Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blurb Writing 101

I realized I haven't really done a post on blurbs in my writing tips and tricks blogs and I should have.  Really, I should have.

Vague it up much?

There is such a thing as a really good blurb.  Conversely, there are also really bad ones.  Often, when writers try to be mysterious or intriguing, tempting readers to read more...what you're really doing is being so damn vague, readers don't care.

Example 1

Darcy danced her way into fame during her stint on Broadway.  Breaking hearts and taking names, she couldn't love like she once had.

Until they came...

Did it follow the rules?

Why does that suck, Virg?

Who the hell are they?  What do they have to do with her ability to love?  What does any of that have to do with BroadwayWhy do I care? Your reader should never be left wondering why they should care.

Since you gave us none of the information needed, it sucks.  Few readers are going to be interested in such a vague blurb.

Example 2

Monsters are here.  They're among us.  Only Darcy can defeat them...but will she do it before it's too late?

Did it follow the rules?

Again, suckgasm. 

What kind of monsters?  Among who?  What the hell makes Darcy so special?  When you're writing the blurb, you should have a pretty clearcut idea who your audience is, what your genre is, what your major conflict is and you should squash all that together to intrigue the reader. Basically, your blurb should answer the 5W's and the one H.


Who, what, when, where, why, how.  Add a hook to it, and you're done.

Again, the writer might think they're being intriguing in my examples.  They're wrong.  Too many unanswered questions isn't intriguing, it's confusing.  People who are confused aren't happy.  People who aren't happy don't like to give you money.  Just bein' honest here.

Now, let's look at one of my blurbs (since I don't really have permission to share other people's blurbs as examples.)

Sample Blurb 1 (From Dom of the Dead, coming soon from Decadent Pub)

She couldn’t imagine living without him.

When Carson Black’s longtime crush and best friend dies in a bike accident, she openly weeps at his funeral. Never expressing her feelings for him, she thinks she might be going mad from grief when his voice, his scent, his desires…seem to fill her apartment.

He was afraid to demand what he needed.

Randall Stokes loves Carson but didn’t express it while he was alive. A dominant, he didn’t dare dream that the sweet girl next door would do the things that he needed to find satisfaction. When tragedy strikes, he not only has nothing to lose but a suddenly clear view into what she needs, wants, desires. Is it too late to take what they’ve both longed for?

A ghost of a chance…

Love lingers, though his body is gone. Can Carson and Randall find love in the Dom of the Dead?
Did it follow the rules?
Do we know, based on that blurb, who?  Yup, Carson and Randall.  Where?  Okay, vague there. Why?  Because he died.  What?  Something about Bdsm and love. When?  Contemporary--the motorcycle.  How?  Apparently he's haunting her.
Although I answered all these questions, I've left dangling ones.  Is it too late to fall in love with a dead man's ghost?  Well, you'll have to read it to find out.  But I didn't leave so many questions unanswered that readers are sitting there asking themselves what my book is even about.
Sample Blurb 2 (From Proper Care and Feeding of a Sex God, coming in March 2013 from Champagne Books)
Being a sex god isn't easy...

Yes has been a sex god for centuries. No one wrote stories or songs about him but they sure do remember to call out his name at the peak of pleasure. Satisfying the world by fulfilling their carnal needs, he is no stranger to Aphrodite's Island. When his sister, troublemaker that she is, calls him home for what she deems a 'special' job, he shudders to think what she could want.

Being frigid is worse...

Katie can't get off. She's determined it's physically impossible. She's tried everything--toys, men, women, flogging. It's just not happening. Finding an ad for a tropical island promising 'ultimate fantasy experiences' she figures it's worth a shot. It's not going to work, but it's worth a shot.

Passion beyond her wildest dreams...

Who knew the one man who can trip her trigger would refuse to touch her? The more he backs off, the more he tempts her. Katie is fascinated by the man Miss A has sharing her hotel room but, although he seems attracted, he won't do the deed.

Can Katie figure out The Proper Care and Feeding of a Sex God?
Did it follow the rules?
Who?  Yes and Katie.  What? A fantasy vacation with a sex god. Where? Aphrodite's Island. When? Contemporary. (Ad, toys, slang) Why? Because she can't get off and he is a sex god. How? Because Aphrodite set them up.
Again, it answers the questions yet still has a hook.
So, basically try to answer these questions to avoid being vague.  You'll still intrigue readers while not leaving them so confused they don't bother.
Just my advice. 
Happy Writing!!

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