4.08.2014

How To Build a Better Blurb

I confess writing the blurb has been the bane of my writerly existence. The only thing worse, for me, than writing the blurb is writing the dreaded synopsis.

My very first published work was a short story entitled Snow White and the Seven Dogs for an anthology. After signing the contract, my publisher wanted me to write a blurb and a tagline for my story. I discovered the blurb was just a little bit different from the 250 – 350 word description I inserted into the query that hopefully captured my publisher’s attention. No, the blurb, that wonderful bit of marketing that describes my book to the reading public, is another animal—and this beast has to have sharp teeth to grab a reader’s attention.

My early attempts at writing blurbs...well, those attempts sucked. Writing a well worded, concise, hard to ignore blurb is difficult and frustrating. How does an author condense her baby into a couple of hundred words? I struggled with this authorly skill until I received some wonderful direction from Lisa Dawn, the marketing guru at The Wild Rose Press.

Since then, I’ve noticed there are two predominant workable styles of blurb floating around the purchase links on Amazon and other fine eBook vendors.

The first style is the one Lisa suggested, and I love it because it breaks the blurb down into three manageable sections, and I am all for something that organizes my scattered thoughts. I am going to use the blurb she helped me with as an example.

First paragraph—Heroine’s goal, motivation, and conflict

Five years ago, a tragic accident robbed Chris Smith of a normal life (her goal is to live a normal life). Left with only a jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and bits of memory—smells, sounds, and fleeting feelings—she copes with the loss of her identity (her motivation is to cope with her loss of identity). Amnesia has made her life a living purgatory (which leads to her conflict)…until she meets Steve West.

Second paragraph—Hero’s motivation, goal, and conflict

Steve’s construction company is remodeling the ski lifts in Purgatory, Colorado. However looking at Chris is seeing the face of his deceased wife (his goal is to get over losing his wife). Now the truths he’d been forced to believe (his conflict is that he believes she was never dead) have him searching for answers (his motivation is to prove she’s still alive).

Third paragraph—an overall conflict, premise wrap up

Murder, deception, and missing ransom money. Can Steve protect Chris…and prove she’s the wife he never believed dead before the killer tries again?

I love the one, two, and three punch in this short paragraph. Those three bites at the beginning wrap the plot premise up neatly. An added bonus? Lisa suggested writing the blurb with the intention of pasting parts of the verbiage into a 140-character Twitter post.

So here are the tweets than I dug out of the blurb...

A jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and bits of memory #Purgatory #TWRP #romance #suspense #Colorado http://tinyurl.com/nfvw7tb 

Looking at Chris is seeing the face of his deceased wife. #Purgatory #romance #suspense #TWRP http://tinyurl.com/nfvw7tb

Murder, deception, and missing ransom money #Purgatory #TWRP #suspense  #romance http://tinyurl.com/nfvw7tb

Can Steve protect Chris and prove she’s the wife he never believe dead? #Purgatory #TWRP #suspense #romance http://tinyurl.com/nfvw7tb


Ummm... Feel free to post the above tweets to your Twitter feed. 

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