Author Topic: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 76112 times)

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2014, 08:02:54 PM »
Thanks Rho. I see the benefit of fewer words to increase focus and impact. Here's a slightly shorter version. What do you think?

A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and Charley Manner adrift in a fishing chair. ??? ::) After a Coast Guard rescue, he and former Seal teammate, Hawk Handy, return to retrieve the chair and find a body in it. That's when things got interesting. Murder, a map and hidden treasure mixed with ambush by a Cuban drug cartel make Charley's life in the Florida Keys exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him.

AQ

Charley's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel demand action. Perhaps more than Charley can manage.  :-[ :-[ :-[  70 words.

  Just fiddling -- the reason I shifted the nearly kills him to the front is the link to his boat accident rather than the other aspects because placed last it acts as a spoiler -- hey, he must survive if it only nearly kills him. :-\ :-\
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 08:04:39 PM by 510bhan »

Artemis Quark

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2014, 08:11:07 PM »
Charley's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel demand action. Perhaps more than Charley can manage.  :-[ :-[ :-[  70 words.

  Just fiddling -- the reason I shifted the nearly kills him to the front is the link to his boat accident rather than the other aspects because placed last it acts as a spoiler -- hey, he must survive if it only nearly kills him. :-\ :-\

Good point, Sio. The order of events and how they are portrayed in the blurb are key. Got to keep that in mind. Thanks for your fiddle. Feel free to fiddle another tune when you get the chance.  ;D

Here's a tweak of your fiddle that I think hits the mark:

Charley Manner's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Navy Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel add more challenges. Perhaps more than Charley can handle.

AQ
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 08:17:54 PM by Artemis Quark »

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #47 on: September 19, 2014, 03:16:06 AM »
Charley Manner's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. Sso exciting, it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White sunk his boat and left him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he Charlie and a former Navy Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel add more challenges. Perhaps more than Charley can handle. just might be enough to sink Charley once and for all.

AQ

Just some tinkering with the tinkers. The rhythm isn't right yet, but it might work with a polish. ;)
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Offline Dawn

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #48 on: September 19, 2014, 03:53:59 AM »

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.



You seem to have 3 plots running along each other which would tie up with the mixed pov's I know you have used. I do worry this together will be far too much for this age group. From all the research I have done you should only have one pivotal plot. However, Mrs N, that being said I am great believer in breaking the mould. But it would need to be quite an easy read.
Time to take it serious and get the job done

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #49 on: September 19, 2014, 04:28:13 AM »
Charley Manner's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Navy Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel add more challenges. Perhaps more than Charley can handle.

I'm not sure it's wise telling the reader Charley's life is exciting. Too much tell in the blurb is not going to attract many readers. You either imply the excitement in what follows or leave it out entirely.
I also think you need to remove the mundane details (the length of the shark and how Charley got rescued) and focus on the plot. Something like:

Charley Manner's battle with a Great White leaves his boat sunk and him adrift in the Florida Keys.
When a former Navy Seal teammate helps Charley retrieve his fishing chair they stumble across a body and a map to hidden treasure.
But when a Cuban drug cartel becomes involved Charley's battle is only beginning.


H3K

hillwalker3000

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #50 on: September 19, 2014, 04:38:32 AM »
A large wolf helps Alex Aylward rescue his twin daughters from armed gangsters.
To protect the girls from dark forces, they move into a mansion and discover mythical creatures, imprisoned by a warlock – who wants them back.

130,000 words seems excessively long even for a fantasy. If you manage to secure a publisher the chances are they will ask you to cut that in half.

As for the blurb - it's coming across as two separate stories at the very least.

1) Alex's children are being held by armed gangsters (most gangsters are armed so no point mentioning it)

2) A large wolf (again - the size makes no difference in the blurb) helps rescue them. . . and they move to a mansion (?)
That seems a rather strange thing to do - maybe a too-convenient attempt to marry together two separate plot elements

3) Mythical creatures are imprisoned inside the mansion by a warlock. . . and so?

Gangsters, children, wolves, mythical creatures and a warlock. . . it seems a bizarre combination to me and comes across as chaotic rather than original, I'm afraid. jmo.

H3K

Offline Rho

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #51 on: September 19, 2014, 04:58:35 AM »
130,000 words seems excessively long even for a fantasy. If you manage to secure a publisher the chances are they will ask you to cut that in half.

As for the blurb - it's coming across as two separate stories at the very least.

1) Alex's children are being held by armed gangsters (most gangsters are armed so no point mentioning it)

2) A large wolf (again - the size makes no difference in the blurb) helps rescue them. . . and they move to a mansion (?)
That seems a rather strange thing to do - maybe a too-convenient attempt to marry together two separate plot elements

3) Mythical creatures are imprisoned inside the mansion by a warlock. . . and so?

Gangsters, children, wolves, mythical creatures and a warlock. . . it seems a bizarre combination to me and comes across as chaotic rather than original, I'm afraid. jmo.

H3K


Word count is a problem, it was nearly 400,000, so I split it into three books.
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Pale Writer

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #52 on: September 19, 2014, 07:14:12 AM »

Quote
Charley Manner's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Navy Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel add more challenges. Perhaps more than Charley can handle.

A lot happening, but does it all need to be told right here? I don't know if you do. You need to leave a bit for the story, so they don't see it all but want to. . . or so my thoughts on blurps seem to be. So another pov.

*

Charley Manner's day went to hell from the get go. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and the Cuban drug cartel wanted their cut. Most would walk away. Then again, most weren't ex Navy Seals. But would that training be enough?

Artemis Quark

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #53 on: September 19, 2014, 07:56:35 AM »
Just some tinkering with the tinkers. The rhythm isn't right yet, but it might work with a polish. ;)

You say the rhythm isn't right yet, Annmarie, but I do like where you've taken it. The pace accelerates. Thanks.


I'm not sure it's wise telling the reader Charley's life is exciting. Too much tell in the blurb is not going to attract many readers. You either imply the excitement in what follows or leave it out entirely.
I also think you need to remove the mundane details (the length of the shark and how Charley got rescued) and focus on the plot. Something like:

Charley Manner's battle with a Great White leaves his boat sunk and him adrift in the Florida Keys.
When a former Navy Seal teammate helps Charley retrieve his fishing chair they stumble across a body and a map to hidden treasure.
But when a Cuban drug cartel becomes involved Charley's battle is only beginning.


H3K

Good advice about the telling, Hilly. I like the directness of your version, but still like the rhythm of Annmarie's suggestion. Merging the two, Annika's style and your content, may be a good recipe. Thanks.


A lot happening, but does it all need to be told right here? I don't know if you do. You need to leave a bit for the story, so they don't see it all but want to. . . or so my thoughts on blurps seem to be. So another pov.

*
Charley Manner's day went to hell from the get go. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and the Cuban drug cartel wanted their cut. Most would walk away. Then again, most weren't ex Navy Seals. But would that training be enough?


Thanks, Pale. Another good example of accelerating tension, using a simple listing of events without extraneous fluff.


All three suggestions are appreciated. A balanced combination will make the blurb stronger.

AQ

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #54 on: September 19, 2014, 08:21:55 AM »
Quote
In 1955, actress Lily Romero’s children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she can’t 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 won’t let her forget.


Your's is kinda harder to do because the connections. She seemed too focused on the career vice her children in this blurp, and she might indeed be that type of woman, but I think you don't want to turn a reader off too quickly. You need to show some sort of turmoil, and determination. And yet, also show that type of woman you want her to be.  so...  

*

In 1955, actress Lily Romero's children were abducted by a woman from her past, one who knew of her Nazi connections. Torn between the safe return of her children, and the possibility its investigation could ruin her new life in the States, Lily didn't know what to do. Or did she?

*

I don't know if details from her past need to be shown, just the results for now, hints that 'something' might not be accepted by her new homeland. The last line, you could expand, if she had help from another, you could direct it more with a name, or an organisation. You want the reader to want to know.

Hard to say because this is a difficult one

Artemis Quark

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #55 on: September 19, 2014, 09:43:26 AM »
Genre: Action /Adventure
Title: Something Fishy
Word count (goal): 60,000
Target audience: 80,000,000 boomers

Charley Manner's retirement in the Florida Keys is full of surprises. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and a Cuban drug cartel wants the treasure. Charley's training as a former Navy Seal prepared him for dangerous situations but this may be more than he can handle alone.


I've melded the previous suggestions and revisited Wolfe's formula for blurbs while reducing the word count to 58.

Wolfe's formula, with my [comments] added:

1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation. [Charley is a retiree, how exciting. No, but my hope is to attract the millions of boomer retirees with so much time to read and dream about a more adventurous life living in 'paradise,' shark fishing, finding dead bodies and hunting for hidden treasure.]

2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible. [With the helpful suggestions from Hilly, Pale, Annmarie, Sio, and Rho I believe the second line concisely states the main plot, including murder, treasure and danger.]

3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict. [The drug cartel antagonist challenges Charley's ex-Navy Seal skills and is the primary source of conflict.]

AQ

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #56 on: September 19, 2014, 09:51:57 AM »
Yup, I think if you entice a reader, it should work. You have a whole story setting the hook. I know they all shouldn't be in point-form, so a bit of free-flow probably helps.


Offline MiggsEye

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #57 on: September 19, 2014, 09:57:54 AM »
Genre: Action /Adventure
Title: Something Fishy
Word count (goal): 60,000
Target audience: 80,000,000 boomers

Charley Manner's retirement in the Florida Keys is full of surprises. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and a Cuban drug cartel wants the treasure. Charley's training as a former Navy Seal prepared him for dangerous situations but this may be more than he can handle alone.

I'd buy that book. And I'm in Generation X, or rather a cuspie between that and the Boomers.

I like this one AQ.
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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #58 on: September 19, 2014, 10:03:09 AM »
In the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is here's one I prepared earlier:

'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.

...assumes she'd run away. / or / ...assumes she's run away.   - I can assume it is from home, more importantly it is the act that she has run away you might wish to draw attention to.

...seem interested in investigating.  - I know what from the previous mention. ) interesting in investigating  - in sounding

...is convinced her friend has been abducted by aliens.  (love this :) - but I don't think  'that' is require and sort of takes a bit away from a human touch'  that/her   - which is stronger?   I think 'her'  ' that  ' I would use on an object.

it's too late - for me this lessened the power of discovery, it's too late, so no sense reading about it.  I'd leave that off.

*Watch out for 'seems/assumes' they lessen again.

**

Still, as with all these blurps, the interest is there.

« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 11:59:07 AM by Pale Writer »

hillwalker3000

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Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #59 on: September 19, 2014, 01:01:28 PM »
Hi Paley,

everybody assumes she has done something - or everybody assumed she had done something.

I read somewhere that blurbs are best written in present tense regardless of how the story itself is narrated.

Your other suggs are good though. Thanks.

H3K