Burbling a Blurb – What’s in a Written Sales Pitch?

Remember: you want to create interest, if not excitement.  Suck in your reader.  Do that by revealing the dilemma or challenge facing your character(s) without disclosing how it’s resolved. 

Finding the right [amount of] words to sell your beloved work isn’t always easy.  No question, writing book blurbs—otherwise known as sales pitches or selling tools—can be challenging.  But, rest assured, it’s far from impossible.

Let’s consider what you shouldn’t do first:

  • go on incessantly, revealing all
  • reveal all (yeah, it’s a great story and you want to [enthusiastically] share every detail, but this really isn’t beneficial)
  • summarize all plot twists and/or characters
  • tell how the story ends
  • talk about how brilliant you and/or the story is
  • be overly effusive with descriptions (but not use effective descriptive words to entice us).

Now, let’s take into account what you should do:

  • tell us the genre of your book (we don’t want to have to guess, although mysteries do have their merit)
  • write a killer opening sentence; pull in your reader immediately
  • have us wanting to know/learn more
  • apply that old and familiar phrase: keep it short and sweet
  • introduce the protagonist and his/her quest, quandary, desire, journey (whatever the trial may be)
  • give a sense of setting.

My own process: write a synopsis (five to seven pages).  From that, whittle it to a one-page synopsis.  The blurb evolves from that.  Yeah, it can prove time-consuming.  But it helps capture the true essence of the book and, sometimes, it even reveals a snag.

Your process could be totally different.  Discover what works for you.  If you’re a first-time “blurber”, check out blurbs in your genre.  Get a feel for how they flow.  Adopt that rhythm.

Here’s a quick example (using my mystery series trio):

 The gals from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency stumble across a body in Ala Moana Park while waiting for a new client.  Could it be, this was he—Jake the Flake?  Why did someone of his notorious background want to hire them?  The assault he’d recently been arrested for?  Or the stalker he’d briefly mentioned on the phone?  As JJ, Rey and Linda search for clues across various Hawaiian Islands, it’s apparent a number of people hated the toady guy enough to want him dead.  And when their quest drags them into the dark and dangerous underground gambling world, they learn they’d better push out fast . . . before they add to the mounting body count.

Remember: you want to create interest, if not excitement.  Suck in your reader.  Do that by revealing the dilemma or challenge facing your character(s) without disclosing how it’s resolved.

It takes practice, like anything, but it does come—and when it does, your awesome blurbs will attract readers (and followers) and help you make sales.

pizap.com15010847263082

Writer’s Block can B a Bitch

For those easily offended, sorry for the “b” word . . . but, man, writer’s [and blogger’s] block can be just that.

Sometimes, it’s because ideas are bumping around in your brain like out-of-control bumper cars.  Other times, it’s because you’re experiencing a dry spell as arid as the Mojave Desert.  In both instances, focus is proving as clear as the Big Muddy.

Other excuses, uh, reasons include:

  • scheduling/timing, anxiety, dog walking, kitty litter changing, shopping, eating, vacuuming (pick one, any one).

There are several ways to defeat writer’s/blogger’s block and they’re painless, even enjoyable.

My fav: take a walk.  (Ideas come when I’m strolling with no destination in mind.)

Similarly, get out of the house/condo/apartment and enter a different space and head place, like a lounge or gym or park.

Do something creative or entertaining: play a game, color/draw, maybe watch a motivating or encouraging flick.  Music’s nice, too (Christian R&B works for me, but if Five Finger Death Punch does it for you, go for it).

Daydream—about the story and characters, your future, an ideal vacation, the upcoming long weekend, or that perfect world.  Engage the ol’ gray matter.

Jot down words, ideas, or character sketches.  Or record what you’re feeling and thinking (do some free-flow writing).

Talk to someone . . . or the dog, cat or parrot.  Chatting aloud, even with yourself, can take you places (and, no, they won’t be taking you away with a butterfly net).

Search for inspiration.  The folks I follow on Twitter tweet amazing sayings and stunning photos.  After viewing a few of those, I’m feelin’ uplifted and very fine.

Hopefully, one of these options will work.  If not, go looking for something that will . . . like I just did (writing about the writer’s/blogger’s block I was experiencing today).

Ending words: don’t give up.  Persevere.  You’ve got it within you.  Stick to it!  And, above all, keep the faith.

download (11)

Rolling Along the Blogging Trail

This is exactly what I’m doing, rolling along the blogging trail . . . like a honey-coated golf ball . . . and progressing like a keen Monachoides vicinus (otherwise known as land snail).

snailblog

“Forever Poi”, the fourth in The Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery series, is taking forever to complete, but it’s all good.  Sometimes you just need to invest [more] time in a project than you’d initially anticipated.

Never rush.  Errors and sloppiness abound as a result (to this I can and will attest).  Take those baby steps I always [ad nauseam perhaps] refer to.  Some say have a plan or an outline; others say take it as it comes.  I’m a have-a-plan kinda gal (coz I am so not spontaneous), but do whatever works best for you.

Straightforward and simple advice for today (I’m counseling myself as much as you):

  • stay focused
  • be proactive
  • suck up as much information as you can, and above all,
  • believe in yourself.

Never give up or in.  It will come.

 

Hey, Didya Hear . . . ?

Or maybe you saw, read . . . ?

This may well be a senseless post to those under 40, but I’m gonna do it anyway.

We know that a mailing list is important—a must—if we want to sell ourselves as writers (or anything else).

Another must self-promotion tool: social media.  And I will personally attest to this: it works.  Period.

One bit of advice: every social media platform has a different audience—with different focuses and interests.  Determine which ones best suit your needs/goals.

I’d recommend not spreading yourself too thin, at least not in the beginning when you’re starting to market yourself as a writer or blogger.  Focus on a couple only and learn everything you can about them—use them to the fullest.  My first choices (and not necessarily yours): Facebook and Twitter.

Get involved with social media groups that have interests similar to yours.  They can provide lots of guidance and support.  If you haven’t already discovered how easy it is to attract viewers/followers, do so now; there’s tons of information and advice to be found and absorbed.  Run with it.

As the [paraphrased] saying goes: you’re only as limited as the limitations you place on yourself.  Faith, support, and creativity know no bounds.  Either should you.

socialmedia2

Mail Lists, Mail Lists, Who Wants a Mail List!?

I do, I do!

download

And so do you, if you hope to succeed as a writer.  Renowned gurus Mark Dawson, Derek Murphy, and Joanna Penn (among others) tout the necessity (!) of having one.

I totally get it.  Now, if I could totally do it.  <ROTFL>

Given the weekends are the only times I can work on “technical” components, it’s been three weeks now that I’ve tried to get a mailing list organized.  Every time I follow a couple of steps, it seems there are six more to perform . . . and a-Googlin’ I go.

Eventually, it’ll happen.  It’s merely the multitude of baby steps required for yours truly to get there.  But I digress.  <still ROTFL>

Consider this my first official advice as a blogger/writer: get a mail list going!  It doesn’t matter if you have 10 or 1000 names on it.  The important thing is that you have one.  Everything else, in time, will follow.

+ + +

There’s simply too much information about mailing lists to include in a post.  To help you get started, here are three links to awesome sites that can provide essential must-knows and must-dos.
https://markjdawson.com
https://www.thecreativepenn.com
https://www.creativindie.com

 

 

To Wattpad . . . or Not To Wattpad

As I’m building this blog, I’m considering all that I’d like to see on it—such as “Odd Woman Out”, a cross between chick-lit and mainstream fiction, comprised of weekly installments.

Apparently, next to no one has read it, but then I don’t exactly advertise it.  My posts on Facebook seem to do little.  I’m guessing a) it just plain sucks or b) I’m not “selling” it properly.  As my fragile writer’s ego doesn’t want to believe it’s doggy-doo, I’ll opt for the second reason: I don’t (yet) know what I’m doing.

So-o, I asked the amazing, ever-helpful folks in the SPF Community and received fabulous advice.  If you want to get some traction with your books on Wattpad, do the following:

  • get your book featured
  • follow, vote and comment on stories in your genre
  • be aware that Wattpad caters more to YA, fanfic, and romance (but you can still make inroads, so don’t be deterred)
  • get your book featured
  • enter a contest
  • post regularly / make sure chapters and the like appear regularly, and
  • get your book featured.

. . . I believe I’ll see if I can get my book featured.  <LOL>

The Light at the End of the Tunnel . . . is Becoming A Little Bit Brighter

The focus of this blog is becoming clearer.  I can see categories, widgets, links, posts, pics, book reviews (mine and others).

Each week I’m learning more: what to do and what not to do.  Now I need to begin applying it.  Easy to say, a little more tricky to do.  It’s that <bleeping> thing called time.  It’s so very precious.  For those who never have to count your minutes, count your blessings my friends!

Until I can get this blog looking the way I want it to (which translates into having the blog “cooperate”, as some days it appears to have a mind of its own), I will share little snippets of info/advice.

My first snippet:

If you’re into writing, there are a lot of great writers groups to connect with.  One I’ve recently joined and recommend is best-selling author Mark Dawson’s SPF Community on Facebook.  They’re wonderful, helpful, and very supportive!  Just so you know, there are “house rules”, and I’m sure Mark won’t mind if I provide some here:

* No promotion, ever.  Promotional is anything that you stand to make a financial benefit from in your own capacity.  If you post promo, it’ll be removed without notice and you might be taken out of the group.

* Please do not solicit clients.

* Please don’t try and build a mailing list.

* Be kind. Be polite. Be supportive.

Mark also reminds us that this is a group where anyone can join; if you don’t want something shared publicly, however, it might be best you don’t share.

markdpizap.com14946991962551

A Tisket, A Tasket

While concepts for this new blog flow like bubbles from a five-gallon champagne fountain, its focus is as clear as a quart of stout beer.

There are so many potential forks in the road to take—should I:

  • do book reviews
  • offer editing services
  • share learning gleaned from fellow writers and bloggers, and/or
  • present positive support?

The blog world is my oyster; it’s merely a matter of prying it open and indulging.  So-o, maybe the best thing to do is dive right in.

As such, today’s post is about keeping the faith.

An authors’ forum recently revolved around a negative review.  The writer was dejected, understandably so.  Constructive criticism is good; cruel criticism is not.

Every writer must start somewhere.  Some will demonstrate an immediate flair—gift—for producing entertaining stories or providing enlightening facts, while others will require time to hone talents and perfect craftsmanship.  Quite a few will be lauded early in their careers and a number will need to wait, wait, wait.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the tortoise or the hare.  Don’t rush—honor the process and yourself.  Above all, keep that faith.

Never, ever, allow anyone to mock or deride.  You’ve got it in you to succeed.  It may not happen overnight, but it will happen.  Just keep believing.