How’s This?

Your humble host.
your humble host

We’ve been working on a blurb for Poggibonsi: An Italian Misadventure for a while…

(My amazing beta readers got their advance review copies yesterday, thank you very much. The book should release in about 30 days, maybe less.)

anyway

I wanted a blurb that represented what was actually in the book.

  • laugh out loud funny parts

  • steamy romantic parts

  • a good plot

  • relatable characters

AND a happy ending anyone could enjoy (although we obviously don’t tell you the ending in the blurb)

THIS is what we came up with:

When family man Mike Torino lands a project in Italy, home of naked art, Valentino, and taxi-crashing yoga pants, he brings along his wife, hoping to rekindle their marriage. But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets. Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary. And as for amore . . . Mattie tells Mike to handle things himself—and storms back to America.

Mike is trapped. Leaving Italy will blow a promotion; staying might cost him his wife and family.

While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike and determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not! Normally immune, Mike is tempted – but is headstrong, voluptuous Julietta worth the risk?

146 words

 

The original wasn’t bad, it just didn’t read as funny – and Poggi is a VERY FUNNY book. My funniest.

You guys read my stuff here. You know what that means. I’m a funny guy, and even though on the blog I’m more sarcastic, in the book I do stuff that’s just insanely hilarious.

Tracy said: 

…your “misadventures” were effectively showcased via humor. The sequence at (CAN’T TELL YOU) where Mike (ALSO CAN’T SAY) and the later sequence with (SORRY) was brilliantly inspired!

Eric said:

humorous, often laugh out loud funny

Debby said:

I liked it very much. Very easy reading, strong writing, good story.

…maybe Debby didn’t get all the jokes.

Tristen said:

very witty and it definitely had me laughing out loud a few times, especially (SORRY)’s scenes

Peggy said:

wonderfully entertaining book

Rick said:

I wanted to find out what happened to everyone involved.

poggi-cover-finalWho are these people? Critique partners, friends – people who got to have a look before the final edits were done.

And, hey – you’ll get your chance to see that when it releases soon, unless you’re a beta reader. (Which you still can be if you want; they just got their copies yesterday. It’s not like they’re all so far ahead of you. It’s not a race.)

I told everyone about it for weeks and then when I cut off applications people were like WAIT, I STILL WANNA DO IT. Okay; it’s a little more work for me but what the hell. I’m nice. Use the Contact Me button and let me know. Or if you have a friend you think would like this story. The more the merrier.

 

But back to our little dilemma…

What do YOU think? Does this blurb and this cover say funny, sexy, steamy, and overall good – to you?

 

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “How’s This?

  1. I like it, mostly because it so perfectly lays out the stakes and Mike’s dilemma. I do get that the book is probably funny, but the blurb itself didn’t make me laugh. That’s really hard to do in a blurb. In the book you’ve got all this space to develop a scene and make funny things happen. Then you’re supposed to cut all that down to a few words and still make people laugh? Ugh.

    A lot of it comes down to rhythm. I think the rhythm here is good, but you could break up some sentences and strike some words to give yourself space to include maybe one or two more details that might make the blurb funnier. Like here:
    “But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets.” Obviously, you’ve got a list of three things here, with the first and second being short and the third longer because that’s what makes your rhythm right. But I think you could keep the same rhythm and add another funny detail. I’d strike “ankle-breaking.” Then, in a new sentence, add a parenthetical detail about some mishap on a cobblestone street. If you get people to laugh here, I think they’re more likely to laugh at some of the stuff in the rest of the blurb.

    Also, in the last paragraph, I’d break that first long sentence into two. “While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike. She’s determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not!” I love “passions of her homeland,” btw.

    Just my 2 cents. Overall, I think it’s a pretty good blurb. I’d read on, and that’s really the main goal. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with you. When I write a story, I have as many words as necessary to set up a scene and make it funny, then once I have done that, to keep the laughter rolling. With a blurb, we’re trying to quickly capture the essence without retelling the whole book. To that end, in my head I know what’s funny about the cobblestone streets and other stuff, because in the story they are recurring themes of a sort. But in a short blurb of 100-300 words, they can’t be.

      So… what to do?

      Molli said the original blurb wasn’t funny. She was right. A dispassionate 3rd party wouldn’t know the jokes from what I wrote. The thing is, I knew what I meant, so I was smiling. Oh yeah, that was funny when that happened – but it’s not spelled out in the blurb for people who didn’t read the book. People who already read it would know the blurb was relevant, but in the blurb I’m not trying to convince people who’ve already read the book!

      I wrote out several funny lines that I thought briefly captured the humor, and looked at verbs that were funnier in context than just descriptive. For example:

      Mike gives his wisecracking assistant access to his email, and she promises to tell every coworker exactly what she thinks of them—as him.

      That’s not bad, but it’s much funnier when you can read it in the story: (comments here don’t allow italics, so please understand the lines i quotes are actually in italics)
      I picked up my cell phone and sent Sam a text. “Internet access is supposed to be shitty a lot of the time over in Italy, especially in Tuscany. So I reset all the passwords to my email and voicemail and everything else to your first name and the last four digits of your social.”
      Even though she was still talking to my wife, her reply was quick. “That’s handy.”
      I nodded. “I thought so. I need you to check on things in case I can’t.”
      After a moment, Sam’s reply came back. “Ok. Is my bonus paperwork in there, too, boss?”
      I smiled, typing. “No. My wife’s friends say Facebook and Twitter work great, I think, but that my email will be nonexistent. Go figure.”
      “I could ask her. She is on the phone with me.”
      My fingers pounded out my message. “Thanks, but no.”
      “Okay. Expect a lot of angry co-workers when you get back.”
      I frowned. “Why?”
      A second later, her message appeared. “I’ll be accessing your voice mail and email under your name. I plan on telling a lot of people what I think of them. As you.”

      Honestly, could that be boiled down to just a few lines and still be as funny?

      “Expect a lot of angry co-workers when you get back.”
      I frowned. “Why?”
      A second later, her message appeared. “I’ll be accessing your voice mail and email under your name. I plan on telling a lot of people what I think of them. As you.”

      Hmm… let’s say with a few tweaks, it could. Where does it fit in the blurb?

      And

      their daughter has developed a gelato addiction

      Those were adding the flavor of the funny parts. But we also had to look at brevity, and relevance. So the wisecracking assistant – a key player in the story – got cut from the blurb.

      Then I went through and looked at what words were funny and which weren’t. I copied five rom-com blurbs from Amazon, each with over 250 reviews, to see what they had that was funny or not (3 of the 5 had nothing funny; 2 were pretty funny).

      After 15 revisions, balancing brevity with humor and story, the relatively short version above was the result.

      But adding a few words to “funny it up” is definitely worth consideration. Also, some well-placed testimonials saying “laugh out loud funny” will no doubt play a role – on the back of the book and before and after the blurb on Ammy.

      We’re getting there. As you said, the current version makes you want to read more, and that’s the biggest goal! Thanks for your 2 cents!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you know how much I love your writing and I do agree blurbs are the devil’s work. You were doing okay until “Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary.” I had to go back and reread the sentences again to figure out where you were headed. After the third read, I understood what you wanted to achieve but I don’t think that works for a blurb. One read through is usually all we get to capture a readers attention.
    Not sure how you can weave this info in but you might want to give it another look. JMO

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like it but agree with the above comments that it’s a little too long. I got lost In the sentence about the gelato and cobblestone streets. If you could tighten that part up I think it would capture more interest right away.

    Liked by 1 person

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