Iceberg Theory for authors

Whenever I think of icebergs, I always think of the Titanic.

Apparently, the crewman rang the crow’s nest bell three times, the standard signal for “Iceberg, right ahead!”

“Iceberg! Right ahead,” came the reply.

These three words immediately convey the danger and its direction.

It was simple. Short. And effective. 

It’s amazing how succinct we can be when we need to be. 

Unlike this opening sentence from an author asking for help to tighten up his book description…

“Marco, an ambitious white-hat coder living in London in 2049, is obsessed with finding aliens, a promise he made to his dying father.”

If you look at what’s going on here, we’re given a lot of details.

We’ve got his name, his job, his location, the year, his passion for finding aliens, his promise to his father, and the fact his father died. 

Whew. That’s 8 bits of info.

That’s a lot to take in.

What’s that got to do with icebergs?

Hold on. I’m getting to it…



Answer. Dead ahead…

Iceberg Theory” is basically named after Ernest Hemingway’s style.

His berevity.

And it suggests we should only reveal what’s necessary to the story and let the readers infer the rest.

Which is the main point of a book description. Isn’t it?

Some of the best writing is simple writing.

One idea. 

One emotion. 

One benefit.

Mark Ford wrote an article on it…

I thought it might help with your marketing.

See, one blog post, one idea, simply put (hopefully!).


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