Monday, May 29, 2017

Bad Blurbs in the Real World, Part 4

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.  


100 years after America split apart, is one lone outcast the world's last chance at peace?

This would be much stronger as a declarative statement.  Not only to show action, but the answer is an obvious yes.


In a noir mystery reminiscent of Mary Higgins Clark, former crime reporter, Renée pieces together clues to the identity of a serial killer from her bed in the maternity ward of Cherry Vale Hospital. Set in California, the twist at the end delivers a Roald Dahl-like sting. 

Book comparisons depend on the reader knowing the book being compared, but they work sometimes.  On the other hand, comparing books that don’t even fit don’t.  Mary Higgins Clark’s works aren’t noir, they are suspense, and Ronald Dahl wrote children’s books.  So, no.  Just no.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Glee! in this darkly comic story. Perfect for fans of Point Horror and R. L. Stine, as well as readers who like their horror and romance with a light-hearted touch.

Huh?  More vague comparisons without telling the reader what the book is about.  


Never push a woman to her limit when all she knows is pain. A powerful story of a young woman named Eva left on the doorstep of a neighbor as a child by her very own mother. She is abused, neglected, rejected and without a legal footing in the only place she knows as ''home.'' All the odds appear to be stacked against her and those looking from the outside in seriously wonder how one human being could be expected to battle such atrocities without making a fateful decision to end it all far quicker than it ever began.

This novel has a thriller cover and a thriller plot description, yet it is sold as a cozy mystery which is as opposite as two types of mysteries can be.  

Plus, no clue is given to the nature of those “atrocities.”

The writing is awkward and wordy as well.  


Historian Wrenn Grayson arrives at the Rosemont mansion expecting to receive payment for her services from the mansion’s new owner, Clay Addison. That expectation dies when she and Clay find Trey Rosemont murdered on the foyer floor. Across town, police officers race to Eastwood University. Priceless Egyptian artifacts were stolen from the history department safe. Wrenn’s longtime love, Eastwood professor Gideon Douglas, heads the department. Only recovery of the artifacts will save his career. Life in Havens, Ohio, doesn’t stop for this crime spree. Wrenn works for Mayor Tallmadge. He wishes Wrenn would stop searching down clues ahead of the police and pacify temperamental playwright Barton Reed. Barton’s play is just days away from opening in historic Baxter Theater. Amid murder, theft, or curtain calls, Wrenn’s instincts prove sharp. Her stubbornness places her in the killer’s path.

What a mess of a plot summary that leaves us wondering what the plot is truly about since there are enough plots for a series of novels and if the author even understands that plot isn’t a bunch of random stuff happening.  


Twenty-year-old Ward de'Ath expected this to be a simple job-bring a nobleman's daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can't be a surgeon-the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying-so bringing people back from the dead it is.

The last sentence should be about the problem that sets up the novel, not backstory about what the character isn’t.  Nothing here says anything that would show that this is supernatural suspense.  


How do you defeat an enemy you cannot see? The Krim Sprinter is on a routine flight from Earth to the Proxima Outpost. When an unknown, and unseen, enemy space ship attacks them, their routine mission turns deadly series. Captain Mitch Cooper must trade in favors and use all the influence he can exert to stay ahead of the unseen enemy.

This is an example, boys and girls, of why we don’t depend only on a spellchecker for our books.  Also, the first sentences are about space battles, but the last are about politics.  A serious disconnect.  

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