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Cynnara
March 21st, 2009, 10:54 PM
This takes us to the final blurb– the Query/Highlight blurb. Why do I have this one last? For me, this is one of the hardest to write because it’s shorter than the back cover blurb yet is the one I use most often when I query publishers, agents, etc. For this blurb, I try to keep it to one paragraph or two at the most–keeping the opening and if possible, the ending sentences from my Back Cover Blurb. I go through the rest my other blurb, removing detailed information and replacing it with generalized overviews.

The goal with the query/highlight blurb is to get attention and make them want to hear more about the story. Often times you’ll see this blurb in a magazine, front page of an e-publisher’s website, etc. It’s a short 4-6 sentence paragraph that gives you more than the High Concept but less than the Back Cover.

Normally when crafting the query blurb, I’m trying to create a quick thirty second commercial that not only titillates the senses, but showcases the core theme of the story. A good example is the query blurb for Mark of the Blood, my first Marauder book. Example– Wrongly cursed by their patron goddess, Morrigu, nine Druid brothers fight the forces of evil for eternity. Worlds collide as Kirstie Blake and Marauder Dr. Niam Maraigh hunt a rapist and succumb to the Mark of the Blood.

Notice that it not only gives you an overview of not just the series, but it touches upon how this story helps reinforce the core ideas of righting a wrong and finding true love? The goal of the query blurb is to make the person want to read the full story itself because you’ve gotten them intrigued with the story concept. For my book, Mark of the Blood, it will entice readers to either my website or my publisher’s so they can read the full back cover blurb and an excerpt from the book. Each blurb builds upon the other, increasing curiosity and the desire to buy the book. That’s the ultimate goal.
So, how do you these blurbs work together when it comes to writing, selling, and promoting the book?

Someone asks you about the story you’re currently working on. You might say, “It’s Underworld meets Merry Gentry.” This is actually the high concept I use for Treaty of Desire. There is more to the story than that, but in essence–it gets the point across. Now you’ve got someone saying, “Tell me more. What do you mean? How is it like Underworld? Does your story deal with the fey?” This is where you’d break out the query blurb.


“Taja Drevin, a Were-subqueen must learn the ways of the Seelie Fey in exchange for teaching the greatest mage among them how to access the glamour magick the Fey lost for closing the mortal world from Helia, the world all preternatural creatures live. Neither Taja, nor the mage, the heir Adrastai are prepared for the attraction that springs between them. But all is not well during this teaching–someone wants the treaty between the Weres and the Feys broken and they’re willing to kill Taja to do just that. Can Taja and Adras discover who is behind the assassination attempts or will the Treaty of Desire be broken thus destroying any hopes of their world surviving mankind rediscovering them when the Gateway opens between the two worlds?”

Notice that now you’ve given them just enough to tease their attention and whet their appetite without giving out too much detail? My back cover blurb is slightly longer. I included about Frelin, Adrastai’s brother who is a major pain to Taja as well as the fact that both Adras and Taja are hiding secrets from the other which ups the conflict when they become lovers. The progression of each blurb helps to not only give snippets of info, but like movie trailers of thirty, forty-five, and sixty seconds–they let you see more aspects of the story without giving away the ending.

Even though people know romance novels will have a Happily Ever After, they still like discovering how they get to that point. It’s the journey that people enjoy the most–take that away, and then a reader won’t bother with your story. But if you hint, tease, and make them wonder how it can be done–they’ll pick up your book before they do anyone else’s.

Now that you’ve written the blurbs, you’ve got the basic blueprint to plotting your story. That’s right- you’ve given yourself the beginning framework to your story.

Now it’s time to flesh out some of the details so they’re not forgotten. It’s time to plot your story! We'll start that on Monday. smilies/bump.gif

Assignment: Create a Query/Highlight Blurb and share it.

Eva Lefoy
March 23rd, 2009, 06:30 PM
Actually, my husband came up with a funny one:

Vampire Lestat meets Hitler's bunker.

As in literally. (I told him it would have to a comedy.)

I seriously can't think of one for two gay men and a baby. It doesn't fall under Parenthood nor Kramer vs. Kramer and I don't normally watch movies about babies. Nor are there many gay-by boom movies out there to watch. So I'm a little stuck.

Sorry!

There's also sex changes involved.... no wonder I have so many index cards on my floor!

Cynnara
March 23rd, 2009, 07:12 PM
LOL I so can see Lestat in Hitler's bunker. That could explain a LOT!

*thinks* Now you could use... Kramer vs. Kramer with 2 Men and a Baby as the base themes.

Two gay men want a child. They're willing to do what it takes to be good parents, even take the idea to one becoming more of the female persuasion. But will a sex change operation alone fix what is needed to become a perfect parent or will that destroy the relationship that both men share already? Will a baby unite them or tear them apart in the end?

Something like that?

Red Dragon
March 23rd, 2009, 09:26 PM
I see why you kept this Query/ Highlight blurb till last. It was so much easier to condense material already thought out than to expand on an idea.
Here's mine. It's a bit clumsy and the sentences are too long which a passive phrase but it's a start.

When a lady, proud of her high social and moral standing, attempts to solve a murder, she tries to trick a confession from the assassin that will save king and kingdom, but finds herself falling in love with this charismatic stranger. Unable to fight her desire, she deceives the knight she's betrothed to and must find a way to save the king without betraying the man she loves and still be able to live with herself and her treachery.
Rusty<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>

Cynnara
March 23rd, 2009, 09:37 PM
Not bad, Rusty. You repeat a bit about the man she loves she's trying to save. See if you can add a bit more on what's to happen or might happen for that part-- deceiving the knight she's betrothed to and using all her skills to pull off the impossible...

Use something like that to give some action to your highlight blurb and to raise the curiosity factor slightly. This is the blurb you're going to use to hook editors into wanting to read more of your query.

Eva Lefoy
March 24th, 2009, 12:34 AM
*thinks* Now you could use... Kramer vs. Kramer with 2 Men and a Baby as the base themes.

Two gay men want a child. They're willing to do what it takes to be good parents, even take the idea to one becoming more of the female persuasion. But will a sex change operation alone fix what is needed to become a perfect parent or will that destroy the relationship that both men share already? Will a baby unite them or tear them apart in the end?

Something like that?

Actually, I’ve just figured it out. Thanks to Star Trek of course!<o:p></o:p>
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I can call it: "Junior – Unexpected.”<o:p></o:p>
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Junior is a an Arnold Scharzenagger (sp?) movie about a man who gets pregnant and Unexpected is a Star Trek Enterprise story where Charles Tucker becomes pregnant with a Xyrillian child by means of prolonged touching. (snicker, snicker, snort!) It’s a good episode, really.<o:p></o:p>
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And so Junior – Unexpected is about as short and sweet as I can get it.<o:p></o:p>
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P.S. I also learned via Wikipedia (I love that site) that in fanfic, male pregnancy is abbreviated mpreg. Hunh. Never knew.<o:p></o:p>
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Red Dragon
March 24th, 2009, 04:41 AM
I'd love to be able to show more action and write an explosive blurb. I really would love that. But I don't know what action to use or how this story will play out. At the moment it is just so great to have this inkling of an idea – thanks to your course.<O:p</O:p

<O:p
So, is this any better.<O:p


When a proud, moral noblewoman, attempts to solve the murder of a royal courier, she discovers a plot to unseat the king. Unable to convince her betrothed, a knight, of the danger they face, she stoops to deception and manipulation. She tries to seduce a confession from the man she saw hiding the body, but each encounter with this charismatic stranger inflames a passion that shames her
<O:p
Aware of her duty, but unable to fight her treacherous desire, she is robbed of skills to achieve the impossible.
[any one have any suggestions]
she . . . races headlong into trouble.
tries to save the throne
tries to save her self respect/ good reputation

Thanks,
Rusty

Eva Lefoy
March 24th, 2009, 12:49 PM
I

She tries to seduce a confession from the man she saw hiding the body, but each encounter with this charismatic stranger inflames a passion that shames her
<o>:p</o>



Rusty,

How about: "But to gain a confession from the thief/whoever, she might just have to seduce him - a dangerous game that pits her will against his, and ignites her deepest desires."

Then it can be, who will she choose? The knight or the bad guy? Do you know yet?

Yakkity

Cynnara
March 24th, 2009, 01:12 PM
Great idea Yakkity! Action is what you make of it when it comes to blurbing. We like to see the main character moving to do something or that we fall upon her as she's just discovered something. The idea of adding a bit of action helps you to keep things moving forward within the blurb itself so it doesn't stall.

LOLOL Great idea for Junior- Unexpected. It's also a great title idea for the story itself! Congrats!

Red Dragon
March 24th, 2009, 06:43 PM
Thank you both!
You have given me plenty to think about.
Rusty

Eva Lefoy
March 24th, 2009, 07:10 PM
Got a blurb ready?

Put it here:

Here’s a chance to have your project reviewed by one of the agents at The Knight Agency. Submit three compelling sentences (150 words max) about your completed, unpublished manuscript to submissions @ knightagency.net (submissions@knightagency.net) (delete spaces). Write BOOK IN A NUTSHELL in the subject line or it will not be deemed elligible. One submission per project, please. Twenty of the best submissions will be chosen and requested by various agents who will then give feedback on your work...and it may even lead to possible representation. Hurry, the deadline is April 20, 2009. Winners will be notified by May 1, 2009.


Good luck everybody!!!!

lavagrl
March 25th, 2009, 08:43 PM
Damn, Yakkity, no pressure or anything.

Now I'm nervous, but here goes.



Sandry Green’s a first year witch in Parata, the pocket reality where witches repeat every week so they can study and explore alternate realities without interrupting their normal lives, and she’s a busy girl; she’s still learning the ropes, rules, and regulations of the witching world, and has to keep up with her schoolwork in Parata and the real world, and now it looks like there’s a rogue vampire killing people in her city.

So she obviously does not have time to waste thinking about the far too intriguing vampire-witch James Morgonson; she can’t date him, no matter how charming, intelligent, and lets face it, hot, he is; everyone in Parata says vampires can’t be trusted.

Turns out the murdering vampires aren’t working alone, they were hired by a witch to cause obvious ‘vampire problems’ in multiple cities, leading her to the obvious question of why.


I counted and it's 146 words, so it would fit, but I honestly don't know if it's any good. Thoughts? Because the submission to that agency looks like a good opportunity.

Eva Lefoy
March 25th, 2009, 11:53 PM
Damn, Yakkity, no pressure or anything.

Now I'm nervous, but here goes.



Sandry Green’s a first year witch in Parata, the pocket reality where witches repeat every week so they can study and explore alternate realities without interrupting their normal lives, and she’s a busy girl; she’s still learning the ropes, rules, and regulations of the witching world, and has to keep up with her schoolwork in Parata and the real world, and now it looks like there’s a rogue vampire killing people in her city.

So she obviously does not have time to waste thinking about the far too intriguing vampire-witch James Morgonson; she can’t date him, no matter how charming, intelligent, and lets face it, hot, he is; everyone in Parata says vampires can’t be trusted.

Turns out the murdering vampires aren’t working alone, they were hired by a witch to cause obvious ‘vampire problems’ in multiple cities, leading her to the obvious question of why.


I counted and it's 146 words, so it would fit, but I honestly don't know if it's any good. Thoughts? Because the submission to that agency looks like a good opportunity.

Lavagrl,

I agree, it does look like a good opportunity, but, unfortunately, I don't have any completed works yet. Sigh... Some day I will though!

In the meantime, the only issue I had with your book in a nutshell is that you don't mention murder until the third paragraph, and it seems like if witches or vampires (who is it?) are being murdered, it might be a pretty big deal. Big enough to introduce the concept earlier? Maybe in the first or second paragraph?

Not 100% sure how these things work myself.....

Yakkity

Cynnara
March 26th, 2009, 01:54 PM
For the contest, I'd move it up. perhaps rearrange a bit of it. Mention that witches go to Parata and why, then BAM-- now there's deaths being blamed on the vampires. Which is why the bad boy asks her out-- her thought-- find out the truth.

lavagrl
March 27th, 2009, 03:28 PM
Thanks for the advice, guys. I rearranged it a bit. Tell me what you think.


Sandry Green’s a first year witch in Parata, the pocket reality where witches repeat every week so they can study and explore alternate realities without interrupting their normal lives, and she’s a busy girl; she’s still learning the ropes, rules, and regulations of the witching world, and has to keep up with her schoolwork in Parata and the real world.

And now it looks like there’s a rogue vampire killing people in her city, and he’s not working alone.

Enter the far too intriguing vampire-witch James Morgonson; she can’t date him– everyone in Parata says vampires can’t be trusted– but asking if he knows anything couldn’t hurt; right?

Eva Lefoy
March 27th, 2009, 05:00 PM
Thanks for the advice, guys. I rearranged it a bit. Tell me what you think.


Sandry Green’s a first year witch in Parata, the pocket reality where witches repeat every week so they can study and explore alternate realities without interrupting their normal lives, and she’s a busy girl; she’s still learning the ropes, rules, and regulations of the witching world, and has to keep up with her schoolwork in Parata and the real world.

And now it looks like there’s a rogue vampire killing people in her city, and he’s not working alone.

Enter the far too intriguing vampire-witch James Morgonson; she can’t date him– everyone in Parata says vampires can’t be trusted– but asking if he knows anything couldn’t hurt; right?


Lavagrl,

I see where you are going with this but I question the use of the long sentence in the first paragraph. Can't actually say for sure what an agent would think of it, but I can send you to a website where you can get examples of queries:

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

She is ruthless but you can learn alot by watching other people's mistakes. So we don't fall into the same traps!!!

Let me know if you revise that again.....

Cynnara
March 27th, 2009, 05:04 PM
I like this newer version, Lavagrl. Definitely! I agree it might be a bit long in the opening-- in fact, you could narrow it down a bit more-- She goes to Parata so she never loses out on the normal world nor the world of witchcraft learning. Then you can move straight to the major events.

Great job!

lavagrl
March 28th, 2009, 01:56 PM
Okay. Yakkity, does it have to be only three sentences?

And thanks for the query link. I need all the help I can get.

Eva Lefoy
March 28th, 2009, 05:45 PM
Okay. Yakkity, does it have to be only three sentences?

And thanks for the query link. I need all the help I can get.

Lavagrl,
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I see what you mean. For me, 150 words is more like three small paragraphs. I don’t get that part. I would say check with the agency and see what they really want. Check out their blog - chances are somebody has asked this question already.
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Or you can Twitter to them!
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Yakkity