Monday, September 5, 2016

Bad Blurbs in the Real World, Part 2

A book description or back cover blurb is the third-best promotion you have.  (The first is name recognition, the second the cover.)  The first two may get a reader to glance at your offering, but a good or bad blurb can make or break the sale.  

I receive a number of ebook promotion emails like BookBuzz and Fussy Librarian, and some of the book blurbs have been so bad that I’ve started collecting them.  

Here are a few with the author and book title removed to protect the incompetent.  My comments beneath each one.

NOTE:  To see how to write a good blurb, please read my article on the subject or do a search of my blog with the term “blurb” for links in my “Links of Interest” articles.  To learn how to figure out your genre, clink on this.  



The White River Monster has eluded people for over a century. Manhunts were brought to a fever pitch in Newport, Arkansas, where people were anxious to prove its existence of the river monster. But, it went unfounded. 

For years, sightings were reported up and down the White River, but no physical evidence ever came forth. Soon the monster faded into obscurity and was dismissed as a legend never to be solved ... that is until now! 

Thriller writer ******  brings this cryptozoological mystery to life -- in a classic tale of drippy, slimy, and deadly horror!

Yes, it’s about a legendary monster.  We got that the first time you said it.  You didn’t have to keep repeating it.  Get to the point already.  Also, what is the threat that makes us want to keep reading?



Three months ago, I was the girl who wore her hair in a saggy ponytail, the girl with the stutter. I despised my mom's cooking, gamed too much, and laughed at all my dad's corny jokes. I'd never been kissed or gotten into trouble. I was *****, human, prone to screwups and mishaps. No more, no less. Three months ago, my new life started. And nothing's been coincidence since.

A good start with a character description then ends with so much vagueness that the reader has no idea what kind of novel it is.  She could have gotten a makeover, become a vampire, or died.  

“Coincidence” is the wrong word.  “Ordinary,” maybe?



Meet retired cop, Sam Prichard. Sam opens his practice as a Private Investigator, and gets his first real case almost instantly: Find Barry Wallace, a local rock singer who was on the verge of making it big, and vanished suddenly! When Barry's body turns up minus his head and hands, the case becomes ominous, and now he has to find a killer, instead! 

Meet this author who can’t punctuate sentences correctly and really, really loves exclamation points!!!!!!



Out of work reporter Clarissa Spencer is being stalked by a stray cat. She can’t cook to save her life, her garden is an overgrown mess and her chocolate chip cookie addiction is out of control. Then to top it all off, she gets struck by lightning!  

Clarissa thinks she has it bad - until she learns the town mayor has been shot to death and his widow has been falsely accused of killing him.  Okay, so it could be worse…

Clarissa makes it her mission to expose the true killer before her arch nemesis - an infuriatingly handsome reporter from the city newspaper - can.  Unfortunately, solving a murder is easier said than done...especially with the lunacy in Clarissa's life!

The cover with a witch and the title both say magic, but the blurb does not.  Sometimes, the blurb is the only selling tool you have so you need to make the genre known.  Also, too much space is spent about gardens and cooking which have nothing to do with the plot.  The author should have used it to up the paranormal element.  



Does the Devil exist? there really a fallen angel named Lucifer? Are the temptations that beset mankind really the products of an evil Satan? Are the fires of Hell a reality? And your answers to these questions are:_____? Undecided, perhaps? Then, read on. Compared favorably by many to renown authors of horror and suspense such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Bram Stoker, Russia's Master of Horror ******** introduces us to his world... the world of angels and devils, of Lucifer and Lucifer's son, the world of temptation and seduction in his latest masterpiece of deviltry and suspense. In a world of horror and fear that is almost too realistic to be fiction, *****’s characters burst from the pages, come alive and open up their innermost beings... revelations that will shock and mesmerize the reader, who--while filled with fear and anxiety--will be unable to put ***** down until the last terrifying conclusion.

Since the answer is a foregone conclusion, the first sentences are an utter waste of space when the writer should have been concentrating on what the dang book is about.  Which he doesn’t do, by the way.  A nice presentation of the author’s credentials, though.



With her romantic life in turmoil, reporter Jenessa Jones makes dangerous enemies when she digs into a cold case… Twists and turns abound in this delightful mystery! 

This isn’t a dreadful blurb, but the bit about the character’s romantic life really doesn’t add anything since it’s a mystery, not a romance, so the space would be better spent on the mystery.



John ****  is the man the government depends on when all else fails. Can someone with such valuable skills ever hope to lead a normal life? 

Action/Adventure isn’t about finding a normal life.  It’s about having an extraordinary life that the reader can live vicariously.  



His precious touch could prove deadly… When Taylor **** moves from New York City to Big Bear Lake, California, her life is forever changed when she meets a hot guy with winter-blue eyes named Jesse. Their attraction is instant, the chemistry undeniable. But sadly, things aren't adding up. Taylor wonders what her 'crush' is hiding.

“Precious?”  A very poor word choice.  

Also, this description sets up a romance, not a fantasy/paranormal novel.  



The Shade a Vampire has left in my family is still hunting me, making my life a restless chase.It's not only my job, I have a personal vendetta to carry out against vampires. 




When Eve moves to the big city, she’s determined to discover the life that enchanted her mother so long ago. Can a cranky ghost help Eve find her own place in the world? 

Supernatural suspense is about suspense, danger, and maybe a bit of horror.  This book description is about none of these things.



The girl’s body lay on the riverbank, her arms outflung. Her blonde hair lay in matted clumps, shockingly pale against the muddy bank. Her face was like a porcelain sculpture that had been broken and glued back together: grey cracks were visible under the white sheen of her dead skin. Her lips were so blue they could have been traced in ink.

Mysteries are about the solving of the murder, not a visual of the body.  The reader wants to know about the sleuth and/or the killer.  There’s no hint here of either.  Plus, the first sentence has a misplaced modifier, and the rest of the sentences are repetitive in structure.  Visuals are nice, though.  



“Emergency!” “Christ! Who shot her?” “Don’t know.” “What a mess.”“Better call Dr Warburton.” ***Bright lights. A sharp, antiseptic smell. Pain. Nausea. Feel so weak. The cat, who’ll feed the cat? “Marlowe.” “She’s babbling.” “She’s lost a lot of blood.” Blackness. “Have we lost her?” I don’t want to die! 

It’s certainly viscaral, but, again, the emphasis is on the inciting event, not on what the book is about.  A humanizing touch, though, when she worries about her cat.  

No comments: