Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Quickies: Blurb No-Nos

     I’ve expressed myself many times on what a writer should not do in promoting his own work. Mind you, most indie writers ignore my advice...if they’re even aware of it. But I continue to think I’ve fingered some of the reasons their promotions are less well received than they’d hoped.

     Top of the list: Don’t praise your own books. Get someone else to do it – preferably someone whose name is better known than yours. Consider this example:

     The writer secured a favorable comment from the highly accomplished SF and fantasy writer Elizabeth Bear. That’s how it should be done.

     Here’s how it shouldn’t be done:

     BookBub blurbs are submitted by the writer whose book is featured, so unless another source for the praise above is given – and it isn’t – it’s the author’s praise of her own work.

     Second on my personal aversion parade: Exclamation points. Pro editors have a derisive name for this punctuation mark: they call ‘em “screamers.” As bad as they are in one’s fiction – and they’re very bad – they’re even worse in a blurb. They reduce the probability that a reader will take an interest. The “Finder” blurb above is an example.

     Third, and arguably a matter of taste: While including in your blurb that your book is “first in a series” is a candid statement, as the author of “Daughter of Havenglade” does in the blurb above, it’s also a message to the reader: This volume is open-ended. If the reader likes the story, the odds are that he’ll have to buy further books to read it to completion. If he dislikes the story, or if he dislikes narratives left unresolved at the end, he might pour bile all over your series with a scathing review. (Yeah, there's an exclamation point in there, too.)

     I speak here as a reader rather than a writer: Each of these practices reduces the probability that I’ll pick up your book...even if it’s free. I don’t think mine are minority preferences.

     Verbum sat sapienti.

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