Monday, January 30, 2017

Bad Blurbs in the Real World, Part 3

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 in italics are 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.  


When war comes after a century of peace, it is sudden and brutal. Taken by surprise, Earth's far-flung colonies are in danger. The only son of an admiral, Second Lieutenant Michael Sheridan finds himself thrust into a desperate conflict that he and the untried soldiers under his command are ready for. Focusing on the people struggling to survive the onslaught, First Strike is a novel that propels the reader to the furthest limits of space. Fighting a ruthless and determined enemy, Sheridan soon learns the brutal lessons of war and that his enemy may not be what it appears to be.

A perfect example of why you shouldn’t start every sentence with clauses, etc.  The description of the book is hard to get through with each introductory phrase or clause acting as a speed bump.


Will Anderson and Elizabeth Hume are called to the vast Eloise Insane Asylum outside of Detroit, where Elizabeth's cousin Robbie is a patient and now a murder suspect. The victim, like three others before him at the asylum in recent months, was killed with the infamous Punjab lasso, the murder weapon of the Phantom of the Opera. Certain of Robbie's innocence, they begin an investigation with the help of Detective Riordan. Will has himself committed to the asylum to investigate from the inside, and Elizabeth volunteers at Eloise and questions people outside the asylum. While Will endures horrific conditions in his search for the killer, Elizabeth and Riordan follow the trail of a murder suspect all the way to Kalamazoo, where they realize the killer might still be at Eloise, putting Will in extreme danger. They race back to Detroit, but will they arrive in time to save Will?

This blurb tells the whole dang plot!  We know the answer to the last sentence is “yes” so why bother reading.


After solving the biggest case of her career, PI Barb Jackson’s business is finally taking off. Cases are rolling in, she and her staff are getting paid, and she’s the apple of her hunky detective boyfriend Tyler Black’s eye. Life couldn’t get much better.

There should be a “but” paragraph here to set up the conflict of this novel.  Otherwise, it’s all a big snoozefest of happy.



Well, this is incredibly vague and sounds nothing like women’s fiction.


Team Camelot has recovered from the devastation of their last mission, and it's time to go back to work. This time, they find themselves working right here in the good ol' US of A, taking out the top echelons of an entire drug cartel, and Noah gets the chance to use some of Wally's supergadgets. The mission comes off better than anyone could have hoped, and the team heads for home.

Okay, I know what happens in the book so I have no reason to read it.


Could you survive a week in a haunted house?

No.  I wouldn’t go in it in the first place.  And why should I be interested in this book?


Bianca Tailer had always dreamed of making it big. She’d been putting on concerts for friends and family for as long as she could remember.

Oooh, how not exciting.  Why would I read this?  

What’s the threat and/or the goal?


Vampires? Fae warriors? Who knew they were real. Somebody must have and they should have let the rest of us know. 

Again, what’s the threat?  Who is the main character, and why should we care?  

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