Creating an Engaging Blurb

The Mark of OldraOne of the challenges of self-publishing is creating a blurb or appropriate description for your book. Summarising the story so that others want to read it, all while making it sound intriguing and engaging.

Steps for creating an engaging blurb:
  • Know your main character

You know them, you have lived with them for however long. Now you just need to summarise who they are, what they want and how they got there.

And if you can show that, even better.

  • Know your antagonist

This isn’t always as easy. But be aware that the antagonist may not be another character, it could be the environment.

  • Setting

It is important where your story takes place, in space, medieval world, alternate world, or modern day Hobart. Because setting will say a lot about the genre and help the reader determine if this book is for them.

  • Plot twists and turns

You want to hint at your plot twists without giving them away. Give an idea that things might not be as it seems.

  • Present tense

All blurbs are in the present tense, no matter the tense of your book.

  • Not too long.

I start with a short single sentence. But overall keep your blurb under 170 words.

Examples for The Mark of Oldra:

I started with a single sentence:

Protagonist Versus Antagonist, in Setting, with Twist.

‘Gerry Ryder has been dragged by the snow into a strange new frozen world where more hides in the shadows than expected.’

Not brilliant and not very clear – this is more for me, to try and pull a whole novel into a single sentence and it takes some work and knowledge of your key points.

So after a lot of work, thinking about what is important, trying to show rather than tell. I also add some detail to the main elements so that a reader will care about, or at least be interested in reading to find out more.

 

The final version:

Gerry Ryder shivers violently as the snow settles around her. Huge, black trees glisten with frost as their naked branches clatter in the wind. She isn’t sure if it’s hard to breathe because she’s scared out of her mind, or if this strange, new world is so cold that the air freezes in her lungs.

Gerry struggles to be the soldier the Penna needs her to be. Her dark dreams and visions don’t help. Although she craves a place in Essawood, she really wants to go home.

It is only when the shadows of her dreams appear solid before her and the power of the Oldra is revealed that Gerry can find her place in the snow; a place where a greater threat lies beyond the shadows. One that will devastate everything she thought she knew. One the snow whispers it is her destiny to defeat.

 

I hope this helps you to create an appropriate blurb or description for your book. I’m off to work on the blurb for the next Iski Flare episode.

The Mark of Oldra paperback coming soon.

Do you have any useful tips you have for creating a blurb? Share in the comments.

2016 Midyear Goal Review

Goals for writers

Back at the beginning of the year my writing goals included:

  • Reading every day
  • Continuing with the Legend of Iski Flare novella series with episodes 2, 3 and 4 planned for release this year
  • The Raven Crown series books 1 and 2 planned for release this year. (Book 3 in 2017)
  • The Mark of Oldra (formerly known as Snow) will be released at the beginning of February
  • The Flow of Ink will continue to blog every week and produce a monthly newsletter. I am changing the posting day to Sunday.
  • Improve my marketing skills to boost readership of my books and blog
  • There will be some ideas generating for next year, including expansions on some of the larger works I’m putting out this year and a new series that has started bubbling away.

 

This year I set myself some pretty intensive writing goals.

That was because I thought that if I knuckled down I could produce a lot more quality writing than what I had been.

When I looked at my first quarter some things were a little behind but I was confident I could pick up.

When I made my plan for 2016 I thought I would spend at least 2 hours writing every day. This hasn’t always been the case and sometimes the two hours wasn’t enough to get done what I thought I could.

As of end of June, this is where I am at:

 

The Flow of Ink

I am managing to maintain my weekly blog post. I’m not always organised ahead of time, that is, I would like to schedule blocks of posts at a time. But I’m usually still finalising and finding pictures the morning they are posted. Although this is disappointing I am getting better and the posts are making the website by Sunday.

I am working on improving the website but given my tech abilities this is slow. That may be more to do with confidence as I’m finding by googling ideas for plugins it is easier than I think to do things. I have updated my book page so that it looks more uniform and professional, with nice buttons to link straight to the book page.

 

The Mark of Oldra

After years of work I finally published The Mark of Oldra (formerly known as Snow) my first full length novel, I am really happy with how it ended up.

I am currently working on a print copy which I think I will sell by print on demand and then if it works well, I will look at shopping it around the bookshops.

 

The Legend of Iski Flare

I was a little relaxed in the exact publishing dates for each episode of this series and I have tried to be a little more strict, although I had to push out Episode Two, Red Wolves, by a week.

Episode Three – Heartless is due for release in July and is on track. I am enjoying this book more than the previous and it is a little longer.

Episode Four – The Piper (working title) is in the planning stages and I hope to publish in November. It depends how other writing projects are going, this may be moved forward.

 

The Raven Crown Series

Initially I hoped to get two books out this year and the third early next year.

This has taken longer than I thought – mostly because there was some serious work involved in the editing and I wasn’t putting as much time into it as I should have been. The first edit showed up more holes but the overall story is solid and I’m reasonably pleased with it. I am currently working through the second edit.

I have commissioned a professional cover, which I should see in July/August. I was hoping to publish in August but to be sure that I am putting up a quality product that may need to be pushed out.

 

Social Media

I am still learning here. I’m getting better with Twitter but fear I’m only pushing my books sometimes and I feel the same about Facebook. I have started using Hootsuite to help schedule posts.

There were suggestions that I get into Pinterest – but I am only using this as a reference for ideas for my stories at this point.

I am working my way through a Facebook Advertising for Authors course at the moment in the hope of improving my marketing skills and increase my email list.

 

Reading

I am reading every night and very slowly working my way through the bedside pile, although I add to it all the time. I’m reviewing more and joined a review group. And despite the amount I have to read I keep buying more, and promising more reviews.

 

Additional Stories

My plan for additional short stories went out the window, completely flew away. As the year progressed I realised it was far more important to focus on the main stories/projects and not worry about short side stories for now. And the story that has been bubbling away in the background has starting bubbling a bit more furiously.

 

Overall I am reasonably pleased with how I’m going. I am more or less on track. Although there are times that I feel that it is a moving feast and my plans and goals change. But really it is only the little things, which project to focus on some days, or adjusting end dates. My main goal remains the same – to write and to one day write full time.

I’m trying not to stress about how many books I’m not selling and focus on producing good stories.