part-time book blogger at 101 Books, where he is currently blogging through Time Magazine’s top 100 English-speaking novels. Follow him on Twitter @robertbruce76.

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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 1,088 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.

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