blurb

Blurbtastic!

By Lucy Felthouse

Following on from my little rant last month about the dreaded sucknopsis, I thought I’d better do something more useful this time. And since, as you probably gathered if you read the previous post, synopses (??) are not my strong point, my natural progression was onto blurbs. Something I can do.

Yes, I am one of these rare writer-types that actually likes writing blurbs. Crazy, eh? I’ve even had folk pay me to write or re-write blurbs for them. I suspect my blurb writing skills come from the marketing side of my brain (my creative and marketing sides seem to live in a lovely harmony up in the old grey matter). When I graduated, I ended up in a PR & Marketing role and was immediately pointed in the direction of press releases, sales sheets and advertising copy, and told to “go create!”

Okay, those weren’t the exact words they used, but the bottom line is I was thrown in at the deep end. Fortunately, I discovered I did have an aptitude for writing copy that would entice consumers and retailers to buy products, and I think this is something I’ve continued to improve on over time. So now, when it comes to writing a blurb, I find it pretty easy. It does require a certain amount of distancing yourself from your work, though. It’s simple to think to yourself, oh well, this book is about X, Y and Z, if I just write that, people will get it, and buy the book.


But the thing to remember is that blurbs are meant to entice, to tempt, to intrigue. Not just tell people what the book is about (which is the difference between a synopsis and a blurb). You want to hint what the book is about (while giving enough information so that they know what the genre is, and if it’s their kind of read), but without giving away any major plot points or twists. Try and pick out the most important themes of your book and find a way to include them in the blurb. If possible, ask a question, as many people’s brains will be wired to want to know the answer to that question. And, of course, the way for them to get the answer… buy and read the book!

This may seem obvious, too, but mention your characters – or the main ones, anyway. Blurbs are fairly short and to the point, so you can’t give any great detail, but if you can present potential readers with enough information about your characters and your plot to let them know whether it sounds like a book they’d be interested in, with characters they’d like to read about, then you’re onto a winner.

Here’s one of my own blurbs as an example:

Their love is forbidden by rules, religion and risk. Yet still they can’t resist. [a lead in. Not necessary, but the publication the story was originally written for wanted a short, enticing strap line. This is what I came up with, and I liked it so much I kept it. It immediately tells you that it’s a love story, then goes on to indicate forbidden love, and risk. But then it teases – they can’t resist. So you know pretty much straight away that this is no straightforward love affair, and not a simple story.]

Captain Hugh Wilkes is on his last tour of duty in Afghanistan. [Now you know the name of the lead character, and that he’s military. You also have the setting of the story, not always necessary, but when it’s as interesting as a war zone, it’s probably worth a mention!] The British Army is withdrawing, and Wilkes expects his posting to be event-free [Now you know the character is a Brit, and that he’s expecting no drama on his tour.]. That is, until he meets his Afghan interpreter, Rustam Balkhi, who awakens desires in Wilkes that he’d almost forgotten about, and that won’t be ignored. [Now you know that the potential love interest is an Afghan national, which goes some way to explain the part about their love being forbidden by rules, religion and risk. The fact that the story is M/M is now fairly obvious from the names, but the cover has two men on it – so there should be no confusion there!]

And there you have it – hopefully my notes in brackets all made sense, and pulled out what I believe are important points for a blurb. Basically, keep it short and to the point, don’t give too much away, distance yourself from the story enough that you can see what will appeal to potential readers, and remember, you’re selling your story to someone, making them think “Ooh! That sounds interesting. Click.

If you can, get someone you know and trust to be honest with you to read the blurb. Even better if they haven’t read the story already – if they then want to read the story based on your blurb, then you know you’ve done a good job.

As with most things, writing blurbs takes practice. All publishers are different – some will literally take what you’ve written and use it, others will work with you to improve it, and others still will write something themselves. But the person that knows your story the best is you, so you’ve got the knowledge, the background, to know what will excite readers and pull them in. So it’s definitely worth spending time on your blurb, especially if it’ll be used word for word. You only have a short amount of time to make them want to click that buy button, so don’t waste the opportunity!

I hope you find this useful. Of course, things like this vary from person to person, but you may find this works for you.

Happy Blurbing!
Lucy

*****

Author Bio:


Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and
erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100
publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several
editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic
Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and
co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house.
She owns Erotica For All, is book
editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth
of The Brit Babes. Find out more
at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk.
Join her on Facebook
and Twitter, and subscribe to her
newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

The Dreaded Sucknopsis

by Lucy Felthouse

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1327383

Ahh… the dreaded sucknopsis. Otherwise known as the synopsis. I’m sure many of the writers reading this post are already groaning or resembling the man in the photo at the mere mention of the word, and I don’t blame them.

A necessary evil, the synopsis is basically one big fat spoiler of your work. Describing your tale from beginning to end, including any plot twists, surprises and things to make your readers gasp. I hate writing them. There are several reasons for this. One, because of the spoiler aspect. I know that a synopsis is not something ever intended for a reader to see – otherwise what would be the point of them reading your book? They already know what’s going to happen. No, these are aimed at publishers who may potentially publish your work – they want to know that your work has a plot, a point, a beginning, a middle and an end, and so on. And they’re absolutely right. They don’t want to end up contracting something that’s crap. But it feels so wrong to me to write something down that’s saying what’s going to happen, especially since, for the most part, a synopsis is written before the actual story.

And, following on from that, often with my work I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen until I start writing. Even if I’ve done character profiles, chapter by chapter planning, etc, my creative brain often throws things in at the last minute, literally flowing from brain to fingers to keyboard, which may alter what happens next, throwing me off the line of the synopsis. Mostly, it’s a change for the better, too, so it makes sense to go along with it.

Also, writing a synopsis for something, especially if you haven’t written the book yet can make you lose all enthusiasm for the work. You’ve written four pages on exactly what’s going to happen, ending and all, and now you’re bleurgh about writing the thing. Hence the term sucknopsis – which I didn’t coin, by the way. It’s been around for a long time, and it’s easy to see why 😉

So, how do you feel about writing a synopsis? We’re all different, so maybe there are some of you out there that actually like writing them. Speak up!

Me… nah! Give me a blurb any day. Let me tease you, taunt you, and, above all, not give the plot and any surprises away! I want to make you gasp… in the best possible way 😉

Happy Reading,
Lucy x

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and
erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100
publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several
editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic
Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and
co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house.
She owns Erotica For All, is book
editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth
of The Brit Babes. Find out more
at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk.
Join her on Facebook
and Twitter, and subscribe to her
newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

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