Wednesday, 9 July 2014



The FIFA World Cup is going on apace at the moment. It is the 'highest level of football', isn't it? Last night's debacle suggests not. But we all believe the blurb, don't we, 'highest level...'

I've got a confession to make I'm absolutely terrible at blurb. Here I am spending months writing a great book and I can't tell you what its about in a few pithy words.

And here's why

I'm not the kind of omniscient being who can look down on a work in progress, can see the whole plot down on the table and move the characters around it like some controlling Svengali from a Bond movie.

No, I write the novel right down there in the plot. I crawl my way through the twists and turns of dark tunnels as I find the plot. When I see a little light at the end of the tunnel, I stop and write down a few numbered bullets to guide my way out. But I have no overall picture.

Result - at the end of the journey, how do I say what this story its about in a few words? Plot, sub-plots, characters, sexy bits are all screaming for your attention. Not good.

I saw one poor chap who believed in his novel and put it up on Amazon with a blurb that competed with the text in terms of detail. Why read the story when it's all there in summary?

I've never been that bad (have I?). I've always tried to at least cut down the words. But I was struck by the James Paterson back of the book blurbs that run to around 78 words. He'd sell any way no matter what was written, wouldn't he? But still there's a lesson there.

I put up what I considered a short blurb for one of my recent novels Duisburg (improving all the time). The creator of the cover commented that the cover looked great but the blurb was too long, but more importantly had too many names (of characters).

He advised me to concentrate on two characters and stick to the main plot. I had a think about this and put it into practice and it is amazing how much it helps. As a result, a much better blurb for Duisburg is going up today on Amazon. 

Moreover, I applied the rationale to my latest release Amanda as well. Now, Amanda features three strong women characters. Okay, I'm not dogmatic, so three it is. But I got rid of the names of lovers, husbands and a mysterious slave girl who's the cause of a lot of the trouble.

Sticking with these three woman opened up the whole thing for me. I was able to see I was putting in too much detail. Why a thing happened, rather than it just did. This helps the immersed writer to concentrate on the main plot line. Therefore, the new blurb asks questions rather that providing answers.

Hopefully, readers will buy the book to find the answers.

I'll post the link to both books once they have gone through the final Amazon vet, text, covers, blurbs.

Hope you've found this useful.

Good reading and writing

Best wishes


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