Am I the only writer who finds blurbs tough? Surely not. Writing something succinct yet attention-grabbing, something hooky yet not corny. Something that will make people want to read the book but doesn’t give away the plot.
I guess if you go the publishing house route then blurbs aren’t a thing you usually have to worry about, as someone on the editorial staff will take care of that. Still, long before you get to that stage you’ll have had to write query letters and synopses, and all that stuff. Ugh, query letters…
Anyway, I have a blurb up here for Miltan Epsilon, Jazz Healy Book 1, but I’ve recently been revising it. This’ll be the book description I use across all self-pub platforms. The recommendation for these is about 150 words. I’m at 160-ish. Paragraphs 2 & 3 I’m happy with but paragraph 1 – the paragraph that really has to hook – not so much.
Here’s the opening paragraph currently up:
“Estranged from her mother, the head of a galaxy-spanning criminal organization, Jazz Healy flits between bounty hunting, cargo running, treasure seeking and, well, nearly anything to pay the bills and keep her ship in the spacelanes. Twelve years ago she lost her father when pirates attacked a freighter delivering supplies to a frontier planet. For a long time Jazz refused to believe he had died but she’s finally coming to terms with the idea.”
It was recently pointed out to me that the first sentence is a bit of a chonker. I couldn’t see an easy way to shorten-slash-split it so I got to revising, and here’s where I’m at currently (though this now balloons the entire blurb to nearly 190 words):
“Life can get lonely for a solo operator in the space-lanes. Even for one who flits between bounty-hunting, cargo-running, treasure-seeking and, well, nearly anything to pay the bills and keep their ship running. But Jazz Healy tells herself it’s better this way, that attachments are to be avoided. She’s estranged – purposefully – from her mother, who runs a galaxy-spanning criminal organization. Twelve years ago she lost her father when pirates attacked a freighter delivering supplies to a frontier planet. For a long time she refused to believe he had died but she’s finally coming to terms with the idea.”
I like the new thoughts I’ve introduced re Jazz but overall this just reads bloated, to me.
Gah, what to do, what to do?
For context, here’s the rest of the blurb:
“Right now, she’s delivering pets, of all things, to a lawless space-station. Apparently even the most hardened criminals like animal companionship. One critter especially is making the cargo run worthwhile: a gene-splice kitten. Jazz will earn a cool hundred thousand Commonwealth dollars if she safely delivers the little fluff ball to its new owner.
But cargo that valuable brings out all sorts, from wannabe animal activists to tech cultists with enhancement fetishes. And maybe even Jazz’s mother. Though the cat is only one bullet point on her agenda.”
Only one thing to do: Keep working at it!
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