Writing my book blurb… let me know what you think!

As you all know, the front cover of my book is complete. The designer is now ready to start work on the back cover. He just needs one minor thing from me first… a blurb.

EEK!

I don’t know about you, but I find blurbs notoriously difficult to write. What can I say about The Big Smoke in less than 200 words that will convince people that they not only want to read the book, but that it should go to the very top of their to-read piles?

I’m sure most authors probably feel the same way, but 150-200 words doesn’t seem enough to convey all The Big Smoke has to offer. The fact that the story has two equally important protagonists also makes things that little bit trickier to summarise.

So, once again, I’m asking for your help. I’ve written two versions of a blurb (which have some similarities), and I’d love to get your thoughts on what you like and what you don’t. Feel free to pull them apart entirely!

Blurb 1

For Ceara Wilson, tomorrow is the biggest day of her life – the day she moves from her tiny hometown to Brisbane for uni. But thanks to her clueless mother, tomorrow will be a nightmare, because she’ll be moving in with two people from high school who think she’s completely worthless.

On the same day Ceara is due to move to Brisbane, so is Seb Barkley. Unlike Ceara, Seb’s psyched about escaping his hometown. As far as he’s concerned, 17 years is long enough in a town as small as Mildah. He can’t wait to meet a city chick and finally have some ‘success’.

As Ceara and Seb move in a street away from each other, both think they know what to expect from their first uni semester. But they couldn’t be more wrong. The next six months will challenge them in ways they’ve never imagined. Their closest friendships will be put to the test, long-buried secrets will be uncovered and they’ll be forced to question what they really want from their lives – a question that, at times, seems almost impossible to answer.

(182 words)

Blurb 2

Ceara Wilson and Seb Barkley may be strangers, but they have a few things in common. They’re both seventeen, they’re both due to move from their tiny hometowns to Brisbane for uni, and they’re both totally unhappy with the people they’ll be moving in with. For Ceara, it’s two people from high school who think she’s completely worthless. For Seb, it’s a weirdo cousin he hasn’t spoken to for years.

As Ceara and Seb move in a street away from each other, both think they know the challenges that lay ahead in their first semester at uni. But they couldn’t be more wrong. The next six months will test them in ways they’ve never imagined. Their closest friendships will be put to the test, long-buried secrets will be uncovered and they’ll be forced to question what they really want from their lives.

Will they have the courage to find the answers?

(151 words)

Your turn

Fire away! Do you like one better than the other? Hate them both? If so, why? What are they missing? If you love one of them, why? What’s working for you? Or maybe there are parts you like in one and other parts you like in the other. If so, what are they? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

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11 Comments

Filed under Self publishing, The Big Smoke

11 responses to “Writing my book blurb… let me know what you think!

  1. Laura Barnes

    I prefer number 2. Makes me want to read what their relationship will be like. You’ve established that they are 17 and are heading to uni… There is one sentence I don’t like. This one includes the ‘long-buried secrets’. From when? They are still teenagers. Long-buried (to me) sounds like something you might raise as a fully fledged adult that you did (or that happened to you) during the earlier phases of your life. Unless there is some kind of abuse that occurred to either of them as a child? Guess I’ll have to read the book to find out!!

  2. Robyn Martin

    Definitely prefer version 2, although I am having issues with ‘both think that they know the challenges that lay ahead.’ Have you flicked into past tense with ‘lay’? Also the word ‘test’ appears twice in the same paragraph. Suggest reworking it and using a different word for one of them. Partially agree with Laura on the ‘long-buried’ secrets too, although I do understand what you are trying to say, having read the book. Oh it is so easy to be critical, and so difficult to come up with the perfect blurb. It’s promising, and with a little tweaking it will be fabulous.

  3. I like the second one better than the first. My only suggestion would be to try to pull the reader in a little more emotionally. This link is about pitches but it might help you a little with the idea http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/thrillerfest-2011-pitch
    On the whole, though, I think number 2 is pretty good.

  4. Mark

    Hi Cally (wifey)

    I think the second one reads better. I think best to put the blurb about Ceara and Seb moving out in the same paragraph …….

    Where do you dedicate the book to me?

    mwaaaa

  5. waitingforthatrocket

    I’ll be the lone dissenter. I like the first one better. The second one links Seb and Ceara much more than I think a blurb should.

    I think the first has just the right amount of implied without giving anything away.

  6. I like Blurb 2 for the reasons that the others have stated.

  7. Cally, Blurb 2 but this version needs to flow better. It’s wordy, e.g. Ceara and Seb maybe strangers (Ceara and Seb are strangers). Edit things like, more wrong and frequent they’re.

  8. I like the 2nd one 🙂

    I think, because it talks more about the characters and their relationship, and that’s the kind of stuff I like reading 🙂

    Xx

  9. I like the second one better. I’d work on the second paragraph of it though – maybe find one of the major conflict issues and actually identify it, rather than the more vague, overview problems?

    The other question is, will these two people meet and have a relationship? Romance is a HUGE draw card for me. I’d be disappointed if I thought the two were getting together, then read the whole book to find out they just run in the same circles or whatever.

    I’d get specific on that, if you can. Do they meet, or not? Do they help each other find the answers, or not?

  10. Second one is better. I think it is almost there, but you can improve it a little by using some show don’t tell in there as well, especially with the opening lines. Does the story take place BEFORE the move to Brisbane? Otherwise try focusing on the arrival in Brisbane – the blurb doesn’t have to start where the novel does. (‘Finally it’s time for Ceara’s big move to Brisbane, Uni life will be great… right? Well it could have been, if she wasn’t dumped in with dorm mates that HATE her…’) Obviously just a vague suggestion. Have a play and see what you come up with 🙂

  11. Ditto, second one. But as others have said, I think you can aim for greater simplicity with the language. I also think you can suggest the relationshp a bit more because that’ll help draw readers in.

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