My partner, David, and I and our dear friend, Fred, sat on our patio last evening sipping martinis and shooting the proverbial shit about one thing or another. The conversation eventually moved to the revelation that my current WIP--a follow-up novel to "Big Diehl - The Road Home"--is set in Fred's family's neck of the woods...the high plains of northwestern Colorado. Fred had enjoyed "Big Diehl..." and asked when I would finish the follow-up. I told him it would be several months. I then realized that I hadn't given him a copy of "Finding Deaglan," my latest novel. I stepped into the house, grabbed a copy of the book, and took it out to him. The discussion then drifted to David's thoughts about "Finding Deaglan," which he is now about half-way through. As David voiced his impressions/conclusions about what he had read, Fred studied the blurb on the back of the book.
"The blurb is really not that representative of the content," I told him, as he turned the book over and looked at the cover art.
"Now that you mention it," David said--a phrase that usually signals a Oh my, here it comes moment--my ears as well as my sensibilities (Oh, those fragile egos writers carry as crosses!) perked a bit. "That blurb stinks. It really does. I don't really see how anyone could read that blurb and actually want to read the book."
"Yeah," Fred said, again turning the book over, "I can't even pronounce some of these words."
Okay. Suppose it would be helpful to provide the blurb. Here it is: "A coterie of inheritors of Denver's old money, including twenty-four year old Stephen Thaxton, find themselves inextricably entwined in an imperative to close a hoary circle left open in the other world, the other side where retribution is sought for wrongs committed by their progenitors a century before; wrongs that eradicated wolves from Colorado, and saw the indigenous Indian tribes of Colorado robbed of their lands, all to enhance the wealth and privilege of those who now find themselves the last of their family lines."
"...coterie...inextricably entwined...hoary...progenitors..." Ahem.
I did not admit to David and Fred that, yes, it was I, the author, who wrote that blurb. What the hell was I thinking when I wrote the damned thing?
This, of course, can be filed in that Lessons Learned compartment at the back of one's mind where the oops are stored, hopefully retrievable for later reference.
Yes, a blurb should be short and sweet, and designed to capture the interest of the potential reader. This particular genre--M/M Romance/Paranormal--is so, so competitive, that a lousy blurb can relegate the book to obscurity in a quick minute.
So, what should I have provided blurbwise? Oh, I'm pretty good at cranking out four-hundred pages of narrative. But when it comes to short blips, like blurbs, I am, alas, a boob. (Not a breast, rather a... Oh, hell, you get the point.)
New blurb #1: Stephen Thaxton and his lover, Tom Daly, believe there is something amiss in Stephen's pristine 1880 Queen Anne ancestral home. They engage a psychic to "read" the house, and from that "read" the last of the lines of some of Denver's oldest, most wealthy families are drawn in to an ancient, simmering stew of rage from the other world--the world of the dead--where wrongs done a century before to Colorado Native Americans, wolves and the land itself beg requital.
New blurb #2: Stephen Thaxton is a fabulously wealthy, hunky twenty-four year old stud, with a boyfriend, Tom, whose emerald eyes are just glorious. Five old gay farts--also fabulously wealthy--Trummel, Finster, Mobley, Martin and Merriweather, all get together, along with a little baby, Deaglan (oh, those big blue eyes), and deal with some pretty scary stuff with wolves and spirit winds and all kinds of other world shit in an old house in Denver. There's an old Indian, too, whose got some of his own magic up his sleeve, as well as a psychic who really almost pees his pants when he steps into the old 1880 Queen Anne house Stephen inherited.
Hmmm... Well, I was going to provide about four or five alternate blurbs. But, I gotta tell you, this ain't easy for me. I just can't write short. And, of course, there's the rub. I think next time there's a need to write a blurb, I'll swallow my pride, admit to my editor I just can't do this, and see what she/he might come up with. Or, in the alternative, I'll just effing learn how to write meaningful, short and sweet blurbs that will catch the potential reader's interest.
(I kind of like the second new blurb myself...)