Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blurbing


 


A blurb is also the bcc, back cover copy, on the back of paper books. It’s what the reader uses to help to decide if they are going to buy the book since it gives a small summary of the story.

This was the bane of my existence for the longest time. I had to summarize a book in 200 words and make it interesting. Could it get any harder? 

One of the first things I learned was I needed distance from the book. The worst thing I could do to myself was write my manuscript then try to do the blurb. I was too close to the story. I couldn’t see the forest and was trying to describe each tree.

#1 Take a break from the book. A few days maybe? I usually write my blurb while my manuscript is out on its beta reader rounds.  Before I read the critics, I write the blurb from what I remember of the story because what is important will stand out.

So, I’d try to shrink this great story into a few thoughts but there is so much conflict my blurb would read like an essay. I had to make it more to the point.

#2 This is where your GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) comes in. Usually the blurb is a paragraph about the heroine’s GMC, the next of the hero’s GMC, and the last what they must overcome to be together.

Okay, I got the blurb to a shorter format, say 200-300 words, but it reads like a medical text. I could hear potential readers snoring already. A blurb is your sales pitch. “You wanna buy me and read this story!” How do I do this? Should I take an advertising class?

#3 I forgot where I read this but someone suggested I study the backs of movie DVDs. They have minimal space to grab a person’s attention. Then someone (Geez, I suck at remembering good advisors!) I think on Divas, told me to write my blurbs as if I’d just seen the best movie EVER and I was telling my best friend about it.

 

Example:

(Let’s see if I can do this under pressure.)

“An eight year old boy’s toys come to life whenever any human isn’t around to see them. It’s the boy’s birthday and his favorite toy, a cowboy, organizes a mission to see what the presents are. The cowboy’s worst nightmare is realized when the boy receives a space ranger as a gift. He’s worried he’ll be replaced.  

The space ranger doesn’t realize he’s a toy and thinks he’s crash landed on an alien planet. The other toys play along with him and help to build his spaceship, which is really his box.

Both the cowboy and the space ranger end up falling out of a window and have to learn to depend on each other for survival.”

 

There, very basic.  Notice I didn’t tell my ‘friend’ the ending because she’d kick my ass, right? You have Woody’s GMC, Buzz’s GMC, and the conflict that brings them together. (Not in a romantic way.) For some reason I’m always using cartoons for my examples.  It’s not perfect but a great place to start before nitpicking at it. AND 110 words long. Plenty of space to expand if need be.

 

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