How many writers actually enjoy writing their back cover blurb? It’s a handful of carefully plucked words meant to generate excitement to buy our book. That’s the intent at least. It may not be scientific, but with a quick poll among my writer friends I found around 95% absolutely dread it!
We writers may not enjoy writing back cover blurb, but …
The back cover blurb is an important component of our book marketing
The back cover blurb or book description is an important part of marketing our books, especially eBook’s where potential readers quickly skim covers and descriptions. Traditionally published authors may have a marketing department or publicist do this for their books. Those of us who indie publish have to write our own back cover blurb … or perhaps hire a publicist. (Yes I’ve considered it!)
I struggled with the blurb for Path Unchosen. Luckily for me, my lovely editor, Marcy, helped me and rewrote my waffle into something that sounded much more interesting!
With Truth Unveiled in the final stages of editing, I again struggled with the back cover blurb. It has to capture the hero, her individuality, what she wants, who’s stopping her and the stakes if she fails. Most importantly it has to capture a reader’s attention in a nano second. It must talk to their hearts and get them to open the book and read the first page.
(Writing a fabulous first page requires a whole post to itself!!)
Let’s follow the journey from first attempts to final back cover copy
My first attempt was decidedly pedestrian …
A young necromancer, fearful of her power over the dead, discovers how much she needs her hereditary home at the same time an ancient ancestor rises from the dead. He will stop at nothing to wrest it from her. She has to stop him. Before he kills her and her friends. She has no choice but to use the power that frightens her so much. Can she control it, or will it consume her?
Hmm, not too bad for a first draft, I guess, but not good enough either. Where was the emotion, the passion, the fear? I asked my editor Marcy if she could come up with something to lead me in a stronger direction. Luckily she did!
After growing up orphaned and homeless, new necromancer Meagan Greystone has finally found a place where she feels like she belongs at her ancestral home of Ravenswood Manor. But just as she’s starting to become a valued member of the nearby community, she starts to hear a strange voice in her head—one tempting her with more power than she’s ever known and a chance to learn abilities beyond her wildest dreams.
When Meagan discovers the voice belongs to her great-grandfather, a man known equally for his magical talent and cruelty, she turns to her father’s spirit for help. She decides to properly raise her father from the dead.
During the invocation, the one person she thought would never betray her does, and her great-grandfather rises from the dead instead.
Now he wants to take away everything dear to her and make the people she cares about most into his slaves…unless she either joins him or finds a way to defeat one of the most powerful necromancers who ever lived.
Definitely better! I see a hint of tenuous belonging, temptation, betrayal, loss and a challenging antagonist. Then I tweaked it a little …
New necromancer Meagan Greystone grew up orphaned and homeless. She’s finally found a place where she feels she belongs, her ancestral home, Ravenswood Manor. But just as she’s starting to become a valued member of the nearby community, she hears a strange voice in her head — one tempting her with more power than she’s ever known and a chance to learn abilities beyond her wildest dreams.
When Meagan discovers the voice belongs to her many-times-great-grandfather — Quintus — a man known equally for his magical talent and cruelty, she turns to her father’s spirit for help. But his spirit vanishes. In spite of her fear, she knows she has to properly raise her father from the dead.
During the invocation, the one person she thought would never betray her does, and Quintus rises from the dead instead of her father.
Now walking again, and determined to recover his power, Quintus will take away everything dear to her. He will turn the people she cares about most into his slaves, unless she joins him … or finds a way to defeat one of the most powerful necromancers who ever lived.
I liked it better. But I’d just tweaked a few words. I didn’t love it.
Paying for a professional blurb
Finally, and rather nervously, I decided to give Createspace a go at coming up with a better version as part of their Marketing Essentials Service. It’s cheaper than a publicist … but not cheap at $199USA. This is what they wrote for me:
Meagan Greystone, a new necromancer who grew up orphaned and homeless, has finally discovered a community where she belongs. But as she settles in at Ravenswood Manor, her ancestral home, a strange voice in her head unravels her newfound peace.
The source of the unsettling communication is Quintus, Meagan’s distant ancestor, known for his brutality and incredible power. When she attempts to enlist her father’s help by raising him from the dead, it’s Quintus who regains a foothold in the land of the living. Now reborn, he vows to obliterate everything Meagan treasures unless she joins him in his quest for power.
Meagan must overcome the heartbreak of unimaginable betrayal and fight in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation. Will she find the strength she needs to defeat the power of darkness and save the people and home she has grown to cherish?
Ohhhhh! I like the powerful language. Meagan’s newfound peace unraveling, the heartbreak of unimaginable betrayal.
It’s exactly what I was thinking but couldn’t find the words to say. Was it worth the money? It’s hard to say. But I’m using it and I’d love to hear what you think.
Do any of the blurbs make you want to read the story? What have you done to write fabulous blurbs?