Good morning! It’s the first Wednesday in August, which means those of us who are part of the Insecure Writers Support Group write about, well, insecurity and writing. We’d love for you to join us! http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html
I’d like to offer special thanks to this month’s hosts, Nancy Gideon, Bob R Milne, Doreen McGettigan, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Pat Garcia!
So, being an insecure writer, I’m uncomfortable with my ability to produce sparkling marketing copy for my books. This time around, I thought I would be smart and hire the good folks at Amazon to do it. This morning I received the draft, and I’m a bit…underwhelmed. I have a few ideas on how to tighten it up, but I’d love to know what you think! If you read this cover copy, would it inspire you to read the book?
Here it is:
Liz Nabor isn’t always likable, but as a strong, intelligent, and ambitious woman, being liked isn’t her top priority. Maintaining her glamorous Manhattan life as a successful money manager and keeping hold of her gorgeous boyfriend, however, are high on her list of things to do.
But when the infamous Bernie Madoff confesses to a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme amid the financial crisis of 2008 and Liz realizes she’s sent clients to one of his feeder funds, her career is suddenly in danger of crashing along with the economy.
Just as she begins to lay out a plan to revitalize her professional life, Liz hears her once-beloved, now-estranged aunt is dying—and leaving Liz her house in Washington. Hoping she isn’t making a costly mistake, Liz decides to take time off from work to visit her—discovering that sometimes answers turn up where you least expect them.
I have mixed feelings about what Amazon wrote as I immediately thought that Liz was going to make a “play” for Bernie. The other issue is that being “rescued, so to speak” by a dying family member, bringing a new life along with the move has been used with many other books. I think one of Anjali’s books was marketed with that ploy.
But, there IS that part of me that is STILL curious and wants to know what will happen to Liz in her new life.
Interesting, especially since the aunt doesn’t rescue Liz at all. I DEFINITELY don’t want people to think she’s making a play for Bernie.
I don’t think this is a bad blurb, but perhaps it could be a bit more sparkley. I think it also depends on the genre and the audience you want to reach. Certain wording and phrases appeal to specific audiences, while this sounds very general. A bit of tweaking to your liking and you should be good to go.
Yep, sparkley. I need more sparkle.
IMO, there’s something a little incongruous about a strong, ambitious, intelligent woman who has a top (one of two, granted) priority of keeping her ‘gorgeous’ boyfriend. To me, the mention of the attractiveness of the boyfriend makes her seem a little shallow (but maybe he’s like a trophy boyfriend, I’m not familiar with the story) and would a strong, ambitious, intelligent woman be afraid of losing a companion like that?
‘Speaking’ as a reader, that’s what jumped out at me about the back cover blurb as written by Amazon.
I absolutely agree. While the boyfriend is a factor (and Liz is, indeed, shallow at the beginning), I don’t like the phrasing. I’ve been working with the text all morning, and it’s getting clearer. I guess the lesson is, I just need to write my own copy because I know the story best.
It’s not a bad blurb, but…what genre are you going for? It doesn’t sound “blurby.”
This is women’s contemporary fiction with a touch of thriller. Yeah, I’m not happy I paid money for this. I agree, it’s not blurby.
That blurb would peek my interest. My only questions is – is the book about her career and boyfriend, or her reinventing her life in Washington?
The answer is: all of the above. She’s going to be torn between the two coasts, and dilemmas on both are going to cause her lots and lots of problems.
I read the Amazon blurb and like you I was underwhelmed. The marketing blurb needs to be rewritten to reflect the changes that are taking place in Liz Nabor’s life. From you have now is not a teaser. It doesn’t excite.
Suggestion: Before giving it back to Amazon, try to write up a rough draft of how you would change what they have already written to make it draw the reader. Right now it reads like a textbook.
Hope this helps you.
Yep, “textbook” is exactly right!
When Amazon gives it to me, they tell me where to put the changes I want to make. I am rewriting the blurb and am much closer than this draft.
I had no idea you could ask Amazon to write your blurb! I personally, am not feelin’ this. Besides being unnecessarily wordy, it reads to me like someone who is not passionate about your book wrote it (and that is likely the case). When someone said it doesn’t have sparkle, I agree. This was a good experiment–see what Amazon can do. I imagine you can do better 🙂 As for specifics, I’m not a fan of the first line explaining that your main character isn’t very likeable (by who?), followed by how successful she is. Cue the feminist in me–screw… Read more »
Amen, Stephanie. I thought it would help, but yuck! I figured by sharing it I would not only get some good feedback, but also present a cautionary tale to others who might think about going this route. By the way, the inheritance doesn’t help her a darn bit — in fact, it creates more trouble! I’m taking that bit out altogether.
My editor and I seriously worked through 6 drafts of my latest blurb, and I still don’t love it. Blurbs are so hard! I didn’t know Amazon would write it for you–is that pricey? I agree that it’s a little on the boring side, but it’s a good start from which you can edit. I’m not a big fan of starting it with the fact the character isn’t likable. Why isn’t she likable? Maybe some spicy adjectives about her personality would be a better start.
You are so right! I am telling people I’m having more trouble with the 150-word blurb than with the 80,000 word MS. Not exactly true, but you obviously know what I mean. CreateSpace charges $249 for a package that includes back cover copy, the description to go on the Amazon book page, a list of keywords, and a logline. I agree that it was helpful to have something to build from, but I just expected more — you give them a detailed checklist and a copy of the MS. As for the likability, I agree with you that the blurb… Read more »
Without reading the book, it’s hard to say. Did they get it right? I would like to read your blurb though, for a comparison.
I’m probably going to do an “after” blog post. It’s not so much that they got it wrong, but it just feels flat to me. I’ve been reworking it, and it’s getting better.
I think the beginning is good, but the last paragraph needs a little work. You have a lot of suggestions above that should really help.
And if I didn’t make it by last month, I want to welcome you to the IWSG!
Thanks, Alex! I’ve been reworking this during the day, and it’s getting better. Thanks for the welcome and for all you do!
It doesn’t knock my socks off. I’m sure you can do better. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
It’s a unanimous snoozer! Thanks for your comments.
It needs a little punch. Let some other authors help you polish it. That back cover blurb means everything.
I’ve been working on revising it — I didn’t write this copy. I’m sharing it as is because I want people to know what I paid for, which was basically a disappointing waste of money.
I don’t think what they wrote is horrible but I would change ‘money manager’ to financial manager and while the last paragraph could use some spark it did make me wonder what happens next.
Good luck with it!
Money manager is actually the right term for what she does. I did a lot of research to get those elements right and had someone fact-check the MS.
You’ve already gotten some great advice here. I think it could be more punchy, perhaps by trimming some of the wordage. I also think if it’s a thriller, that that should come through more. This made me think women’s fiction, not thriller. But, I was intrigued by your story!
It is primarily women’s fiction…it just has some thriller elements to it. Ultimately, it’s a relationship story. Thanks for your comments!
It feels very paint-by-numbers. Not my kind of novel, but if it was, it might be enough to hook me.
Thanks for the feedback. I’ve done a rewrite…I’m pretty happy with it, but I’m going to let it sit for a while.
I sense mystery in the old house. I want to read more about Liz and what lies ahead.
Play off the Page
Thanks, Mary. The story is with the editor now, and we’ll see if I’ve done what I’ve set out to. Stay tuned!