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the importance of the blurb

If I thought writing a novel was hard, writing the all-important blurb is even harder!

How well the blurb is written will drive the reader to start the book or discard it for something else.

How on earth do you get the essence of what your book is about down to a few short paragraphs?

I’m up to about the fourth draft and rewrite of Aqua Bay and on my list of things to do in this editing process was to write a captivating blurb. Being the newbie that I am at writing I need as much help as I can get (but I thought I did a reasonably good job with Haven River). I Googled to find the best resources on book blurb writing.

researching blurb formulae

I narrowed down the websites that had good, easy-to-understand information:

inkandquills.com

Michael Brent Collings

Writers Write

Marilyn Byerly

Taking the suggestions from the above websites and rather than use just one formula I compiled some draft blurbs. It was an interesting exercise. I tried to stick with the formula suggested, but ultimately in the redrafts I would change things which probably meant I deviated off somewhere (like I do!). In the end I think you have to go with your instincts too as to what ‘feels’ right.

practice, practice, practice

Writing the blurbs took me a couple of hours and I’m still not completely happy with them. You know when you read the back of the book and the copy is written so well you just want to read the book? I want mine to be like that. It’s not there yet. I’m struggling, but author Rosalind James in her excellent blog on How to Write a Blurb has given me hope:

Practice, practice, practice. Don’t expect to “write your blurb” and be done. The general rule in copywriting is: the shorter the copy, the longer it takes to write. Every word has to count. It may be hard to think the blurb up in your head. Instead, start writing, then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And after that, walk away, come back, and polish. Rinse and repeat. It usually takes me a week to be completely satisfied with my blurb, though the total time I spend on it is normally, maybe a couple hours? Besides the time when I think it up, generally on a walk or a run, towards the end of writing the book.

Write it, mess with it, print it out, look at it, scribble on your paper, go back to the computer and mess some more. Experiment with changing Paragraph 2. Leave both versions there. Print it out again. Etc.

how you can get involved with aqua bay

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I’d love your opinion on the examples below:

Example 1 (follows inkandquills.com formula)

Nerissa Taylor, a dolphin eco-tour guide, loves her job showing tourists the pristine beauty of Aqua Bay.

All that is about to end. Her future is just around the corner as she prepares to move to the city and marry her fiancé, Scott.

But a threat could destroy Aqua Bay.

Jackson Darnell, a geologist with a cavalier attitude, is on a mission to investigate oil exploration in the area.

When Nerissa and Jackson’s paths cross, sparks fly as their goals clash.

Tension rises when Nerissa is forced to question exactly what she wants in life and face a frightening unresolved issue from her past. And she is determined to prevent Jackson from getting anywhere near the sea and the precious dolphins.

How far will Nerissa go to protect Aqua Bay?

Example 2 (modelled from the back of a contemporary romance book)

Something is about to threaten the things Nerissa Taylor loves the most– her fiancé, Scott, and the dolphins that swim and play in the spectacularly beautiful Aqua Bay.

Jackson Darnell, a geologist with a cavalier attitude, arrives in town to investigate oil exploration in Aqua Bay.

Right from the start, Nerissa and Jackson’s paths clash, sparks fly and loyalties are tested.

Nerissa is forced to question her true-calling is and deal with a frightening unresolved issue from her past.

How far will Nerissa go to protect Aqua Bay?

Example 3 (follows michaelbrent Collings formula)

Nerissa Taylor’s heart lies in the spectacularly beautiful Aqua Bay. As an eco-tour guide she proudly showcases the delightful dolphins to the many tourists who visit the area.

Soon Nerissa will prepare to leave Aqua Bay, move to the city and marry her fiancé, Scott.

But there is a new threat on the horizon.

Jackson Darnell, a geologist with a cavalier attitude, arrives in town to investigate oil exploration in Aqua Bay.

Right from the start, Nerissa and Jackson’s paths clash, sparks fly and loyalties are tested.

Nerissa is forced to question what her true-calling is and deal with a frightening unresolved issue from her past.

Can Nerissa save Aqua Bay before it’s too late?

Example 4 – SCOPE

Nerissa Taylor is a dolphin eco-tour guide in the spectacularly beautiful, Aqua Bay.

But just when she is preparing to move to the city and marry her fiancé, Scott, trouble comes to town.

Jackson Darnell, a geologist with a cavalier attitude, is on a mission to investigate oil exploration in Aqua Bay. And Nerissa is not at all happy about this.

As Nerissa and Jackson’s paths cross, sparks fly and loyalties are tested, Nerissa will be forced to make decisions that question her values and where her true love lies.

Can Nerissa convince Jackson that what he’s doing is wrong before it’s too late?

Example 5 – marilynbyerly.com

Nerissa Taylor, a dolphin eco-tour guide, will leave her beloved Aqua Bay at the end of summer to live in the city and marry her fiancé, Scott.

Geologist Jackson Darnell arrives in Aqua Bay to investigate oil exploration possibilities hiding behind a cavalier attitude to avoid the pain of his past.

When Nerissa and Jackson’s paths cross, sparks fly as their goals clash.

Increasing tension forces Nerissa to question what she wants in life and face a frightening unresolved issue. And she is determined to prevent Jackson from getting anywhere near the sea and the precious dolphins.

How far will Nerissa go to protect Aqua Bay?

Example 6 – Variation

Nerissa Taylor’s heart has always been in the spectacularly beautiful, Aqua Bay, where is she is a dolphin eco-tour guide.

At the end of the summer she will leave Aqua Bay, move to the city and marry her fiancé, Scott.

But when geologist, Jackson Darnell, arrives in town intent on investigating oil exploration in Aqua Bay tension rises, sparks fly and loyalties are tested.

Nerissa is forced to question exactly what she wants in life and face a frightening unresolved issue from her past. And whatever happens she is determined to prevent Jackson from getting anywhere near the sea and the precious dolphins.

How much will Nerissa sacrifice to save her beloved Aqua Bay?

 

Tell me which one you like the most, the one which would make you want to read the book. And happy for any other suggestions or variations!

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