Saturday, 20 June 2009

4. Writing the Dreaded Blurb... or; "Judging a book by it's cover."

Just before we proceed to the subject of tearing each others masterpieces to shreds (otherwise known as Peer Critiquing;) A quick heads-up on what is probably one of the most important aspects of getting your baby off your hard drive and into the bookshops.

The Dreaded "Blurb."

No-one ever said this was going to be easy. You will have to work hard to make the 30 seconds someone spends looking at your book cover turn into the decision to buy that book.

When you submit your work to a Literary agent or Publisher; depending on their criteria; your submission will usually include:

1) A query letter composed of a blurb of the book... which is usually called "The Hook."

2) Some information about the book; which usually includes genre, word count, etc.

3) Possibly, some sample chapters, if requested; and

4) a short author biography and/or list of writing qualifications... (previous publications, awards, degrees; articles, reviews; etc.)

The blurb really is the one thing that will attract an Agent's or Publisher's attention. If you can't hook them, you won't land them. Your cover letter and synopsis may be Literary Gems; but are of little more value than scrap paper unless you catch their attention with "The Hook."

The blurb is the short narrative on the back of a book which tells a reader what the book is about. A great blurb can make the difference between a customer taking out his/her wallet to buy your book... or putting the book back on the shelf. Great blurbs really do sell books.

The blurb for my novel: "A Bright, and Shining Land" goes like this:

The distant Eastern Kingdom of Astalan has fallen. Falanholme... The Bright, Shining Land; stands, encircled by the most dreadful peril. The Forces of The Darkness have now subjugated almost all of her surrounding neighbours. When Falanholme falls; Baelar...The Lord of The Underdark; will invoked his terrible, creeping "Night of the Shadows Rising." All will be plunged in back into Chaos, as it had been, long ago, in The Age of The Beginnings.
The great plumes of smoke rising in the east bear silent witness to the terrible fate of Astalan, as, what can only be minions of The Darkness, sweep up from the south; pillaging and burning that once-idyllic Kingdom. Falanholme now stands alone; the last beacon of hope left for the subjugated peoples of the West. Falanholme steadfastly refuses to yield.
Against overwhelming odds, nine Guardians of The Light, and a Wraith-Hunter Warrior maid; though, so far outnumbered in warrior and sword; will not go down meekly, and quietly into the Darkness. They will wager all... without question; to preserve such truths and freedom as their peoples hold; no matter the odds arrayed against them. Inspired by their stubborn resilience, the Realms and Kingdoms of Falanholme rise together; casting aside such petty differences they hold; and united, fight as one, for their right to live.

Go here to get some really helpful advice on writing blurbs:

The perfect scenario that you are striving for, is...

whoever picks up the book, reads the blurb, and thinks "I must read this book." They open the cover and read the first paragraph. This is where the real hook lurks in waiting. If your first paragraph makes them think "I must have this book in my life... I cannot possibly live without this book... I must buy it Immediately"... you've hooked them!

If you can do that; then you're on your way.

Next time:

Peer Critiquing... or; What the hell you you know, Smart-ass?... I'm the author!

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