The bear of back cover copy
otherwise known as the book blurb…

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I hate writing copy for query letters and back flaps.  Most writers do.  It requires us to boil the story we’ve spent the last who knows how long sweating out onto the page into a few short snappy sentences created to get you, the reader, to raise an eyebrow and open the front cover. 

I love cover art – it’s what gets me to pick up a book in a store, or scroll down the page to the description in the online venue.  But the kicker, at least for me, is the book description.  If this doesn’t strike my fancy, I don’t press the all important purchase button.  I might press the free sample button – and in the store, I might turn to the first page just because I know there’s an art to writing that jacket copy and it isn’t always a reflection of the writer’s skill.   However, when there is a good blurb to go along with a killer cover, I don’t sample or turn to the first page.

Nope. I go all in and take a chance on the book. 

I’ve found that most times, a well crafted blurb means a well crafted book - especially when the book is under the small press or indie framework.  In this framework, it’s usually the author’s responsibility to submit a blurb – or at least a first cut at it as opposed to the big publishing houses that have hired hands creating the cover copy.  

I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion, so how do you get from a 70,000 word novel to a paragraph or two summary, well it’s time to go back to school and the notion of a book report.  What’s the main theme?  I’m sure you could write a ten thousand word dissertation on your theme but that’s not going to catch a reader’s attention. 

Let’s take a look at the original blurb for my favorite all time book – The Stand:

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail -- and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.


Now Mr. King could have chosen any number of key characters but he focused on the central theme of good and evil.  He goes a step further by leaving it just hanging out there, tickling our interest without hinting at the battle we know is inevitable when people take sides. 

Read the blurb aloud.  I dare you. 

Now tell me that didn’t give you goosebumps.  Even if you’ve never read The Stand – this is enough to get you to read the first few pages of that mammoth manuscript.

As an editor, if this blurb passed over my desk, I would be compelled to stop and re-read it, relish the unspoken poetry of it and of course, I’d ask for the full manuscript. Not because this is Stephen King, but because he gave me just enough to tickle that spot. That spot that demands attention, demands to be scratched.  Just enough for me to have to know what happens next.

Incredible power and that’s exactly what you should strive for in writing the back cover copy, but don’t stop there, the book has to deliver the promise you make in the blurb, so make sure your prose are just as sharp and satisfying. 

Thanks for swinging into this stop on my blog tour and I hope you'll find my blurb for Night Hawk one that tickles your fancy!

Selling your soul has never been so charming and Mark throws in a little something to sweeten the pot, his girlfriend Naomi.

Sentenced to death at the hands of a demon, Naomi Hawk has a firsthand lesson in despair and betrayal in Mark’s deal for fame with all the trimmings. Deep in the clutches of the underground brotherhood, Naomi's light is coveted for the Master's gain.

When she slips and falls eighty stories from a precarious ledge, Naomi resigns herself to the inevitable impact and death by shattered bones. Before she can escape her demons in eternal slumber, something sinister plucks her from the plummet, stealing her out of the night to sacrifice her forever to the shadows.

Imprisoned in bottomless darkness, Naomi thirsts for justice…and revenge.

Until next time,

Ciao.

JET



Book Review

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This was a hard book for me to review.  For the most part, I enjoyed reading it, I think it is worth reading, but I couldn't honestly remember any specific tidbits that really stood out to me after the fact.  That being said, the story was fast paced, action packed, and entertaining.  

I found the use of first person point of view for two different characters at times jarring and, with the duration of some of the chapters in each character's POV, sometimes hard to get into (it takes a little bit to reset to thinking that the "I" character is no longer who you think it is), which might have led to the above mentioned lack of tidbits (for me, I guess it was kind of liking switching between English and Spanish each chapter - I'd have to re-immerse myself each time).  I finished the book quickly, so any issues with editing or style didn't slow me down, which I generally use as a guide of whether the editing was adequate.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, was immersed in the plot and the character's plights for most of the day.  I enjoyed the characters and Michael was pretty complex, if a little frustrating (but the best characters always are).  It was a fun little story to cuddle up on the couch with. 


Book Description:

Selling your soul has never been so charming and Mark throws in a little something to sweeten the pot, his girlfriend Naomi.

Sentenced to death at the hands of a demon, Naomi Hawk has a firsthand lesson in despair and betrayal in Mark’s deal for fame with all the trimmings. Deep in the clutches of the underground brotherhood, Naomi's light is coveted for the Master's gain.

When she slips and falls eighty stories from a precarious ledge, Naomi resigns herself to the inevitable impact and death by shattered bones. Before she can escape her demons in eternal slumber, something sinister plucks her from the plummet, stealing her out of the night to sacrifice her forever to the shadows.

Imprisoned in bottomless darkness, Naomi thirsts for justice…and revenge.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About the Author:

J.E. Taylor is a writer, a publisher, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order.  She first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked:

“Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?”

From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back and now her writing resume includes a more than a dozen published novels along with several short stories on the virtual shelves including a few within eXcessica anthologies.

In addition to being co-owner of Novel Concept Publishing

(www.novelconceptpublishing), Ms. Taylor also moonlights as a Senior Editor of Allegory (www.allegoryezine.com), an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She has been known to edit a book or two and also offers her services judging writing contests for various RWA chapters.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine. 

Visit her at www.jetaylor75.com

https://www.facebook.com/JETaylor

https://twitter.com/JETaylor75

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3153969.J_E_Taylor

http://www.amazon.com/J.E.-Taylor/e/B003FER8M6/





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