Saturday, April 8, 2017

SPRING FLING BLOCK PARTY WRITING: BLURBS FOR FUN AND PROFIT





Patricia A. Guthrie, Chicago, Illinois 


Hi and WELCOME to RAVE REVIEW BOOK CLUB'S BOOK AND BLOG PARTY AT: 

THE COTTAGE OF BLOG  www.paguthrie.blogspot.com and a soon-to-be revised website: www.patriciaanneguthrie.com. (you may also know me by Anniecollie as a "handle.") I hope you're enjoying the RRBC blog tour. I've been fascinated by some of the blogs and have discovered books I'd like to read but didn't know existed. Now I know. I'd like to introduce you to my books and my blog. This stop focuses on WRITING BLURBS FOR FUN AND PROFIT with examples. Hope you have a good time. 


***

PRIZES:  Here's what I'm giving away for today's blog stop:

Ebook: Legacy of Danger
Ebook: Waterlilies over my Grave
Ebook: In the Arms of the Enemy 

Number of winners for this stop:  3

 This is a great group of authors, readers and reviewers. Unlike some book clubs, we promote each other's works. Some of our activities are: read and review books by RRBC authors, blog radio, forum discussions, conventions, blog and website parties. COME JOIN OUR MEMBERS' SPRING FLING BLOG TOUR  www.ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com








Patricia A. Guthrie, Chicago, Illinois 

CHECK OUT THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BLOG FOR The Fair Lady  A FREE SHORT STORY AND INFORMATION REGARDING MY BOOKS. 





HOW TO WRITE A BLURB


By Patricia A. Guthrie 

            WHAT IS A BLURB?
            
            What the heck is a B-L-U-R-B, you ask? A blurb is that dust jacket on the back of the book's cover that tells the reader what your story is about and intrigues the readers enough they will buy your book.

            TIP: A blurb is NOT a synopsis. Although many will say it’s a short synopsis. Not so. A synopsis tells you the whole story in a nutshell. A blurb MUST NOT give away the ending. Stimulates interest and curiosity? Yes. Entices the reader to buy the book? Yes. Gives away the ending? No.
            
WHY DO YOU NEED ONE?
            Let me count the ways:
            1. Your editor asks you to
            2. You need one for your website page
            3. You need it as part of a proposal for your publisher, agent, editor presentation
            4. Competition entry or
            5. If you should be so lucky, a journalist asks you for one.
            And most important, after the cover, it’s probably the second biggest selling point of your book.
            
When I decided I wanted to learn more about how other authors wrote their blurbs,  I checked five or six sources to see what these writers thought. I discovered that most provided the same elements, so I knew I was on the right track.
            
I concluded, it’s not always the information you give that gives the pizazz, but the packaging. So, here goes my packaging for “How to Write a Blurb.
            
TIP: KEEP THE BLURB SHORT: Readers don’t have the time to pour over a lot of text. Less is more in a blurb. Keep it to a few short paragraphs and focus on the main character, genre, and main plot and leave out the subplots.
            
Make it arouse the reader’s interest in the story, arouse their curiosity—promise them a good read, an adventuresome time. As one writer put it the “What’s in it for me?” factor.
            TIP: know your genre well enough to understand what your readers want to know about your book.

            TIP: Go to your own collection of books or Amazon.com and find books in your genre. Look at their blurbs. What makes you want to open those pages? What are some keywords that may be used throughout your selections?  How long are these blurbs? Some may be longer than others (see examples) but they’re all short.
            TIP: What market are you selling to? That answer will determine the most important information to keep in your blurb. If you’re writing primarily mystery, you don’t want to overshadow this with the romantic lives of your characters. And, if the reader expects romance, don’t emphasis everything but. Give the readers what they want---what they expect.
            
If it’s a multi-genre book, let the reader know it’s a romance but it’s also suspense or mystery or other genre. If it Sci-fi and there’s romance, you’ll want to let the reader know romance plays a part, but the Sci-fi is the important part.  Same with fantasy and other genres.
             
Use language in your blurb that may reflect the overall atmosphere or mood of the story. Word paint your blurb. (as much as you can for so short a synopsis.)  If it’s funny, reflect the humor. If it’s dark write the blurb with dark and ominous sentences like: “And fear was the summer slogan in Lake Nager,” from ‘Waterlilies Over My Grave’ (or something even better)
            KEY ELEMENT: PROTAGONISTS:  Focus on the main character, the one who has the most at stake and the most to lose. In romantic suspense (or romance) there are two equal partners. Each one has his own goals, motivations and conflicts. You might include both---you might not.     
            KEY ELEMENTS: GOAL, MOTIVATION AND CONFLICT: What does the h/h want (goal) why does he/she want it? (motivation) and what stops him/her from reaching his/her goal? (conflict)
           
I’ll repeat: What does s/he want during the course of the book and why does s/he want it. (goal and motivation and conflict is key in the blurb.) And, what or who’s stopping them from reaching that goal.
                                                                                    
            The conflict usually starts with “but” or “however.” Sometimes the H/H/ inner conflicts are as or almost as important to the story as the outer conflict. But, the inner conflicts should at some point intercede and explain why they can’t resolve their outer conflicts.
            
You can generalize how the characters intend to overcome their problem, but don’t give away how they do it.
            
Here comes the story question (the hook.)  
            Will the hero or heroine protect the lead secondary character and come up with a plan to thwart the villain’s game plan that will lead them to disaster? And, what will happen if they do not succeed?
            
In In the Arms of the Enemy, “Maggie and Adam must learn to work together before they find the killer on their doorstep.” Try to make your blurb dramatic filled with tension and intrigue. Remember it's short, so make every word count.
            
Also, you might bring out the story question. Do H/H track down and kill the bad guys before the killers ignite the world’s most powerful bomb? Or do they get blown out of existence and the world as-they-knew it comes to an end? (just an example off the top of my head---oh, and half the movies I’ve seen.) Show urgency that the good guys must win the day or the consequences will be dire either for them or the world at large.  
            Here are few do’s and don’ts.
            Don’t give away the ending.  
            Don’t tell everyone how great your book is or compare yourself to other writers.
            Don’t use overused phrases. Try to be unique---different from other writers.
           
NOTE: You can mention all these things in a blurb and there may be some that are implied. Not everything has to be spelled out, as long as you get the idea across. 




 Here are a three blurbs that may make this clear: 
Here’s a blurb from my romantic suspense novel In the Arms of the Enemy



HORSES, ROMANCE, INSURANCE FRAUD AND MURDER

When the murder of a racing stable’s prize horse and its trainer is blamed on the stable’s owner, his son, HERO Adam Blakely, GOAL is determined to find the killer he thinks might be the trainer’s partner, Maggie McGregor. 
HEROINE Maggie GOAL is determined to leave the tumultuous world of horse racing and returns home to try and find peace.
When a handsome horse owner moves his horse into her father’s boarding stable and asks Maggie to train his horse, MOTIVATION family finances dictate Maggie accept—CONFLICT and that’s when the accidents begin.
CONFLICTS: Drowning in deception and lies, Maggie and Adam search for a killer and uncover an insurance scam so insidious, it threatens to rock a horse racing empire and bring the killer to their doorstep.

This is a romantic suspense so the hero and heroine have equal footing in status.
Maggie is the heroine. She wants to get away from horse racing and find peace and a normal life.
Adam is looking for a killer and thinks Maggie might be responsible.
BUT: When Adam comes to her stable, accidents start to befall Maggie and her life is now in danger.  Further complications: Adam falls in love with his prime suspect.
WHAT TO DO: The have to learn to work together and trust each other when they uncover an insurance scam that kills race horses for money, and find a killer before the killer finds them.



Waterlilies over my Grave  

"You can run, but you can't hide," in this new romantic suspense from Patricia A. Guthrie.

In a spiraling fall into obsessive madness, psychiatrist Duncan Byrne vows revenge against his ex-wife for divorcing him. When she leaves New York, he reflects, "You can run, but you can't hide."

"Psychologist, Annabelle O'Brien begins a new life in the popular resort town of Lake Nager, hoping to find peace and normality. But anonymous threats follow, and Annie finds herself terrorized by a stalker.

Burned-out Detective Mark Driscoll detests the new psychologist who recommends he take time-off. How dare she? But when somebody slashes her tires, ransacks her apartment and kills her cat, Mark spends his mandated furlough playing bodyguard.


They don't count on falling in love; something neither wants, but both need. Nor do they count on women resembling Annie being murdered.

Fear becomes the summer slogan for Lake Nager. 


There are two main characters in "Waterlilies." Annie and Mark. Duncan is also a main character and who can say if he shouldn't have equal footing with Annie and Mark. Since this is a psychological suspense, I've mentioned the bad guy. But here's the dissection of the two main characters.

Goal for Annie: moves across country to get away from her ex-husband
Motivation: He's obsessive and mad, threatens revenge and is a master in the field of psychiatry and disguises. 
Conflict: Anonymous threats, tires slashed, dead cat and women in the town murdered. He's out there and nobody knows where. 

Goal for Mark: Stay on the force and as far from Annie as possible
Motivation: He's been forced to take leave of absence. He killed a teenager in a drug raid, when the boy pulled a gun on Mark's boss.  
Conflict: He has trouble living with the guilt. On his furlough, he's assigned to protect Annie, the psychologist he can't stand.
He has to find the person who's stalking Annie and murdering young women who  resemble her in the town. 
NOTE: There are several subplots in "Waterlilies." 


Legacy of Danger  



If you’d just inherited a castle in Romania, wouldn’t you expect to visit? So does young Elena Dkany, last member of an ancient, noble Romanian family. But, somebody doesn’t want her to reach her destination, and of the two people who can keep her safe, one is the ghost of her deceased husband, and the other the very live presence of the one man she wants to avoid at all costs. As they make their way into the mountainous regions of the Carpathian Mountains, deadly accidents, explosions and murder follow them wherever they go. Someone seems to know their every move.

Here's the simple dissection:

Elena's goal: To reach her castle in Romania
Motivation:    She's just inherited the castle and she wants to go, plus she's been attacked in her Evanston home by an international hitman. Time to discover the truth. 
Conflict: Somebody doesn't want her to reach her destination and seem to be ahead of them at every step of the way. The ones who protect her are: her ex-boyfriend, who she never wants to see again and the ghost of her deceased husband. 

NOTE: There are several subplots in Legacy of Danger. I didn't mention them in the blurb.  


Here are the sources I used for "Blurbs for Fun and Profit."  

How to Write a Blurb (Back Cover Copy) by Marilyn Byerly
The Do’s and Dont's of Writing a Blurb for your Novel by Milena Calizares
4 Easy Steps to an Irresistible Book Blurb by Beth Bacon
Writing a Short Book Blurb by Marg McAlister
Writing the Fiction Synopsis by Pam McCutcheon 

44 comments:

Patricia Guthrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mar said...

Enjoy your party day, Patricia!!

Patricia Guthrie said...

Thanks Marlena!

Unknown said...

Really nice information. I find the Romania and it's history interesting. thanks for a great blog stop today.
Robert Kimbrell

Yvette M. Calleiro said...

Great tips, Patricia! Blurbing (lol) is not easy. It took me forever to write my first blurb. The other blurbs came more naturally after that one, but I still spend time revisiting it before accepting it and sharing it with the world. Your advice was spot on! :-)

Maggie Thom said...

Hi Patricia. Good information. One thing I teach about book blurbs, is to use Setup, Capture and Intrigue. Setup - the theme or underlying problem. Capture - is the heart of the story - what is the protagonist up against, the hurdles, where is s/he at and where does s/he want to be and what's getting in the way. Intrigue - use the climax and ending to entice the reader with where the story might be going. But you're right do not give them away. :) Congratulations on your novels. They sound intriguing.

Noelle Granger said...

This is such good information! Writing blurbs for my book as been THE major problem in all of the ancillary things I have to do. I finally hired some marketing people to do it for me, but I need to try again!
Enjoy the party!

Maggie Thom said...

By the way I also stress the difference between writing fiction and nonfiction book blurbs. They are written quite differently and need to be. :)

Jan Hawke said...

Hi, Patricia - great advice and sources for writing terrific blurbs! Hope you have fun at the party today :-D

Ron Yates said...

Great advice on blurb writing, Patricia. Your books look interesting. Good luck with the party!

Patricia Guthrie said...

Yes Maggie! I didn't mention non-fiction, maybe because I'm mainly a fiction writer. I should have put something in about that. Thank you for your comment.

Patricia Guthrie said...

Someone mentioned they couldn't leave a comment. I suggested to twitter (@paguthrie1) any comments if you couldn't leave them here. Seems like most of you can, however. Thank heavens. Panic time has subsided a bit.

Jan Sikes said...

Great advice, Patricia. The blurb is oftentimes harder to write than the book. Your pointers are great!! Hope you enjoy your day.

Harmony Kent said...

Great pointers on book blurbs, Patricia. Have a lovely tour day! 😊

Lynn Miclea said...

Love your insights and advice about writing a blurb - excellent points! And your books sound so intriguing - I would love to read them! Especially the one that takes place in Romania - my husband is from Romania, so that one looks really special to me. Great blog - so glad I stopped by! :)

coldhandboyack said...

Great information, thanks for sharing it. Have a great party day.

D.L. Finn said...

Great post, Patrica! Good advice on writing blurbs..they are tough to write. "Legacy of Danger" is a book I need to add to my kindle. Enjoy your day :)

Shirley Harris Slaughter said...

Good topic to talk about Patricia. And you're an opera singer too. These tours are a learning experience. I'm glad to get to know you better. Have a great tour!!

D.E Howard said...

Great post - blurbs can be almost as hard to write as the book itself :)

Micki Peluso is the author of "And the Whippoorwill Sang" said...

Hi Pat, this is a great article on writing blurbs. I know I'm weird but I love writing them.It helps to have a good hook since the blurb and cover often sell the book. I read, reviewed and even did some editing on all thee of your excellent romantic suspense stories. You know I am partial to Legacy of Danger due to the paranormal aspects and the setting in Romania. That is a book I could read again and I don't usually read books twice. Enjoy the rest of your book blog tour!!!

F.B. Veneziano (Fran) said...

Great blog! Blurbs! One of my weaknesses. Love the advice. Thanks.

Michael Lynes said...

Thanks for the blurb tips - always helpful.

Have a great RRBC blog day! MikeL

Patricia Guthrie said...

thanks for all your comments so far. I'm glad you feel this blog piece is something that will be useful to you!

Having a great time on my, and everyone else's blog tours.

Larry Landgraf said...

Hi Patricia, thank you for sharing a little of your knowledge about "blurbs". Really needed in my case. I enjoyed your post very much and hope you're having as great a time as I am with this Party. Had a glitch this morning when the internet failed for over four hours and had to run to the city, but that wasn't all bad either as we went to Starbucks for their Wi-Fi. The home system is working now. Party on!

Lizzie Chantree said...

Great information on writing book blurbs. Thanks for sharing with us today. Wishing you great success in all that you do!

MarethM Menichini said...

Thanks so much for such useful tips when it comes to blurb writing, Patricia.
I also liked your books very much, but I think WATERLILIES OVER MY GRAVE will be the first. I look forward to reading it soon. I hope your blog tour is very successful today! Kind regards Maretha Botha

Joy Lo-Bamijoko said...

Hi Patricia, thank you for the very helpful Blurb hints. If we put our ears to the ground, we can always learn new things. :) Have a wonderful and fun filled party. :D

Rhani D'Chae said...

That was a fantastical post, Patricia. I absolutely hate writing blurbs, and I'm pretty bad at it, so this was helpful to me. I hope you're having an awesome day on the tour.

Gwen Plano said...

Great tips about writing Blurbs, Patricia, and very thorough. Thank you! I hope your blog party is great fun for you...All the best!

Gwen Plano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy Scott said...

Hi Patricia, Thanks for a blueprint on how to write blurbs. I'll refer back to this post when I write my next one. Cheers Wendy

Michelle Abbott said...

Some good tips, Patricia. I personally find blurbs harder to write than the book! Have a great day at the party.

Karen Ingalls said...

You have some creative and helpful suggestions for writing a book blurb. It is has been my honor to have you on my blog the past two weeks (www.kareningalls.blogspot.com). Anxious to read your books which are waiting their turn in my TBR list.

Natalie Ducey said...

Thanks for sharing this with us, Patricia! Great tips for sure. Thank you! :)

Suzanne Kelman said...

Hi Patricia,
Thanks for sharing, your post on writing blurbs was very good and perfect timing for me. Thank you!

S Burke said...

Hi, Patricia! Loving this post, I personally enjoy writing my blurbs, and the tips you offer make perfect sense. I'm already a big fan having read and reviewed 'Waterlilies Over My Grave'. 'Legacy of Danger' is already sitting snugly on my TBR, and I am so looking forward to exploring more of your enticing work.

John Howell said...

Excellent information, Patricia. Blurbs can at times be a challenge and it looks like you have broken the code. All the best.

Linda Mims said...

Hi Patricia! I see you're having a great time partying, today! You're also sharing your expertise on writing blurbs, which I needed. I must have changed mine more than a few times! Great post. Enjoy your party.

Kim Cox said...

Thanks for the information on writing blurbs. I hate to read a blurb and still have no idea what the book is about. That happens a lot. I mean it should give you a clue, right. :) Again, thank you and I hope you're having a great party.

Laurie Finkelstein said...

Blurbs are so difficult and yet so important. Great article in putting the elements of a good blurb together. Thank you, now on to the next party!

Charles W. Jones said...

Great information. Waterlilies Over My Grave is a great read.

Brenda Taylor said...

Great information. I need to rewrite the blurbs for my books. Your books look exciting!

Flossie Benton Rogers said...

Thank you for a useful and informative post! I look forward to more.

Patricia Guthrie said...

Hi,

Once again, thank you for all your posts! Blurbs are the hardest things for me to write, too. That's why I did some research and wrote a blog on the basic elements.
I still can't always get it right. I think all my books have many blurbs, some better than others.

Hope you're all having a great blog party time. Virtual champagne all around!