Illustrator Tauseef Ahmed has agreed to make another unique scene break image for my future publications! If you would like to see some of the wonderful images he has created for me in the past please visit my Illustrations page: Illustration I am really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.
Professional Copy editing has been completed for The Warning Signs. We are moving on to typesetting and proofreading!
We had a blast at the Quad Con events that we participated in during the month of March! We met a lot of amazing people at both shows.
I have added two Quad Con events that we plan on taking part in this summer.
readersfavorite.com will have all three of my available books listed as prizes in the monthly book giveaway. If you are interested in winning some amazing books by great authors you can check out the monthly giveaway here: book giveaway /Rise or/and here: book-giveaway/lost and here: book-giveaway/endow
Upcoming Event Reminders:
Concealed Realms is scheduled to participate in Quad con on July 31st and August 1st in Davenport , IL. This event will take place at the Northpark Mall.
Concealed Realms is now schedule to participate in Quad Con on August 7 in Springfield, IL The event will take place at the Crowne Plaza Convention Center. To learn more visit: quadcity.com
We are scheduled to participate at Raptor Con! The new dates for the event are August 21st and 22nd. This event takes place in Evansville Indiana. To learn more visit: www.RaptorCon.com
*For 10% off your RaptorCon ticket purchase use code CONREAL at checkout*
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” – Mary Lou Cook
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” – Henry Ford
“Everything you can imagine is real.”- Pablo Picasso
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo
“I dwell in possibility.” – Emily Dickinson
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” -Kurt Vonnegut
“Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.”- Bruce Garrabrandt
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”- Albert Einstein
Definition of Blurb:
Noun “a brief advertisement or announcement, especially a laudatory one.” – www.dictionary.com
Noun “a short publicity notice (as on a book jacket).” – www.merriam-webster.com
According to wikipedia “A blurb on a book can be any combination of quotes from the work, the author, the publisher, reviews or fans, a summary of the plot, a biography of the author or simply claims about the importance of the work.”
Recently, during my quest to write a back cover blurb for my new short story collection, I stumbled upon some historical facts about the word, the custom, and where it came from. I thought they would be an interesting inclusion for this creativity post, which will focus on back cover blurb writing in general.
A few interesting facts
Did you know that before the 1820s, most books were published unbound and when paper wrappers were first employed by publishers, they were intended to be discarded? It wasn’t until around the 1920’s that publishers began placing more emphases on dust jackets and it is said to have been after World War I, before they started to include brief book summaries and author biographies on them.
(If you are interested in learning more about the history of dust jackets you may find this article interesting: bookstellyouwhy.com)
The word blurb was coined in 1907, by Gelett Burgess when he presented it on a mock cover of his own book, Are You a Bromide? Publisher’s blurbs had existed before then, but it was Burgess who is credited with putting a name to them.
The history of the blurb is said to have begun with the second edition of Walt Whitman’s collection named, Leaves of Grass, on which Whitman included “I greet you at the beginning of a great career” stamped in gold leaf at the spine. This phrase was said to have been included in a congratulatory letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson after the books initial publication in 1855.
Synopsis, endorsements, and book blurbs.
There have been many occasions in which I have seen these words used to mean the same thing, so I will define them for this post so that there is no confusion on which I am referring too.
Whats the difference?
A synopsis is the detailed outline of your book. This is usually directed towards editor’s and/or publishers rather than the reader. This comprehensive summary generally covers all the major points of the book, the narrative arc, plot, characters, and conclusion.
(If you are interested in learning more about the synopsis, you may find this article helpful: selfpublishingadvice.org)
An Endorsement blurb is where someone says something positive about your book, generally another author or someone well known. These quotes are usually located on the front cover of the book or on the back, either before or following the book blurb. They are testimonials that encourages the reader to buy it.
(If you are looking for endorsements, you may find this article useful: scribemedia.com)
A back cover blurb, sometimes referred to as the book jacket copy, back cover copy, or summary is the 200 or so words on the back of your book that offer a short description of the story within. It is essentially a sales pitch for potential readers.
*For the further purposes of this post, the word blurb refers to this back cover summary.*
You would think that writing a short, exciting, and to the point explanation of your story would be straightforward and uncomplicated after having spent so much time within your novels pages, but its not. Perhaps this is because as the creator, every part of the story feels important and trying to describe a books entire contents in just a few paragraphs can seem impossible, even if you have a nice synopsis at the ready.
I start to create blurbs at the beginning of my writing process and continue to add notes and elevator pitches as I work through my manuscript, but it still takes a lot of time and revision to get to that final version.
In an attempt to accelerate the process, I even tried a blurb writing service a few months ago. Mind you, the service did what they were supposed to do, but the words they sent back to me just weren’t what I wanted… To me, they failed to show the essence of the books contents. I think this is in part because they didn’t read the stories, but rather asked for very brief descriptions (one or two sentences) of the short tales within its pages.
Although I do not plan on using the blurbs they sent me, I wasn’t disappointed. The experience helped me narrow down exactly how I wanted to present my short story collection blurb. Overall, I am glad that I gave the service a try. Perhaps it just wasn’t right for this particular project.
How did I proceed?
Although the presentation of a blurb for an epic novel and a short story collection generally differ, at first I proceeded the same way I have with my other three published books. As I mentioned earlier, I start to create blurbs at the beginning of the process and I tend to keep notes about what to include in the blurb all throughout the manuscripts evolution, so before I had even contacted the aforementioned blurb service, I had pages of ideas to comb through.
After quite a bit of time and brainstorming, I managed to produce four blurbs of different lengths and styles. They seemed pretty solid and yet none seemed just right. In the end, I shared my suggested blurbs with a few trusted individuals and asked for constructive feedback, then when I felt I couldn’t take it any further I shared it with my editor, who offered very valuable insight and criticisms.
Articles and Videos
In the past I have read many articles on blurb writing, hoping that they would sink in and assist with fueling much needed inspiration, but few ever seem to hit home. We all have different writing processes and not everyone will unearth the same type of muse from within the words of others, nevertheless I have included five links below that will lead you too some insightful articles and helpful videos that I have come across.
Reedsy.com (How to Write a Book Blurb: A Guide for Novelists)
annerallen.com (8 Tips for Writing that Killer Blurb)
scottwritesstuff.com (How to Write a Back-of-the-Book Summary)
Bethany Atazadeh (How to Write an Awesome Book Blurb)
A blurb should tell the reader:
- Who the main characters are, without diving into details.
- What it is they most deeply desire.
- What opposing force stands in the way.
- What tone should be expected.
In this brief yet descriptive account of your book, every detail counts. At only a few hundred words, blurbs are short and generally kept simple by avoiding backstory and subplots. These scant paragraphs tend to include vivid attention grabbing phrases. They also often use intriguing questions and exclamation marks. They may even hint at the consequences of the character’s action in order to make it dramatic and/or add tension, but they shouldn’t reveal the ending. Back cover blurbs are meant to leave the reader asking questions and ignite a desire within them to know more.
Two Helpful Blurb Writing Tips and Exercises
There is no perfect formula for writing the best blurb for your novel, but I can offer a few tips and excises that I have found useful for sparking creativity and plotting out the information that best represents the manuscript.
Explore as many blurb samples as you can in the genre’s most closely related to the one you are working on. Reading them may help inspire you in your own writing endeavor and help you determine what things you should focus on with your own blurb. Pay attention to length, point of view, and tone, as well as how much of the story is described.
Try writing a blurb for a book you just read, without looking at the one published on the back cover. Afterwords, compare the original version with the one you just wrote.
Ask yourself these questions to gain clarity. What makes my book different? Who is my target audience? What is it that the they would want to know and what will make them want to know more?
Write and rewrite multiple versions of your blurb to share and gather feedback on. Ask which one the reader liked best and why. Keep improving it until you feel it’s the best possible rendition.
Each blurb can presents different challenge, for instance when creating a blurb for an epic fantasy or a story where several characters affect the outcome of the plot, it can be difficult decide how much is too much. Likewise, while determining how to approach my short story collections blurb, I had to decide which tales best highlighted the books overall contents without describing every story that is included within its pages.
Even with prep you may still find yourself getting stuck. Don’t let yourself stay that way for too long. Create a few version of your blurb and offer them to people you trust for constructive criticism. What I find most helpful is writing examples of blurbs and then asking for impartial critiques. This helps me discover what will work best for the book.
Your blurb should only reveal enough about your plot to make readers ask questions that make them want to read your book to find the answers. Keep the writing simple so that the reader can understand it and absorb it within a few seconds, but make sure they get the right impression. You wouldn’t want a reader to think they are buying a comedy book, when it is a tale of horror.
I hope that you enjoyed this brief look into back cover blurbs. Stay safe and keep being awesome.