Lucy Brazier stops by to vent shed light on why writing a blurb for your book is such a hard task.
I’m not going to tell you that writing a book is easy; no one’s going to tell you that.
Writing a book is time consuming, mentally and emotionally draining and plays havoc with all aspects of your normal life. But once it’s done – once those magic words ‘The End’ are typed after revision after revision, draft after draft – it feels like you have climbed an insurmountable peak and nothing can ever seem impossible ever again.
Until you come to write the blurb.
What Is The Blurb?
This is the wordy bit that goes on the back of the book and serves as a means to tempt potential readers to pick it up and turn to the first page.
“Some are longer than others and the level of detail in blurbs varies.
But the aim is the same – to sell your story to the casual punter.”
– Lucy Brazier
Note: This is not a synopsis. A synopsis is similar, but has a different audience. The synopsis is for the purpose of selling your story to an agent or publisher, someone in the industry. Same purpose, different audience. A synopsis will have to follow a fairly rigid set of rules to pass muster, whereas the remit for a blurb tends to be a bit sketchy.
Why Is It So Hard To Write?
Honest answer? I really don’t know. It defies the realms of logic. You’ve just spent months – maybe even years – carefully crafting your manuscript. You know it inside out and back to front. You know the characters as if you had given birth to them yourself.
“So why is condensing your masterpiece into a tantalising teaser so difficult?
Personally, I think it is because the author has become so close to the work, it’s difficult to separate out the essence of the book.“
– Lucy Brazier
In short, you’ve forgotten what it’s actually about.
What To Do?
Well, you could always enlist the help of a good authorly friend to write it for you. That’s an option. But as most authors hate writing blurbs for their own books, let alone anyone else’s, the reply to your request may not be polite. I really am no expert at this, all I can do is tell you how I do it.
Firstly, give yourself a bit of breathing space from the book, for a start.
I suggest an evening off with a large glass of wine
or whatever tickles your fancy. Then, once you’re over the hangover (by the way – top editing tip: when you think your novel is finished and polished beyond compare, read the whole thing through with a massive hangover. If you still love it in that state, it’s probably quite good.) make a list of the most important and interesting parts of your book. What are the main challenges faced by your protagonist? What are the supporting cast getting up to? What are the big twists and turning points? Where is the drama coming from? When writing the blurb for my latest novel, my list looked like this…
Your list may well be considerably longer than this. That’s okay. We don’t need to squeeze each and every aspect into the blurb.
“I tend to prefer a short, punchy blurb, but then my books lend themselves to this particular style.
Your story may be more complex and involved and therefore benefit from a longer explanation.”
I would advise against sticking a complete essay on the back of your beloved tome, though. Too much text (and too small) can be off-putting to some and, whilst you are totally in love with your story, the person browsing the shelves may not be ready to invest quite that much time in it just yet.
Look at your list. No doubt there will be some really important things on there that are vital to your story. But what are the things that sound the most exciting? Where are the hooks?
Identify the bits about your story that will really interest the reader
not necessarily the things that are most important to you, the author.
Then, all you have to do is string them altogether and there you go! Yeah. Still easier said than done. Ideally, you want the blurb to reflect the feel and style of the book itself. My stories are light-hearted, irreverent and humorous (one hopes, at least) so the blurb reflects this. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and the reader knows what they’re in for right from the off.
“In the end they may not like the book, but they haven’t been hoodwinked into picking up something they thought was something else.“
– Lucy Brazier
Make sure your writer’s voice – the one that you have worked on and developed and shines through in your manuscript – continues to flow through onto the back cover. That is very important.
From my initial list, this is what I came up with for the blurb of PorterGirl – Sinister Dexter, the third book in my series…
At the time of writing this isn’t the final version of the blurb as the book is currently going through its final polishing stages with the publisher, so we will probably end up with something that looks considerably slicker than this. But you get the general idea. It’s all a work in progress. Hopefully this has demystified some of the aspects of the dreaded book blurb and will help you get started, at least.
Gang, what’s important is to find a blurb writing method that works for you.
This was Lucy’s; other authors use different means to get their blurb completed.
To see other posts we’ve done on blurbs, type “blurb” in the search box and read away.
Meanwhile, check out Lucy over on her blog and check out her books on Amazon!
I was looking at some old blog post for some reason, I really don’t remember why, and I saw that we used to have flash fiction challenges on Friday. More than one of my co-authors in our scary anthology mentioned they started following the blog because of the flash fiction challenges.
Well, it’s something to think about.
After all, one of the best ways to help build your writerly muscles is to write short stories – and what is flash fiction except a really short story?
So we can think about that.
Also, on other people‘s blogs that do flash fiction challenges, they would let the winner be decided by the readers, and the winner would get a guest blog post. That might be worth looking into. Maybe I could have the winner receive a book from one of our many author friends.
The main thing is, you have the whole weekend or maybe more to come up with some kind of crazy story based on the prompts I give, and it would be a fun way to spend your weekend! Think about a story and then crank something out.
What do YOU think?
Should we start doing Friday flash fiction challenges again?
Hi gang! I’m getting ready to start promoting my March 2018 Word Weaver Writing contest, so I thought I’d reach out and see if you’d like to be aSPONSOR.
You: Whaaat??? Me, sponsor your contest?
Me: I know!
But it wouldn’t be just you (unless you wanna write a biiiig check – and then let’s talk. Because ten bucks is ten bucks.)
We writer types are always trying to get noticed. THIS HELPS THAT.
Plus, it’s cheap.
You: Hmm. My book could use some exposure…
Here are some impressive stats.
My blog enjoyed over 60,000 views in calendar 2017, and the contests get the biggest attention overall.
Each of our Word Weaver contests has had more entries than its predecessors. I expect that to keep growing, but I think it’s more fun to have different prizes and sponsors occasionally.
In our original July 2017 Word Weaver, almost 1000 people came over a 36 hour period just to see the winners announced and to read the winning entry.
That’s a lot of eyeballs on your book, company, service, etc.
AUTHORS: signed paperback or ebooks/audio books make good prizes and your book cover will be featured in each ad.
NON AUTHORS: ANY product or service that relates to my readers’ interests will be considered. That could be anything, really, but try to keep it Rated G, okay?
Who can be a sponsor?
Anyone, really. I mean, this blog is public, so some shoe maker in Taiwan could be a sponsor if he wanted to.
What kind of stuff makes for good prizes?
All sorts of stuff! You can give away signed copies of your paperback, your ebook, your audio book, your editing service, a gift certificate to Amazon, Starburcks or Omaha Steaks, a dollar amount of swag you produce, book covers, book promotion services, software, etc. Get creative!
Prior author sponsors gave away books and gift cards.
Prior non-author sponsors gave away publishing, editing, and much more.
What’s it cost?
The cost of whatever you decide to give. As of right now, there is NO FEE to be a Word Weaver Sponsor. That is expected to change in future contests as we get world famous and car makers and airlines wanna get in on this.
What do I get?
Promotion, silly! I’ll run weekly promotions during February, almost daily announcements in March (the submission period) and April (during the announcement of the winners), maybe more. I will use the blog, Facebook posts and ads, Twitter, etc, plus your efforts in sharing the contest announcements.
BUT THERE’S MORE!
Sponsors of my contests can get a discount for my other stuff, like $10 off one of those cool sideline ads you’ve been staring at. You guys know me; I do stuff for friends all the time. I didn’t have ANY sponsors for my last contest, did I? (It was a little lonely, I’ll admit it.)
Oh, and I put ads on Facebook and twitter, too. So there’s that. YOUR stuff being seen by all those folks.
Be SEEN by Millions of people,
probably. It could happen. You don’t know.
(I made myself laugh with that last line!)
If you wanna be part of this for March 2018:
Please reply using the Contact Me button and let me know. I will be looking for a first place prize, a second place prize, and a third place prize, plus door prizes like Amazon gift cards, Starbucks, and other fun stuff.
The format will be similar to what we did in April 2017 where all the prizes were featured every time, plus all of my fellow authors books. Click HERE link for that example. (It was really good.)
I’ll decide which prize is best for first and second, etc., by it’s value and appeal to my readership. Publishing and book covers are cool prizes, but all prizes will be considered, and door prizes can be just about anything – your name and website, etc., still get out there every time.
Let me know!
A LIMITED NUMBER OF SPONSORSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE.
I can’t have a hundred sponsors. Well, I could, but I won’t. Yet. Maybe one day. That’d be a lot of stuff to keep track of, and I barely remembered to send out the door prizes last time. Maybe if the car maker people call, though…
If you ever wonder what motivates me to do so much, it’s this. Each writerly thing gets me closer. Some work and get me closer faster; some fail and I learn something to avoid in the future, but all are progress because I win or I learn.