- Becoming a novelist is a major amount of fun, but it’s also very hard work. The unexpected challenges are the ones that come after it’s been accepted for publication. One of the big challenges is to write a short persuasive summary of your book, if your publisher requires you to write it, or you’re self-publishing. Wonderful writers have been known to tear out their hair over this.
But because these blurbs or book descriptions are needed for a book’s back cover, for the Amazon page, the author’s website, and countless book marketing materials, you have to win the challenge. You haven’t come this far to break down on a couple of paragraphs! Blurbs are used everywhere in social media to sell books. They’re probably second only in sales to good cover art.
Tips on Blurb Writing
Here’s an article with good writing advice on book blurbs:
The Fussy Librarian – Beth Bacon on Book Blurb Writing. Anne R. Allen has 8 Tips for Writing That Killer Blurb. I especially like the one about staying true to your genre. There are endless examples as near as your local library or bookstore (online or other). Joanna Penn has a great How to Write Back Blurb for Your Book Some more writing tips on crafting a blurb for your book:
Someone in one of my writing groups asked what makes a great first page. It’s an excellent question, and no two answers will be alike, despite what the bestseller lists and books on writing “the breakout novel” tell us.
Character always draws me into a book. I don’t read many thrillers or fast-paced stories. Someone reported the advice that a first line of a novel should make you nervous. I think that works well for readers who love suspenseful stories. I’m not so reeled in by suspense, but a great character in the book’s opening — even an unappealing person — will catch me.
A Man Called Ove did this, with the most unique character I’ve ever read about. I kept reading just to see who was going to punch him in the face. Here are three book openings whose characters, sketched nimbly in first paragraphs, hooked me. And the books proved just as good as their openings!
Twitter — with all you have to do writing an entire novel, and then spendig nearly as much time finding a publishing house and marketing it after publication — why jump into this fast-moving river that is Twitter? Why grab your 15 seconds of attention in the feed to try and sell your book to readers? The simple answer is because any social platform gives you the chance to benot just an author to potential readers, but a person. You make connections. Hopefully, you meet people who will want to read your books.
I initially joined Twitter to get news. It was the season of the Green Revolution in Iran, and the mainstream media didn’t seem to know that anything was happening. There was this fearless woman tweeting out news from the square where the pro-democracy protest was gathering, and I just signed up because someone on Facebook said that’s where you could find out.
Then I was glued to someone called Oxford Girl, who was putting out tweets through a complex network that allowed her to use her cell phone to get brief reports and pictures of the action out, while (resumably) keeping her safe.
The Atlantic described it this way: “The immediacy of the reports was gripping,” reported the Washington Times. “Well-developed Twitter lists showed a constant stream of situation updates and links to photos and videos, all of which painted a portrait of the developing turmoil. Digital photos and videos proliferated and were picked up and reported in countless external sources safe from the regime’s Net crackdown.” Journalists even gave the unrest in Tehran a second moniker: the “Twitter Revolution.”
My husband couldn’t pry me away from the computer for about three days.
Now the launch of your novel isn’t going to attract the breathless interest a developing revolution gets, but it is a news event, for you and for your fans. It may be modest in comparison to NationalGirlfriendsDay, or whatever outrageous thing the Tweeter-in-Chief posted last night. But it’s news to those who follow you. The difference between Twitter and other platforms is the speed of news and sense of excitement. So it should probably be in your network.
Build a following, largely by following others and tweeting about your writing life (#amwriting #writinglife #amediting are good hashtags to follow and use), and then when you have some news, tweet and ask your @friends to retweet. If you want some basics, here’s The Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Writers.
Follow me @Rachel_Dacus and I’ll follow you back!
I’m having a Saturday writing morning that’s deep into Crazy Lady Writer Head, thanks to too many exciting things to to work on at once. Plus my work-in-progress new novel, I have a novel to edit, a play to finish, a poetry manuscript to edit, and a memoir to edit. I feel like the bride above, who almost wants to call it off when it comes down to really doing the thing.
It’s been a wild ride in my writing world since early February, when I had two offers to publish my debut novel The Renaissance Club, an expression of strong interest (with request for changes) for my next poetry collection, Arabesque, and even interest from a publisher in reviewing my memoir, Rocket Lessons. The thing is, I promised a lot to many, and now I’m facing the Saturday morning page like a sweaty-nervous bride.
See the above video for a glimpse of my writing process today. I think we all should talk about our writing processes not in the usual bland narrative terms, but as illustrated by Broadway musicals. Writing is all about the qualities of the Broadway musical: brightness, energy, force, and action. And an insane belief that inspiration — like love — will always win.
Here’s a more upbeat glimpse of my usual Saturday writing space, which I’m trying to get into today — Anything Goes:
If you had to pick a Broadway number to illustrate your writing head today, which one would it be?