An author on The Wild Rose Press loop posed a question today about blurbs, which got me to thinking. How many new authors actually know what a blurb is? Do they instinctively write one and not know what it’s called? Or do they miss the opportunity to snag a reader’s interest because they don’t know the power of THE BLURB.
When I first started writing, I had no idea what a tag line was. Then again, not counting child hood fantasies and such, I started getting serious about my writing way back in 1997. And thirteen years later, I’m finally published.
Goes to show you how stubborn and tenacious we writer types are. I like to think of my favorite quote from Peter Quincy Taggert of Galaxy quest: “Never give up. Never Surrender.”
Which leads me back to tag lines. They are powerful, one liners that give a brief description of a book’s plot. Following the tag line, is the books’ blurb, which gives a bit more detail on the book, mainly information on the hero and heroine and how they relate to one another.
I get examples from movies. Like Galaxy Quest:The alumni cast of a cult space TV show have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know this is just a one line description of the plot. But it’s enough to snag your interest so you’ll read the rest of the promo “blurb” and possibly go see the movie.
Another example- Speed:A young cop must save the passengers of a bus that has a bomb set to explode if the bus goes below 50 MPH.
A good book blurb does the same thing. It uses a one line description of the plot as a “tag line”- Her research could cure his dark hunger if a covert government agent doesn’t get to her first. And then the blurb-which gives more detail-follows:
Vincent Maxwell is a vampire with a conscience, seeking a cure to his dark hunger. But when a scientist looking to create vampire soldiers captures and kills a fellow vampire, Vincent seeks out Dr. Megan Harper. While researching Xeroderma pigmentosum, a light sensitivity disorder, Megan discovered a link between XP and vampires and she could hold the key to a cure to Vincent’s unholy condition and the answers to Gerard’s death. But getting close to the beautiful doctor could endanger both their lives.
When researcher, Dr. Megan Harper meets Vincent Maxwell, she believes he suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum, the genetic disease that killed her sister. Sensing a deep loneliness within the handsome man, Megan offers friendship and access to her research files hoping he will offer her a position in his research company. But they soon become more than friends and Megan learns the horrifying truth. She’s entered the dark and unseen world of vampires an Vincent is her only hope of survival.
I learned how to write a blurb by taking an online class from Suzanne McMinn, who writes of HQN.I took her examples one step further by going online and reading the plot tag lines for movies I’d seen. It was easy to get the hang of it after that. And kind of fun!
Here’s an exercise. Think of a movie. Let’s say, The Ugly Truth. I love this movie!
Now, go to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0177789/ and search for the movie. Then scroll down to plot. And wa-la! There’s the tag line. A romantically challenged morning show producer is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by her chauvinistic correspondent to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love. His clever ploys, however, lead to an unexpected result.
This one is a two-liner, but it’s still effective. Then after these two lines, you can read the rest of the movie blurb.
Look up several movies and see what the plot tag lines are. Then practice writing your own blurbs if you haven’t written one already.
My blurb for Into the Light, my proposed sequel to OUT OF THE DARKNESS is two lines. I’m still working on it, but here it is: An experimental vaccine gives a lonely vampire hope for the first time in two centuries, but when someone he loves is murdered, he suspects a conspiracy between vampires and mortals. Now, he can’t trust anyone. Not even a beautiful woman determined to solve the mystery and bring his dark soul INTO THE LIGHT.
So, how exciting are your blurbs? Feel free to share!
Lynn Romaine said:
Hi Lilly – great blog – and a good topic if I do say so myself (I asked about tags). Since then, someone sent me a few all time great tag lines I thought I'd offer them here:Examples of famous movie/television taglines are:* Be afraid. Be very afraid. – The Fly* In space no one can hear you scream. – Alien* Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… – Jaws* A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… – Star Wars* Love means never having to say you're sorry – Love Story* Where no man has gone before – Star Trek* The truth is out there. – The X-Files
Lilly Gayle said:
Thanks for for giving me the idea to blog about tag lines, Lynn. It IS a good topic. And I love these tag lines. They're classics!
Beth Caudill said:
I can do Blurbs. Tag lines I don't do very well. So here is the tag line for my werewolf novella: In a world of paranormals, what's one Healer's Fate?And this is the blurb:Corliss Rumdone hides behind her status as Healer to avoid the normal wolf pack hierarchal challenges. A forced mating changes the course of her life. Instead of Raymond, the beta wolf selected for her, she mates with Liam—her best friend and heir to the Alpha pair.Liam whisks them away to a shifter retreat so they can allow the mating bond to settle in private. But interference from those seeking power and two terminal children arouse past hurts and challenge their new relationship. Even their home is not the haven it should be as Liam must watch Corliss fight for the right to stay his mate. For one healer, death becomes a weapon to balance life.I like the blurb much better. I just can't condense into something so small. But I love you're tag line. Really good.
Lilly Gayle said:
Beth,The blurb is fascinating. And the tag line isn't bad at all. But I think it would be stronger if you could somehow rewrite it as a statement instead of a question. It would probably be stronger that way. Is this novella contracted yet? I really enjoyed Informally Yours.
Beth Caudill said:
Thanks Lilly. This was released last October with Whispers Publishing. So it's already available.
Karen Michelle Nutt said:
Great topic and a good idea to grab the reader. I'll have to give it a try. 🙂