A Little About Cover Blurbs.

Hi Jim,

I’m getting really frustrated with my writing. I’m trying to write a cover blurb for a book I just finished. I have used several others as examples and templates of what to do and what not to do. However, every time I think I’ve got it down, I go back and rewrite the whole thing because it doesn’t convey what I want people to know about my book.

Do you have any insights on writing one of these? I’m getting ready to throw my laptop out the window!

Thanks,
Margie


Hi Margie,

There’s an old saying in IT circles;

Violence and technology are not good bedfellows. 

Don’t throw your laptop out the window! It hasn’t done anything wrong and, despite the momentary feeling of satisfaction, it’s not worth it.

Laptop-Crying-Eye-Contact

Stop technology abuse!

Okay, on topic. Believe it or not, you’re in good company. Writing a blurb is the bane of almost every writer out there. I know many writers who would rather bang out a 400 page manuscript then write a 2-3 paragraph blurb. It’s tough because, in addition to being a brief summary, it’s also a sale’s pitch. This is the difference between a synopsis and a blurb. A synopsis just gives you a detailed summary of a book without giving too much away.

A blurb does the same to a lesser extent but also attempts to draw the reader in.

Your timing couldn’t be better as I’ve decided to revisit my blurb for The Orphans of Haven.

You’ve already done part of the work by looking at other samples. So what’s next? Well…

I think the first thing you should do is introduce the conflict. What problem are your characters facing? Spend a sentence or two addressing that. Make sure your first sentence is powerful and can effectively draw someone in so that they want to read more. A lot of people rarely read past the first sentence. If they’re not hooked right away, you’re not as likely to make a sale.

The next step is to introduce your main character(s). At a minimum, you need to introduce the main focus of the story. Give them a name and a brief, one-sentence- description of who/what they are. (veteran, police officer, normal guy, etc.)

Next, establish your hook. This really needs to be done in the first paragraph and near the beginning. The whole idea of the blurb is to entice the readers. Give them something that will make them want to rip that cover open.

Next, establish setting and mood. Give your readers a brief peek into the world your characters live in. Let them experience it for themselves.

Finally, leave the reader on a cliffhanger. Leave the reader wondering what will happen. You can do this easily by asking a question “Can our hero beat his enemy?”
“What will happen if he cannot solve the crime?”
“If he fails, reality as we know it may not survive.”

In this case, it is perfectly fine to leave the reader hanging.

Don’t be afraid to use a lot of hyperbole. Treat this like a sale’s pitch. Using big, exciting phrases will help you to draw your reader in. Try to keep your sentence short. This isn’t always possible, but there are ways to break up a longer one.

Finally, keep it short. Do not write a book to put on the back of your book. Three paragraphs at most IMHO. Establish what you need to and then end it.

Now, what should you avoid?

Well for starters, don’t give too much away. If you tell the reader too much, what’s the point of reading your book? This one cannot be overstated. You shouldn’t tell the reader anything past the introductory chapters of your book.

Secondly, leave out irrelevant details. This should be a given, based on how little space you have, but I see people put in distracting details way too often.

Finally, avoid misleading language. Don’t put anything on the back of your book that could be easily misinterpretted. You don’t want to give a reader the idea that your book is one thing, only for it to turn out to be completely different.

Anyway. I hope this helps a little. Good luck with your blurb! Readers, if I’ve missed anything or you have advice on how you write a blurb, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Thanks!

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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From My Writing Playlist


Actually heard this at the gym the other day. It had a pretty good sound, so I quickly Spotify’d the tune. It’s not metal, but it’s got a good rock sound to it. I added it to my playlist when I got home.

When to Listen:  Caffeine music!!! This song is charged with positive energy. Use it when you hit a slump or when you need some push to get started.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Confident Writing, Learning to Let Go, Resources, Personal Writing Advice and Tips… and whatever else I could cram in!

Jim,
I love the blog, and I read it as much as possible. I’ve always been a writer, it never really mattered what I was writing as long as I was writing.  I’ve done lots of journaling and short stories but I really enjoy writimg comic books.
I was curious if you had any tips as I have what I’ve been told are some incredible scripts but I always doubt myself and rewrite and rewrite; it just seems to be my process!
I have one script that’s getting a lot of traffic and noticed amongst some indie publishers and I think there is always room for improvement.
Can you recommend any books, online course in creative writing, or just any tips you may use to better yourself.
I’m almost 40 and I think I knew I was meant to write; it’s part of my corporate job, but I’m just looking for ways to be the very best I can because it looks like one of my most recent scripts is definitely a go. As soon as we finalize a few small details, and one very big one, an artist, lol, i’ll submit my first 12 issues.
It’s not my first published work, but definitely will be the most recognized and get the most exposure, so I want to go back and spend another week or two just cleaning up some dialog and I’m looking for any tips I can get. I read as much as I can and always ask for constructive criticism, so anything you got, please share!
Best Regards,
David Conine

 

Hi David,

Wow… that’s a pretty huge ask and I have to admit that I’m slightly out of my element when it comes to the process of comic book creation. Though I have danced with the idea a few times myself. If I’d been able to find an artist who would work for… well whatever profit we’d made… Drakin and Soul Siphon would likely have been comics. That said, I pride myself on giving my readers something to work with.

So let’s go through your asks one at a time. So it looks like you’re already halfway home in that writing is part of your job. Honestly, I’ve never really had professional training. I simply had a lot of great ideas and was lucky enough to be surrounded by the right connections and the right experienced people to help me navigate the waters. It’s something I’ve tried to pass on here. Since you have that, you’re off to a good start.

I actually want you to look at a few statements you made:

“I’ve been told are some incredible scripts but I always doubt myself ”

“I’m almost 40 and I think I knew I was meant to write; it’s part of my corporate job”

“It’s not my first published work, but definitely will be the most recognized”

“I have one script that’s getting a lot of traffic and noticed”

One of these statements doesn’t belong with the rest. Can you guess which one? If you said the first one, you’d be right. You’ve got four things pushing you forward and one holding you back. Build your confidence. Especially if you’re already getting traction.

Whenever I get apprehensive about something, I usually just shrug and say, “Hey, the best view of Heaven is on the Highway to Hell.”

Basically what I mean by that is that even if you go on a path that will likely lead to crashing and burning, at least you tried and you gained valuable experience… and probably had a great time doing it.

“I was curious if you had any tips as I have what I’ve been told are some incredible scripts but I always doubt myself and rewrite and rewrite; it just seems to be my process!”

There really isn’t any trick here. In most cases, when a writer gets stuck in this sort of rabbit hole, the only way they break out of it is to move on to another project. The best thing you can do for yourself is to do 6… maybe 7 drafts and then say, “You know what? It may not be perfect, but it’s good enough.”

And if your mind says, “Well no it isn’t.”

You just have to put the pen down and be like, “No it is. That’s it, I’m done with this one.”

It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s the only way you won’t drive yourself insane. An artist will never be 100% satisfied with his work. NEVER! The trick is to get yourself at least 75% satisfied and be able to be happy with that. Find a way to pull yourself away, distract yourself, whatever.

I know that’s not much to go on, but you’re talking about something that literally all writers, artists, and musicians have suffered through at some point and none of us have found the perfect answer in how to deal with it.

“Can you recommend any books, online course in creative writing, or just any tips you may use to better yourself. “

I can’t really recommend any books on writing. I’m not really an academic in that way. The few books I’ve read with writing advice and techniques… I’ve found to be extremely arbitrary and in most cases, their methods will only work for one or two small groups of people that think a very specific way. So some of my readers may disagree with me, but instructional writing textbooks may not be the way to go.

I also haven’t taken any online courses. That being said, I have gone to several writing workshops/classes at both the local state and community colleges in my area. These are usually fairly priced, or in some cases, free. I’d look into something like that. Though if you’re looking for something a little more online-community, goodreads.com is worth a peak. They have all sorts of resources and message boards to help writers.

As for tips, I’d recommend going back through my blog. I have a whole library of FAQs, writing styles, etc. that should be able to assist. However to give you at least one piece of advice… I’ll give you the one I always wrote.

I remember when looking for interesting books to read… Most everything was disappointing or hard to get through. Then I watched an interview with someone who helped Tolkien write his novels. Tolkien essentially wrote his novels because there was nothing out there that he found interesting. So he wrote stories he’d want to read.

That’s essentially how I do it. I write for myself… people just happen to like what I write. So when writing, write for yourself. Write something you’d enjoy reading over and over. If you write something you really love, your readers will pick up on it. Don’t worry if other people will like it or not. What is the worst thing that can happen? It get’s some bad reviews, one stars, panned off the interwebs, and you go back to the drawing board. That’s all.

“I’m almost 40 and I think I knew I was meant to write; it’s part of my corporate job, but I’m just looking for ways to be the very best I can because it looks like one of my most recent scripts is definitely a go.”

I don’t know that there is much more I can tell you. You seem like you’ve already found your success. I would just say that you need to work on your confidence. Remember, when writing, it’s not you against the world. It’s not you against other writers. It’s simply you against you. How far are you willing to go? How hard are you willing to work? How much will you endure? If you have the stamina, you can do anything.

Just don’t sweat the small details. Let your editors worry about that.

“It’s not my first published work, but definitely will be the most recognized and get the most exposure, so I want to go back and spend another week or two just cleaning up some dialog and I’m looking for any tips I can get. I read as much as I can and always ask for constructive criticism, so anything you got, please share!”

I would say that it’s time to leave it alone. If it’s already a go, then you really shouldn’t have to do much more. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. Make sure it goes through editing (Other than you!) and then submit it to whoever has shown interest…

And please let me know when it goes on sale and if I can get an autographed copy ;)!

I do collect comics, as well as rare/unique/autographed/1st editions. So something like this would greatly interest me… especially if anything I did helped you along the way.

Readers, do you have any advice for our new friend here? Let him know in the comments.

David, please feel free to follow up with me if you need any further advice.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim