Published Authors

A place for budding and experienced authors to share ideas about publishing and marketing books
 
HomeHome  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log in  Featured MembersFeatured Members  ArticlesArticles  
Share | 
 

 The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2  Next
AuthorMessage
Brenda Hill
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1291
Registration date: 2008-02-16
Location: Southern CA

PostSubject: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:38 am

I’m back to querying agents and/or publishers since my agent and I had a big difference in opinion on where my writing should go. And I’m discovering more and more that most agents are happier with the tagline and a short blurb.

When I added writer’s tips to my website in 2005, I mentioned a short blurb of one-hundred words or less, but somehow, over the years, I strayed from that premise. To take a look:

http://www.brendahillseaman.com/writingtips.htm

It’s the mini-synopsis paragraph.

Now I’m finding that authors who are getting attention are using the short blurb. Some agents are stressing again they only have time to look at a ONE page query, including why you’re querying them, info about your book, (the tagline & blurb) and your credentials—or info about you. That doesn’t leave much room for several paragraphs. Our own Reagan reminds us about the query in his advice. So I’ve scrapped my three-paragraph blurb and have been working on the short blurb.

Wouldn’t hurt for those of you who wish to attract an agent to do the same.

I know it’s a pain, but it can be done.

It might help if you'd work on a blurb for your story and post it, then we can all offer suggestions.
Back to top Go down
http://www.brendahill.com
Jenny
Four Star Member
Four Star Member


Number of posts: 531
Registration date: 2008-01-11
Location: Sheffield, England

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:07 pm

Thanks for the tip Brenda. Having received another rejection today, it' something I'll be working on.
Back to top Go down
http://www.victoriahoward.co.uk
Pam
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1790
Registration date: 2008-02-02
Age: 48
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:58 pm

Aw Jenny, that's too bad. It's easy to say another rejection is a little bit closer to publishing, but the truth is that it stinks. Keep working at it!

Brenda your tips are excellent, and I have a feeling you are right when it comes to length. Darned editors, if they would just be consistent, then we could be too and it might make this journey a little easier.Still gut wrenching, but perhaps a little easier!
Pam
Back to top Go down
http://www.mvpi.org
Brenda Hill
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1291
Registration date: 2008-02-16
Location: Southern CA

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:48 pm

Oh, Jenny, I'm so sorry. Had they asked to read any of the manuscript or say 'no' after the query? Perhaps we can fix it.

Thanks, Pam! I have a longer version of the writing tips if anyone's interested. Send an email and I'll attach them. Just took too much room on the website to include it all.

And you're right--no one's consistent.
Back to top Go down
http://www.brendahill.com
Brenda Hill
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1291
Registration date: 2008-02-16
Location: Southern CA

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:59 pm

To give examples, here's the original three paragraphs:

Lisa Montgomery never learned how to show love. As a child, she was acceptable only if she were clean, composed, and quiet. For most of her forty-three years she survived by keeping her life and emotions tightly controlled. Then, after her husband succumbs to cancer, she discovers her control was only an illusion. His secret life has left her in debt and nearly penniless, and her daughter, instead of offering comfort and support, is judgmental and emotionally distant.

Bitter, Lisa returns to work and meets Gene O’Neal, a retired fire chief who pursues her with a passion that melts her icy façade. She falls in love and learns how glorious true lovemaking can be. Only her troubled relationship with her daughter dulls her new happiness, so Lisa prepares to make one more effort to talk to her, to offer the love she’d always felt but never knew how to express.

When her life changes again, she realizes pain and loss has made her stronger. As a woman who has learned to cherish each moment, she leaves her old life behind to follow her dream, welcoming each tomorrow as a new opportunity for adventure.

Ok. When you consider the intro paragraph in the query, then the tagline, then the three-paragraphs followed by a paragraph or two with credentials and the closing, that's quite a letter for a harried agent/publisher to read. So the one-paragraph makes sense, especially today when everyone seems to be writing.

Here's the one-paragraph blurb. I'm liking it, but always tinkering to improve:

(Tagline)

Beyond the Quiet is approximately 84,000 words, about a woman who, after her husband of twenty-five years dies, finally learns to live.

(Blurb)

Cold, her husband called her. Passionless. After he succumbs to a fatal illness, Lisa wishes she’d been a better wife. Then she discovers his secret life has left her in debt and nearly penniless. In her search for answers, she finds something unexpected and unwanted—a growing attraction to a retired fire chief. When he pursues her with a passion that melts her icy façade, she falls in love for the first time and learns to offer the love she’d always felt but never knew how to express. When her life changes again, she has the opportunity to follow her heart’s desire, but only if she’s strong enough to cherish each moment and leave her old life behind.

Slightly over a hundred words, the blurb comes in at 119. Not bad.

What do you think?


Last edited by Brenda Hill on Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
http://www.brendahill.com
Jenny
Four Star Member
Four Star Member


Number of posts: 531
Registration date: 2008-01-11
Location: Sheffield, England

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:06 pm

Hi Brenda,

This was a personal letter for a change. They'd read the first fifty pages. I quote:
While we liked many elements of this project, I just was not as enthusiastic about the story as I would need to be to pursue taking it on for representation.

Please keep in mind that this isa very subjective business and others might feel differently. Therefore, I encourage you to continue submitting elsewhere."
Back to top Go down
http://www.victoriahoward.co.uk
Brenda Hill
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1291
Registration date: 2008-02-16
Location: Southern CA

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:10 pm

Ok. That's actually good because the opening chapters can be fixed.

Your writing is on the professional level. We just need to get the opening chapter dynamic.
Back to top Go down
http://www.brendahill.com
Brenda Hill
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1291
Registration date: 2008-02-16
Location: Southern CA

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:08 pm

I reread the three-paragraphs I posted and now I see they're dull, dull, DULL! Nothing to stand out to the agent in a stack of queries. I'm glad I went with the one-paragraph, but I see it needs work as well. For some reason, seeing it posted here offers a different perspective.

We all must remember if we want success:

A query's objective is to entice the agent into reading more. To have them drooling would be perfect, but not sure how to do that, altho I'm working on it!
Back to top Go down
http://www.brendahill.com
Jenny
Four Star Member
Four Star Member


Number of posts: 531
Registration date: 2008-01-11
Location: Sheffield, England

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:48 pm

Sometimes I feel like a two year old trying to string half a dozen words together!

Your comment was very reassuring, Brenda.

Thank You.
Back to top Go down
http://www.victoriahoward.co.uk
Phil Whitley
Four Star Member
Four Star Member


Number of posts: 907
Registration date: 2008-04-01
Age: 71
Location: Riverdale, GA

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:47 pm

Brenda, I have studied your "Tips" section and have it bookmarked. I put yours right up there with Stephen King's On Writing, which I only discovered this past year. Since I don't write in any of my books, I made three pages of notes (subject and page number) from his book.

His main complaint seems to be adverbs. He hates `em!



Laughing
Back to top Go down
http://www.philwhitley.com
Brenda Hill
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1291
Registration date: 2008-02-16
Location: Southern CA

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:58 pm

Well thanks, Brew. You make me blush, but a happy blush.

BTW, I love your new photo. Reminds me of an ol' time mountain man.
Back to top Go down
http://www.brendahill.com
Ann C. Crispin
Two Star Member
Two Star Member


Number of posts: 40
Registration date: 2009-01-22

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:55 pm

Brenda, the second example is MUCH better. It's more dramatic, it's more of a "verbal snapshot" of the book, giving the FEELING of the book, rather than trying to encapsule the whole story.

I've written a couple of blog entries on query writing over on Writer Beware's blog. I teach a course on getting a real agent for Anne Arundel Community College here in Maryland, and the query letter is beyond essential.

Hope the new version brings you requests to read!

-Ann C. Crispin
Back to top Go down
Brenda Hill
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1291
Registration date: 2008-02-16
Location: Southern CA

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:35 pm

I don't know how I missed this, Ann, but thanks. My query and blurb went through more revisions last year before an indie publisher asked for the manuscript and offered a contract.

So yes, the query letter is, like you say, beyond essential.
Back to top Go down
http://www.brendahill.com
madhatter
Four Star Member
Four Star Member


Number of posts: 502
Registration date: 2008-02-13
Location: Tallahassee, FL

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:13 am

I find the whole act of condensing down a huge pain...but I am still trying to get it down pat.

Taking a 85K word novel down to one line reminds me of eating too many pieces of pie and trying to get into a pair of pantyhose.

So there...LOL
Back to top Go down
http://www.rhettdevane.com
Malcolm
Five Star Member
Five Star Member


Number of posts: 1498
Registration date: 2008-01-11
Location: Georgia

PostSubject: Re: The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis   Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:29 am

You lost me on the pantyhose analogy, Ms. Hatter.

And I'm thankful for that.

Malcolm
Back to top Go down
http://www.campbelleditorial.com/garden.html
 

The Blurb--or Mini-Synopsis

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 2Go to page : 1, 2  Next

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Published Authors :: Writing and Publishing :: Query Letters-