1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

writing book blurbs

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Harbinger, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

    103
    10
    18
    I am about to sit down and try a few attempts. Just wondering if anyone had any tips for what to include. I've been noticing a lot of fantasy blurbs have been about what ISN'T in the book (ie: no magic/boy heroes/talking creatures/ elves etc).
     
  2. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    1,474
    436
    83
    I think the basics are

    • The usual plot core: what different sides want that makes conflict, what methods they use (wage wars, assassinate, ride dragons), what prices they pay, what their arc might be throughout the tale.
    • Zero in what makes your book distinct ("riding steam-powered robodragons" --sorry, but you get the idea), and its greatest strengths (if you think the worldbuilding's better than most, play it up; if you're proud of your action...).
    • And, look for anything you can say about yourself that's especially cool --either "oh, this guy would know about that" or just "wow, not everyone's done THAT."
     
    Chilari likes this.
  3. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    1,242
    333
    83
    That you've been looking at other back of the book descriptions is the first step.

    Like was said, what makes your book stand out from the pack?

    Look at it from a reader's point of view, and step away from the author's persepctive. If possible, get some input from those who've read your novel--or at least have them take a look at a draft of it after you've written it.
     
  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    3,599
    1,519
    163
    I recently wrote an article on writing a query letter. You can take a lot of info from that. A book blurb is similar to a query, but without all the stuff about you or the stats on the novel itself. How to Write a Query Letter
     
  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    4,369
    947
    113
    I'm no expert, but it seems like putting what's not in the book would be inefficient. Ideally, you want to encapsulate what's in the book in the shortest space possible. Every word counts. There's an infinite amount of information about what is not in the book.

    I echo what others have said above: what is special about your book? That's what you need to convey in the blurb.

    Are you self publishing? If so, is this for the Amazon description or for the back of the book? Or, is this for websites, etc.?

    If it's for the Amazon description, you may want to read How to Make a Killing on Kindle. The author describes how to use the description to make the book appear more often during searches.
     
  6. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

    103
    10
    18
    Thanks to everyone for their reply.

    It ll be for an amazon book/ querey letters. I made a list of everything i think is unique and have been trying different angles...thats an interesting point bw about searches i ll have to look into that more
     
  7. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    4,369
    947
    113
    If you buy the book, be careful with Chapter 6. The advice he gives is against Amazon's TOS.

    I haven't tried his techniques yet, but I plan to when I self publish mid 2013. Overall, I'd guess that buying the book is probably worth it. It doesn't cost a lot, and the time investment seems minimal.

    If you use any of the techniques, I'd really appreciate it if you report back on their effectiveness.
     
  8. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

    103
    10
    18
    Alright here is my first attempt:

    Anger is a gift.

    The Arusyan Empire controls half of the known world, and its borders are still expanding. After ruthlessly conquering Somaria, the king now has the westlands in his sights.

    Against the mighty empire stands Carleon Orion, a former imperial soldier now leading the south in rebellion. Using their shared hatred of the Arusyans, Carleon took a band of outcasts and rogues and turned them into deadly warriors.

    Caught in the wake of the escalating conflict, Danario Solidor is taken in by the rebels after his village is burned to the ground. He finds other orphaned children like himself, and together they train and wait for the day they can avenge their loved ones.

    Ashes in the Fall is a fresh new medieval fantasy story. No elves, no magic- just an action-packed tale about a young boy and an ex-soldier whose lives have been turned to ashes by the empire.
     
  9. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    4,369
    947
    113
    I like this a lot!

    IMO, a blurb needs to be tight. Words like "of" after "half" definitely need to be deleted. In a more macro comment, I'd delete this entire sentence. I feel it's unnecessary in getting to the heart of your book.

    King Character Name has the westlands in his sights. Carlean Orion, a former..., stands against him (note, making the conflict personal).

    I like the next paragraph up through "together they train."

    I'd add another pararaph about the boy's struggle/how he ties into Carlean. That's the meat of your story, right?

    Personally, I hate the last paragraph. If you tell me the story is about an orphan overcoming tyranny, why would I even think there are elves?

    Just some thoughts; I'm definitely not an expert on writing blurbs. BTW, the part about the orphan does sound interesting.

    Hope this helps!

    Brian
     
  10. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

    103
    10
    18
    I think I need to redo the first paragraph entirely. I used the king but the king actually isn't in the story he's away at war. The prince is actually in charge while he's away and is the main antagonist. I have to figure out a way to reword that. What's funny is the last paragrapgh is more or less copied from one of Sullivan's examples. It worked for him so I thought it'd work for me haha. Thanks for the comments B.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  11. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    4,369
    947
    113
    It's all a matter of taste. Again, I don't like the concept of saying what's not in a story. To me, it seems impossible to draw someone in based on what something is not. If you have a compelling story, and hopefully you do if you're publishing a book, conveying what it is about that story that is compelling seems to me to be your best bet.
     
  12. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    1,474
    436
    83
    I think that's exactly the key for covering subgenres in blurbs: play up what gloriously Is There so much nobody needs to talk about what isn't, until you're sure it's squeezed out. (That and, if there's a way to use a genre name that does fit, get it in of course.)

    (On the other hand, I've used "not a __ but a __" genre-talk for more conversational things like requesting reviews.)
     
  13. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

    103
    10
    18
    I'm kinda undecided. I like the 'no elves' only because when I first started writing my whole goal was to prove that you could write a good story without all the gimmicks. So I guess it's sort of a pride thing. I'll see how I feel when I try the second attempt.
     
  14. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    2,049
    660
    113
    Harbinger, you don't need to say it's a fantasy without magic or elves. You seem under the impression that you're writing the equivalent to a detective novel without a detective. Neither of these two elements are fundamental elements of fantasy. Gemmell didn't use elves. Neither does Hobb. Pratchett doesn't have Tolkeinesque elves. I would consider Stone Spring and Bronze Summer by Stephen Baxter to be fantasy, but there are neither elves nor magic in those. A lot of what I write involves neither elves nor magic, and I'm sure the same goes for others on this forum.

    If you were writing detective novel, it wouldn't be without a detective, it would be without a gun. Guns are common features in detective novels, sure, but not essential. A lot of stuff set in the UK, where we don't tend to have guns (except farmers and some London and customs police), doesn't involve guns in any way whatsoever, either in the hands of the detective or the killer. Then there's Cadfael: a medieval monk solving crimes from Shrewsbury Abbey (which, interestingly, looks surprisingly similar to Nottingham Castle in the Robin Hood series, but I digress).

    If you've done a good job telling the reader what the book IS about, why do you need to tell them what it ISN'T about? Look at the blurbs on the backs of books and tell me how many of them actually do that. It sounds like one of them did. But I bet that's one in a thousand at the most.

    Other than that, advice already given is good regarding naming the antagonist in particular.
     
  15. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

    103
    10
    18
    Im not trying to say im the only one that doesnt use that stuff. I just had that mind set when i started writing as a teen and it stuck with me. I read that example and it resonated with me thats probably why i liked it. Someone else mustve liked it too considering how well sullivan did. The general public thinks of elves and magic and vampires whenever they hear fantasy i just want them to see its more than that that s all
     
  16. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    2,049
    660
    113
    You've told us what the book is about: an old soldier and an orphan fighting against tyranny. There is no reason to expect elves or magic, or for that matter dragons, dwarves, vampires or ballet dancers, because you've not specified they would be there, and neither have you hinted at anything beyond the natural. If you'd said they would encounter strange sights and beings unlike anyone or anything they'd ever seen before, the reader might expect something along the lines of magic and elves, but you haven't so they don't. Telling the reader what isn't in your story is, in my view, jarring.
     
Loading...

Share This Page