Friday, February 29, 2008

Blurb it!

Today I want to talk about writing blurbs and pitches. Blurbs are used for many different things: they are included in query letters, pitched to agents/editors at a conferences, and some end up on book jackets. In all cases, the blurb serves the same purpose, to entice the intended audience into reading more.

Most blurbs are only a couple lines long, maybe a couple paragraphs at most, and they have a lot to do in that small amount of space. Each word counts, and should work toward introducing main characters and throwing out a plot hook strong enough to draw in readers.

I've written a handful of blurbs (that may or may not be any good) but all have been for 'first books'. A couple days ago, I had a chance to see my agent face to face, and she asked me to send her a blurb for the sequel to the book she is currently pitching to editors, so she can pitch it as a series with a little more authority.

My first thought was, "Hey, no problem. I can do that." After all, I have (a very rough) first draft of the book written. How hard could it be to write a blurb about it?

Very, from what I've found. I'm really struggling with this blurb. I'm continuing with the same characters and world as the first book, and the book opens just a couple weeks after the last chapter of the first book. What I keep running into is, how much needs to be said about the events from the previous story? Do I start it assuming the reader already knows the main character, or in one dynamic sentence or two do I bring the reader up to speed on the changes that occurred to her during the first book?

How much is too much, and how much is too little? I think that is the problem I'm running in to.

So, I want to hear the opinions of other readers. In published series, who do you think writes truly wonderful back cover blurbs? What do you like to see/read when you flip over a book in a series. What draws you in? What pushes you away? And of those reading who are writers What tips can you share about writing blurbs?

Happy Friday everyone!

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