This is my blurb for Ravaged. This is the example of what NOT to do. This story had everything going for it. It was a prequel to my bestselling story. It had the same characters. It was on the longer end of my novellas and when I published it, it sunk to the ocean floor like it had a 3 ton weight strapped to it's balls.
After being held captive for twelve years, a young man must choose between a domineering lord willing do anything for him, and a gentle slave who has nothing to offer but his unyielding devotion. Ravaged is a 12,000 word erotic novella about friendship, love and desire.
There are several issues with this blurb. Most of it having to do with me paying absolutely no attention to what the people who'd read this kind of book want to be promised is contained within. People reading the Love Unleashed series want brutal, aggressive and sexy. I promised them "love and friendship". *pukes* I'm sorry, I must have gotten this book confused with my fluffy bunny romances. My bad.
So, how did I discover I was a moron? When I published Marked and it performed the way I was expecting Ravaged to perform with none of the benefits Ravaged had, like being a prequel to Pillaged.
This is the blurb for Marked:
Taiver lived a simple but happy life as he studied under his mother to become a healer. But when nobles came to his village for tribute, he offered himself up to protect his family. Now a branded and degraded slave, Taiver must win the affections of his cold and aloof owner before he is discarded.
These things scream "buy me, buy me" to the type of person into that stuff. In the other one, the type of person into "friendship and love," which is vague as hell, isn't looking for a sexy slave story. And to write that the lord "would do anything for him", was I drinking? I made my hero sound like freakin Bella.
- Take off your writer's cap. You are now a marketer. The book is your product and you must treat it as such.
- It's not about the plot. Writers tend to write vague blurbs because they are afraid of giving away too much. Blurbs aren't a summary, they are a sales pitch. Don't worry about giving away the plot, worry about saying the things that the prospective reader is looking to hear.
- Don't be vague. In an effort to "save the good stuff" people will write very vague blurbs, but remember, no one has decided to buy it yet. Saving the good stuff might mean no one picks up the book to see what the "good stuff" is. Vague blurbs may as well read as "Once there was a character, who went somewhere, and did something and it was cool." Oh yeah, I see people falling over each other to get to that one.
- Imagine this reader and figure out what they want. Like I said before, while love and friendship is a major theme in my story, that's not what someone looking at my darker more brutal works are coming for. They want the pain, the fear, the drama. So a more appropriate blurb highlights those aspects. You need to figure out what your reader wants from your story and promise them it's in there.
When writing your blurb pretend instead of trying to explain to a reader what it's about, you're trying to get a friend to read it. If I was trying to get my best friend to read the Scarlet Letter I wouldn't be like, "In 1642 a young woman endures a harrowing trial through which she tries to maintain her dignity." But that's how a lot of blurbs read. I'd be like, "She got pregnant in a Puritan town while her husband had been missing for years and she wouldn't tell anyone who the father was, so they decided to punish and humiliate her for it." Which description would have you more likely to pick up the book?