Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Laws of Nature

Stellar headline.

What's really funny here is that anyone who has ever had to write a headline for print before knows you're supposed to keep them short and sweet. Not only did they go for loooooonnnnng, but they still managed to mess up the message.

Moral of the story: more does not always mean better.

I'm thinking about this as I think about the fact that I have to write a thirty-word blurb for my novel.

And I thought a 500-word synopsis was tough.

So tell me, what is it on a book blurb that will catch your attention?

Oh, and that surprise I was mentioning... I'm going to have a contest. And I'll heavily favour those who post a reply to this post, because I'm petty that way.

Bring on the burritos!

Or don't drink and make signs?


Bernita said...

Remember a sign "Tuppy's Motel."
Moral: always carry a camera.

Lisa Hunter said...

Do you take these photos yourself? They're hilarious. They ought to be in a book or magazine article.


Christa M. Miller said...

Yeah, that first sign for Hussey's General Store? That's about right for Maine. :P I have also seen signs thus:

"Bates Motel. Hot showers." (Deer Isle-Stonington)

"Mud for Sale." (Penobscot)

"[local restaurant name]. Warm beer, cold food." (Deer Isle-Stonington)

And after all of that, the state's official border sign: "Maine. The Way Life Should be."


Sandra Ruttan said...

Too funny Bernita and Christa!

Hi Lisa,
No, I didn't take these ones. I do take photos - in fact, almost all of the photos on my website are by me ( but I haven't collected some of my wilder offerings just yet.

Although I've got a wild photo of me planned for tomorrow...

JamesO said...

What was the question again? Oh yes, blurbs...

I can't remember the last time a blurb influenced me to buy a book (I can, actually, it was The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett, which I bought in 1987, I think - and the cover art was just as influenctial in my purchase decision.) I tend to take my cues from friends and family, from past experience of the author, or occasionally from reviews - though the last book I bought entirely on the basis of a review turned out to be a big pile of pants.

Consequently, I'm quite conservative in what I read - the circle of living authors I already like seem to produce almost enough new work to keep my slow-reading brain going. Some drop off the list (I've given up with Tom Holt) and they get replaced by new blood (recently discovered a chap called John Rickards, don't know if you've heard of him.)

None of which is any help in getting your blurb written, I'm afraid. But I might suggest summarising the core conflict of the story and leaving everything hanging with an enigmatic statement or a question. Cheesy and unoriginal, I know, but that's probably what the publisher wants.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Well then James, take a look at the page for the book on my website and tell me what you think...

No, that's not the 30-word summary either, LOL!

Kate said...

I mainly use blurbs to check whether it is actually a new book or one I've already read with a new title for America. So I like enough about the plot to make it identifiable.

Just for you, I had a look at the blurbs of some books I had handy. I prefer the ones with something about the character. Interestingly, if I'd only gone by the blurbs I don't think I would ever have read some of my favourite books. There must be a lot of hopeless blurb writers out there.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I was told to write a blurb...summarize my novel in three sentences!

Christa M. Miller said...

Oh yeah... you did ask about blurbs... *blush*

I'm another one who likes "character" blurbs. Here's one for Kate Atkinson's Case Histories: "...wonderfully sympathetic and complex private detective hero..." And another: "Every character comes to life in surprising and deeply human ways."

I read fiction to get a different take on the world I live in, to understand people better, so a blurb that reflects those qualities (backed up by reviews) will probably result in a sale.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Yeah Bonnie, talk about mission impossible!

Kate and Christa, that helps. Although this isn't going to be easy...

Anonymous said...

A blurb has to hit the soul of the story and hook you with something unique. Too many I've seen are info dumps. I glaze over after the third fact sent my way.

Love the illiteracy sign! Can't top that one.

Stuart MacBride said...

Mention nudity - that'll make people buy it.