Author Topic: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 76113 times)

Wolfe

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2014, 10:29:14 PM »
]When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home.
Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance,
Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.

To be fair, I read this to a beta reader and she was very interested. So, obviously, opinions will vary. ;)

Offline bailish

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2014, 01:19:00 AM »
But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late.

These lines sounded uninteresting, too vague. I would trim it as follows:

When Katie discovers the school photographer is involved, she ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2014, 03:26:41 AM »
What a fantastic idea for a thread!

I've always thought a good blurb can help focus a story while you're writing it.

Quote
Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age 8-11yrs

Tripps believes his mother has committed murder. She is about to kill again. Lexi feels responsible for the accident that resulted in her mother's death. Syreeta knows the truth. But all she wants is to add the souls of children to her bracelet.

I agree with others that this has too many things going on. I don't know how it all links together. I also don't know whose story it is. Who am I supposed to care about the most? We have two mothers, one a killer, one dead. And then the souls of children. How does it tie together?


Quote
'Toad in the Hole and Toley Bags'
30,000 words - 9-12-year olds:

When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home.
Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance,
Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.
H3K

This just needs a trim. You know how to do that well, Hilly, so I won't be more specific. I also agree about the clichť phrasing. And I don't understand the title.


Okay, to keep the ball rolling, here's an attempted blurb for the book I'm working on:  :)

Crime/thriller, adults. I'll shoot for about 85-90,000 words:

In 1955, actress Lily Romeroís children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she canít tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children wonít let her forget.

« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 04:28:24 AM by Annmarie »
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Offline bailish

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2014, 04:51:02 AM »
In 1955, actress Lily Romeroís children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she canít tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children wonít let her forget.

She knew it would happen.... She thought it was forgotten.

These two comments seem to contradict. Also, I felt this was a slow read -- too many words for the message. Needs a trim.

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2014, 04:55:36 AM »
She knew it would happen.... She thought it was forgotten.

These two comments seem to contradict. Also, I felt this was a slow read -- too many words for the message. Needs a trim.


Thanks, Bailish. Looks like an "it" issue. The first refers to the kidnapping, the second to the film. Will work on it!
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Jo Bannister

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2014, 05:29:54 AM »
There are two kinds of blurb that authors need to produce, and they are subtly different.

The thread refers specifically to hooking the publisher, which is the first and probably the most important thing we need to do.  Hard to improve on Wolfe's advice for this.  What they're looking for is the ultimate synopsis - a beginning, a middle and an end, in maybe 150 words.  They need an overview of the finished product.  They don't want catchy or clever, but they do want a fair representation of how you write.

If your pitch is successful, the second kind of blurb you'll be asked for is for the jacket, to be read by potential purchasers.  This time you don't want to tell the whole story, however briefly.  You want to introduce your main characters, in just enough words that PPs might start caring what happens to them, and sketch in the difficulties they face (if no difficulties, no book!) but stop short of the spoiler than might make a PP think, "Well, now I know what happens I don't need to buy it!"  Some sort of a cliff-hanger, as long as it isn't too crude, can work well, completing the blurb but leaving the PP wanting more.

Writing a good blurb is harder than it sounds.  The fewer words you have to play with - the publisher will specify what he wants for the jacket - the harder it is.  I always find I've grossly over-written, but the exercise of cropping is beneficial in its own right: makes me concentrate on what really matters.

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2014, 05:48:49 AM »
Great points, thanks, Jo. I was thinking more back-of-book blurb, but the thread did say publishers.  :)
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hillwalker3000

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2014, 06:11:23 AM »
To be fair, I read this to a beta reader and she was very interested. So, obviously, opinions will vary. ;)

 ;)

The question is - would my target audience (or their parents) find it interesting enough to buy/read. I'll keep working on it. . .

. . .and yes, Mrs N. It's finished and about to be released on Createspace ahead of my second YA novel due for publication by Red Telephone Books later this year. I guess the more writing you have out there in the big wide world the more likely you are to start generating sales and some kind of 'market presence'.

H3K

hillwalker3000

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2014, 06:13:29 AM »
There are two kinds of blurb that authors need to produce, and they are subtly different.
The thread refers specifically to hooking the publisher, which is the first and probably the most important thing we need to do.

In which case my example doesn't fit on here. It was meant to be the back-cover blurb.

H3K

hillwalker3000

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2014, 06:15:23 AM »
When Katie discovers the school photographer is involved, she ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.

Thanks. It's shorter - but it now reads as cause and effect, which isn't the case. I'll keep working on it.  ;D

H3K

hillwalker3000

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2014, 06:17:50 AM »
I don't understand the title.

Toad in the Hole - Katie's favourite food (Sausages baked in batter)

Toley Bags - Katie's least favourite things (doggie poo bags)

It's set in Scotland (hopefully soon to be the independent nation of Scotland) so the title would make more sense around here.

H3K

hillwalker3000

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2014, 06:25:21 AM »
Quote
In 1955, actress Lily Romeroís children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she canít tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children wonít let her forget.

This would intrigue me enough to browse between the covers. But you can trim here and there without weakening the hook imo.

In 1955 Lily Romeroís children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen but she canít tell the police. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children wonít let her forget.

We discover she was an actress soon enough.
If she expects it to happen she'll automatically know who's involved.
The threat to her new identity is also implied since she'd hardly be putting her Nazi involvement on her CV.

H3K

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2014, 06:35:55 AM »
This would intrigue me enough to browse between the covers. But you can trim here and there without weakening the hook imo.

In 1955 Lily Romeroís children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen but she canít tell the police. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children wonít let her forget.

We discover she was an actress soon enough.
If she expects it to happen she'll automatically know who's involved.
The threat to her new identity is also implied since she'd hardly be putting her Nazi involvement on her CV.

H3K


The Trim King has come through again. Thanks.  ;D

It's early days for this book, but a decent, focused blurb (basically, a good premise) will save me a lot of grief, I think. I'll be putting this and other revision suggestions in my novel scrapbook to refer to as I go along.

Maybe as we continue the thread, posters can specify if they're putting up a blurb for a publisher versus a back-of-book. Both are good skills to practice and can exist on the same thread.
Work hard. Believe. Take a chance.

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2014, 06:38:42 AM »
Toad in the Hole - Katie's favourite food (Sausages baked in batter)

Toley Bags - Katie's least favourite things (doggie poo bags)

It's set in Scotland (hopefully soon to be the independent nation of Scotland) so the title would make more sense around here.

H3K

Thanks for the explanations. Learn a new thing every day.

(*Small hijack: I'm neutral on Scotland, since I'm not British. But it is interesting to see the English beg... Hijack over.*)
Work hard. Believe. Take a chance.

Offline Don

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2014, 08:19:37 AM »
Quote
In 1955, actress Lily Romeroís children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she canít tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children wonít let her forget.

She knew it would could happen.

At least Lily isn't psychic now. Truth be told, I don't think the line is needed at all.

(Note: I like Annmarie's suggestion that we also specify which type of blurb--publisher or book jacket--we are trying for.)
I have a motto: when in doubt, go for the cheap laugh.