Thoughts on Publishing – A Blurb for Magic’s Stealing

As I get closer to publishing Magic’s Stealing, I’ve been compiling the various elements meant to catch a reader’s attention. While a lot of emphasis is placed on the book cover (and I’ve realized the current version I’m considering may be better suited to the third book, so I’m debating what I might use instead for the first), after the cover, a reader inevitably sees the blurb. The blurb should show what the book is about and entice a reader to either buy the book, or at least take a look inside.

However, as a writer, we’re so close to our stories that it’s hard to see what will draw the reader’s attention. I’ve posted my current idea for a blurb on Absolute Write (which is a very useful source of information for authors), and I’ve come up with two slightly different versions. The question is… which works better? Short and snappy? Or more details about the world?

In order to get a little more insight on the subject, I read through a few articles that discussed what makes a good blurb (see the links below if you’re interested), and came up with a list of elements to consider:

  • A sense of the main character(s). Who and what kind of character are they? (For Magic’s Stealing: Toranih is a young noblewoman who would rather have a sword in her hand than use magic to heal or throw fireballs.)
  • Just enough detail to show the type of story and what makes this book different. (For Magic’s Stealing: there’s a kingdom, magical ribbons, mages, shadows who are impervious to mortal weapons… and this is where I start to wonder if I need to hone in on the description)
  • What the main conflict/plot will be. (For Magic’s Stealing: Almost all magic is stolen from the kingdom, leaving two young mages–one of whom doesn’t like magic–to protect their home.)
  • A question that entices the reader, or leaves them wanting more. (For Magic’s Stealing: Will Toranih successfully adopt the responsibilities of a mage so she can fight the shadows? Or will she fail and cause her home to perish?)
  • Offer a taste of the writing style. (Maybe I can include a tiny clip at the beginning of the description. You know, those story bites usually seen in italics?)

These are the current versions of the blurbs that I’m considering for Magic’s Stealing.

Short Version:

Toranih would rather have a sword in her hand than use her powers to heal or throw fireballs, and as a result, her magic skills are lacking. But when the kingdom’s magic is stolen, she’s one of the few whose powers remain. With former mages dying from magic withdrawal, and the looming threat of an army of shadows who are impervious to mortal weapons, she must either adopt her neglected responsibilities as a mage or watch her home perish.

Long Version:

For centuries, ribbons of magic have provided the kingdom of Cirena with light, healing, and protection. Then, in a span of minutes, those ribbons fly from their masters, stolen, save for the ribbons of two young mages. One of these mages is Toranih, a noblewoman who never liked magic to begin with. The other mage is her best friend, Daernan, a gifted shapechanger who uses his magical sight to track the vanishing ribbons. Toranih would rather have a sword in her hand than use her powers to heal or throw fireballs, and as a result, her skills are lacking. But with former mages dying from magic withdrawal, and the looming threat of an army of shadows who are impervious to mortal weapons, she must either adopt the responsibilities of a mage or watch their home perish.

So my question to you is this: Which blurb, if either, holds your attention, and do they entice you to ‘look inside?’ Why? Or if you neither holds your attention, why not?

I’m concerned that the shorter one may read too fast, but that the longer one may loose readers with unnecessary information. One solution I’m considering is that Smashwords offers both a short and long description for retailers, and as such, I could use both descriptions in their respective sections. Anyone who wanted more information could click to read the longer description. In the meantime, if whichever description I choose for Amazon doesn’t seem to be working, I can try switching it out for the other and see which one works better.

I hope you enjoyed the post. Are there any blurbs that worked well for you? Anything you’ve found that didn’t?

A few articles I found particularly helpful while researching the subject:

http://romanceuniversity.org/2011/11/23/5-top-tips-for-writing-a-compelling-book-blurb-by-amy-wilkins/

http://kristenpham.com/2014/01/14/how-to-write-a-great-ya-fantasy-or-sci-fi-book-blurb/

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/11/16/how-to-write-back-blurb-for-your-book/

http://www.lightmessages.com/lm/index.php/blog/writing/229-how-to-write-a-book-cover-blurb

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6 Comments

Filed under Business Ventures, Personal Work, Writing

6 responses to “Thoughts on Publishing – A Blurb for Magic’s Stealing

  1. Great post. I can see clearly how it came together. Thanks.

  2. I like your longer blurb – it feels more polished and the uniqueness of your story shines through.

  3. Nice resources on blurb writing. Thanks! 🙂

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