I recently spent five excruciating hours at my keyboard and have less than 100 words to show for it.
Granted, they are some of the most important words for my next novel—second only to the title, I’d argue—but the fact that so much time yielded so little leads to believe that blurbs are the blight of the publishing world.
OK, I may have griped about the challenges of various writing exercises over the years:
Today, however, I’m prepared to go on record as saying all else pales in comparison to penning the dreaded book blurb.
Not to be confused with a full-fledged synopsis (the bare-bones summery generally reserved for agent and publisher queries), a blurb is a relatively small chunk of text tasked with huge responsibility: selling the idea of the book to readers.
Blurbs are often found on the back cover as well as the product description page of an online retailer. Working in conjunction with an engaging cover art and a snappy title, the successful blurb hooks the shopper, converting a prospect into a customer.
Long blurbs run the risk of revealing too much. (Technically, revealing the protagonist, antagonist, and main problem should suffice.) Conversely, if the blurb is too concise or vague, an amazing plot could come off as uninspired.
It’s a balancing act even tightrope walkers fear.
For my last book, If Souls Can Sleep, I limited the blurb to five sentences: two for an enticing headline, one to tease the protagonist and plot, and two to introduce the world of dream drifters. Because that blurb received praise from reviewers, I took a similar approach to Book Two of The Soul Sleep Cycle.
Without further preamble, here is the still-in-progress blurb for If Sin Dwells Deep:
She swore to defend the dreamscape.
But who will save her from herself?
When her mentor goes missing, straight-laced Allison must rely on her alter-ego, the rebellious goddess Syn, to rescue him. Trusting anyone at Project Valhalla could cost her her life, but fighting alone might damn her very soul.
If Sin Dwells Deep — a parallel novel to If Souls Can Sleep — exposes the secret world of dream drifters and the classified government operation charged with protecting the collective unconscious from those who would use their abilities to corrupt life, death, and what lies beyond.
Given how important these 100 words are, I welcome/encourage/demand feedback. Would that blurb motivate you to flip open the cover or, better yet, add to cart? If not, why?
Thanks in advance for your comments!