Writer’s Craft #9: The Blurb
It’s a weekday night and there’s a message in my e-mail from the publicist at Edge, the marvelous and energetic Janice Shoults, asking me for a “back of the book blurb” for my up-coming novel Healer’s Sword. She wants it yesterday (literally, I should check my e-mail more often), so I dash one off:
“Love and economics will complicate Ilse’s life as she dares to study medicine, riding the tides of change within the neo-feudal empire of the bio-engineered humans called Sevolites.”
Of course, I spend the next few hours re-writing it in my head, but it just doesn’t get any better. I think about making it shorter, first. Short is always good, right? Grab ‘em with the hot stuff.
“Ilse Marin’s undeniable lust for the wrong man threatens her claim to her father’s title.”
Except this makes it sound like a bodice ripper, and Ilse will hate me for it. I lean in the direction of a few more words with greater substance because I like people to know why my book is different.
“In a space-faring culture where swords settle legal arguments and medicine is distrusted, Ilse Marin must find her unique path through the prejudices of her own kind, the disruptive forces of change she is both repelled by and drawn to, and a passionate attraction to the one man whose love is bound to ruin her.”
Probably too long. Sigh. And who knows what will wind up on the back cover. In discussion with fellow writers, on the SFCanada listserv I frequent, I learned that at least two of the authors I consider both excellent and successful prefer to write their own blurbs. And sometimes they even get away with it.
So what about you? Give me the blurb that did, should have, or might one day appear on the back of your book, if you got to write it.