Blurb Coding

I get BookBub every day, and every day I skim the list and ignore most or all of them.  My biggest reason for not clicking on anything is that they tend to sound alike.  The romances are all about billionaire rock stars and the women who reluctantly fall for them; given what little I know of billionaire rock stars (or Wall Street guys or billionaires in general) that’s a bad, bad idea.  The paranormal seems to be clustering around dangerous shapeshifters.  The mysteries are about murder and pastry or inns at the shore.   Women’s fiction is about women who must go home again and rediscover themselves.  YA still tends to dystopia.  I know some of those books must be good, and I know that a lot of what’s working there is a signal that “this book is that kind of book” which has nothing to do with how well it’s written.  My question is, how do I tell which ones are the same cookie cutter plot and which ones are worth my click?  

Okay, obviously, the easiest way is to go read the sample on Amazon or wherever.  But I don’t have time to read twenty samples a day, so there has to be something that triggers my click.  A good PW or Kirkus review will do it if the book sounds at all out of the ordinary, especially if the quote says that it’s funny or fast-paced.  I’ve been stung by “heartwarming” too many times, and “sexy” at this point makes me scroll faster.  And even a good review won’t make me click on “billionaire;” I keep thinking of Mnuchin and his blonde bride soaking the country for their fancy travel and bragging about it on social media, not to mention the rest of Trump’s rapacious cabinet.

The real key comes down to the coding, I think.  I am probably not going to like a billionaire book, so it’s good that I don’t click on that one and end up leaving a bad review.  But for people who really love the King Cophetua or Cinderella or whatever trope it plays on, that’s a powerful ping on the imagination.  The same with “woman goes home and opens a pastry shop or takes over the family inn.”  There’s a cosy, nesting factor there, the idea that this protagonist is going to spend her life taking care of others that’s retro enough to be comforting while putting her in charge of whatever business it is, with a callback to Gilmore Girls.   The similarity in the plots says “This is the kind of book you like,” which is a smart way to market.

Except it makes them all sound alike.  “Will Jess/Tess/Bess find happiness with her billionaire?”  Sure.  “Will bodyguard Dan/Jack/Joe be able to resist the temptation he feels for his comely client?”  No.  “Will there be a hunky handyman/handsome client/gorgeous pastry freak at Melanie’s/Patricia’s/Brittany’s Come On Inn?”  You betcha.  So if the reader wants the same hit over and over again, she’s safe.  The last thing she wants is for the pastry freak to turn out to be a serial killer and bake Brittany into one of her flans.  She wants that story.  And that blurb gives tells her this book is it.  

But it also cuts out the reader like me who thinks “cookie cutter plot” (there’s Brittany and her baking again) even though the book might be marvelous, just badly blurbed.  On the other hand, if the book has a quirky blurb–“When Brittany meets notorious serial killer Daniel, will her muffins be enough to keep him from killing again?”  –it’ll lose all those cosy readers.  Although, I gotta say, I’d click to read more about Brittany and Daniel.  

So I’m thinking enough clues to let the reader know the kind of book it is (if starts with two people at odds, it’s either a romance or a serial killer book, possibly both given Brittany’s taste in men) and then hit whatever the overall mood and tone of the book is: cosy, quirky, suspenseful, whatever.  

And no billionaires.  Those guys are ruining the country.

 

(You know, I kinda want to write that Brittany book . . . )

(Please give me credit for my not using my “Brittany is a cake baker, Daniel is a cookie cutter” blurb.)

 

91 thoughts on “Blurb Coding

  1. Not surprisingly, I agree. And recommend Fort Saint Jesus Bait & Tackle by Louis Tridico as an offbeat, quirky, funny read. One of the few books I’d rate as 5 stars. (And no, I don’t know the author or get a cut from his sales.)

    2+

    1. Loved this article. I couldn’t agree more. Please write the Brittany book, and let me know how the flan turns out. Oh, and if a comet were to strike the earth somewhere in the middle, I would buy it at full-price.

      3+

      1. No. No. No.

        Please finish the Nita book. Only the Nita book.

        Because this is exactly how we got Nita instead of one of the Monday Street books. So although I’m in love with Nita now, no more derailments, please.

        Pretty please with a cherry on top.

        7+

    2. THIS. This is why I read. Out of the box recommendations like this. Wakadoodle tales that don’t check the boxes of ‘how to write a book’. I’ve made the recommendation for my local library to look into this author. Tit for tat – currently wandering into River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey.
      I’d read Brittany’s story…

      0

  2. Yes! I also reject all billionaire books, just on general principles. I don’t think billionaires are likely to be good people, with probably a few exceptions (JK Rowling, who dropped herself off the list by giving it away comes to mind.) And anyone who’s starting with a billionaire hero is probably not original enough for me to want to give their book my scarce free time. I’m sure I’ve missed some good books with that rule, but equally sure that I haven’t wasted my time on a lot of terrible books. I do think Bookbub does a pretty good job with their blurbs, though, especially when I compare them to the Goodreads deals emails, which tend to tell me so much of the plot that I know I don’t need to read the books. But I bet I don’t click on a book more than once every couple weeks or so.

    1+

    1. I wouldn’t read a billionaire book unless there was more to the plot than “he’s hot and rich and loves to bang.”

      3+

      1. Yep. I’ve read my share of those. I’ve hit the point where I consider having the hero or heroine being insanely rich to be cheating/lousy writing. And I can’t relate.

        1+

        1. Well, it’s women’s fantasies, right?

          And for some women the idea of a man who has more money than God is attractive. Probably because they married the hottest guy in their high school so they know about great sex – now they’d like to know about never worrying about the water heater again.

          I’m actually in the no billionaire camp. I think if I want money, I’ll make money. I want hot sex with someone who finds 50+ year old women attractive and who doesn’t look like Harvey Weinstein or DJT. So that superficial stuff – just judging you on your looks, I want to do it but I don’t want them to do it. ; )

          Fantasies.

          6+

          1. True. So True.

            On Halloween when one of the tricker treaters and her father left, I said to my husband. Wow. Really cute. And then said. And the little girl’s costume wasn’t too bad either.

            6+

          2. I think it also might be about a different setting/ formula. A book about reuniting with the one who got away in a little home town has a very different feel from meeting a money crowd. The window dressings are different. I think of gingham print and apple pie for one, jeans and sneakers. And champagne and ball gowns for the other. I don’t think it is about the reality of having money. It is about the mental images.

            0

  3. Hmm. My turn.

    Food writer Agnes just wants to get her catering company off with a bang, host her Goddaughter’s wedding, renovate her recently purchased house, and marry her fiancé. Will hitman Shane help or hinder?

    14+

  4. Most of the time there is not even a scrolling through the list, as you say, the stories seem to be repetitive. It is hard to tell if the book is a good, well-written story. I have bought a few and liked a few and a few have been archived or deleted quickly. Too bad. On the other hand, Daniel gets addicted to sugar and changes his ways, yep, if you wrote it, it would be good. )

    1+

  5. Does BookBub do the book blurbs? Would have thought they were provided by author/publisher and pulled from the retail sites.

    Think book blurbs in general are tricky. Tough balance between not giving too much away & piquing interest. Like your idea re mood & tone with couple more specific clues to story.

    But then for me the book has to deliver on those points. Hubby and I recently got some audiobooks for the car, and in each case the blurbs turned out to be misleading. Ergo disappointing and we returned the books. From a marketing perspective, don’t think this is a win because it plays with buyer trust and discourages us getting other books by those authors. Think sometimes that’s a point not thought about–that how one book by an author gets blurbed can affect buyers confidence re other books. Fairly or not, blurbs kind of have short-term effects and long-term ones in some cases.

    Good topic. Thanks for mentioning:)

    0

    1. I think they are pulled from the retail sites or similar. “Has 5000 good reviews on Goodreads” is another typical thing they say, though.

      2+

      1. Don’t know about Goodreads, but the BookBub editors write the blurbs. Which is one reason they all sound so similar.

        2+

          1. Bookbub is very, very marketing data-driven. They A/B test their blurbs to see what works and what doesn’t and they know exactly which lines are significant sellers. They’ve shared information on their blog about how they test and some insights: https://insights.bookbub.com/book-description-ab-tests-you-need-to-see/

            They know what sells down to when to use an ellipsis in a blurb (works for suspense, not for fantasy) and when to use an exclamation point (never.)

            8+

          2. Sarah, your link about the blurb-testing is pretty interesting. Though the way my brain works, I already want to dig deeper into some of the results they mentioned. Especially the “readers of chick lit respond more to specified ages” one: does it hold true regardless of /what/ the age specified is, or is the increase mainly seen in a specific age range? If it’s a case of, say, more chick lit readers wanting to read about a heroine in their own 30-40 demographic, then specifying their age as 19 or 67 might be counterproductive to sales, even if it’s more informative to the potential readers….

            0

        1. Wow. Interesting that they do their own blurbs. I imagine they tested and found that got them better results so now wondering if the blurbs are intended mostly as “the same but different” approach. Maybe also an attempt to provide subscribers with a feeling of comfort reads.

          0

    1. I bought this book yesterday. Thanks to sinus problems, took meds and decided to read it today.

      It is worth it. Especially the reason for being billionaires. Reminds me of Highlander TV show where Duncan accessed an old bank account, under pretence of it being his grandfather’s.

      It could even have been longer, I would have had more to enjoy.

      3+

  6. This was perfect. Thanks for the giggle. Also for the second giggle (thanks Sure Thing).

    I don’t have time to read or even watch dramas lately. This summer I did try many new romances only to end up bitter. Too sappy or too unbelievable or too badly edited, etc. I just wasted a lot of time, but did start clueing into types of amazon reviewers that fall into the category of “not my type”. I found that heartwarming or romantic meant Totally different things to those reviewers. It was like mining for gold and finding a lot of dirt.

    Instead, I started reading recaps if shows (at Dramabeans). Now, if I like one and I have time, I try to read the Thoughts sections of the final episode without figuring out what exactly happened, but figuring out enough to know that I won’t regret the 21 hours of my life that it takes to watch the thing (*cough* Big *cough* Cheese in the Trap).

    I just can’t waste the time and the recaps become a bit like a novella in the form of a one-shot cocktail (can you have one-shot cocktail? hmmm – non-drinker – Is it obvious?). Anyway, it’s like reading-lite. Weird, but satisfying for a tiny amount of time. Like a cookie vs. a meal or a great dessert.

    Good luck finding a good new read.

    3+

  7. Ok, I really want that book. Love the title.

    I click on a lot of the free books from Bookbub. The ridiculous plots make me happy. They are like comfort food. So I have the unfortunate tendency to stockpile them.

    And some of them are awful. Most are mediocre. And every once in a while I find a gem. And I can never tell what I am going to get.

    I rely more on percentages on Amazon, than the actual reviews. If a book has a 5% one-star rating I pass. And so on. If a reasonable portion of the reviews were not thrilled, I figure that the glowing reviews are fluff.

    Also, I find that a lot of my peers, friends, etc don’t read as much as I do, and so they don’t burn out of different tropes as quickly. I pick up whatever becomes popular and read several because I want to know how it works. What is the formula for this? Most other people read one or two…

    And I love, love, love when the tropes are overturned (my favorite is a redeemed villain). It is so nice. But you are right, people like their formula. They don’t want grapes in their literary chicken salad, even though it is delicious. Unexpected is not favored.

    2+

    1. That review thing is a problem, though. Most of my books have about 90% either 4 or 5 stars, but then the other 10% will be mixed or bad. But if you actually read the bad reviews, they often are petty or have nothing to do with the book at all. Just saying. 5% is a pretty small percentage to reject a book on.

      8+

      1. True. I only use it for cheap books that only have a relatively small number of reviews. I don’t do it at all for established authors. A lot of my favorites are not as well loved as I would wish.

        Also I love the reviews for erotica that just read “too much smut.” What did they think was going to happen? Ha.

        9+

        1. I published a short story that says in the blurb “short story (2400 words)” and on the cover in reasonably prominent, certainly readable, letters “a very short story”. Its 8% one-star rating comes from a single review that says, “too short novella. Either it uploaded wrong, or it was like one chapter or so.” I, of course, didn’t respond but I’m still rolling my eyes. 2400 words is not a novella, it’s a very short story! Like, in fact, one chapter or so.

          4+

    2. I read the one star reviews first.

      If the reviewer says things like – too many names, took too long, it was so complicated or (God forbid) too much sex and bad words?

      Then I know it’s a book I’m interested in. If the bad reviewer sounds like something I could have written, I trust them and skip the book.

      6+

  8. I hear ya. I can’t read most of that either, and those e-mails about “Tell us which ones you read/clicked on?” I don’t even have time for those. Uh, I didn’t buy most of them, there you go. I buy one occasionally, especially if it’s something I’ve already heard of and was interested in. And the romance ones do sound very trashy-alike.

    0

    1. There’s probably an algorhythm. Because the more I update and review the books I liked, the more choices I seem to have in what they send me that I click on.

      This is mainly nonfiction though. Because the romance titles all sound like they were generated by a very bad, very random title bot.

      0

  9. Also, when trolling the dregs of Craigslist for creative work (oh, the stories I could tell…) I found an add for righting reviews for books on Amazon. You got $10 to $20 a review, but had to give the book a four of five star rating, minimum. This wasn’t sponsored by Amazon to my knowledge, and I didn’t click on it, but it makes sense. How else can so many terrible books get great reviews? Family support can only take you so far.

    3+

    1. That’s against Amazon’s terms of service and they’ve sued companies that do that, plus shut down the accounts of authors who engage in such practices when they can catch them. There’s also a site called Fakespot that will analyze a product’s reviews to try to determine if they’re legitimate or not. It’s kind of fun to check.

      1+

  10. For a long time, I was the Billionaire-reader. I also like the “poor girl who gets pregnant and the jerks walks out on her and now she needs a new hero” type reader. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. I prefer books and/or movies with a happy ending. I’m sorry, but I do. Life can be crappy, if I take the time to sit down and invest my time reading/watching, but God it better have a happy ending. I worked for a doctor years ago, told me to go see a movie he just saw. “Does it have a happy ending?” he said it ends the best way it can…so stupid me goes to see the movie. NOW I find out how a movie ends before I will watch it and I don’t go to the movies at all. I want my happy ending.
    BTW…I’m now listening to Wild Ride. LOVE IT as always. Thank you.

    3+

      1. Nope, no shame.

        Some books I can handle the vampires/paranormal; some I can’t. Nora Roberts has a couple of paranormal/witchcraft trilogies that I just have no interest in reading. There are others of hers that I love.

        0

  11. So many of the blurbs appear to be written by people who haven’t read the book that I rarely trust them. For me, the author is much more important. That’s why I like a library or brick and mortar store: you can always open the book and read a few random pages. And if you get to know your independent bookseller, you’ll know if you can trust their recommendations

    1+

    1. I am currently disabled and I really miss going to real bookstores. I would always look through a book before I invested my time in it. Now I’m dependent on blurbs and reviews and I have dozens (or more) misses for every book I really enjoy. The thing that really bugs me is the “spoiler” enforcer crowd who often down rate every review that actually tells you something about what is in the book. A good spoiler review lets me know what a book is really about. I find that because of the down rating that happens not only are the reviews I want to read hard to find but I am more reluctant to put the time into writing reviews myself. When I do review I hold myself back so I don’t get as many down ratings. I am not proud of this.

      0

      1. I’m sorry you can’t make it to the bookstore, Hope, I hope that you’ll be able to at least occasionally make a special trip sooner or later. Back in college I would often spend Sunday/lazy afternoons just reading in a big bookstore– if the store closed and I couldn’t bear to put down the book, I knew it was worth buying. (Which is how I discovered Laurie R. King, Pay It Forward, and Good Omens, so it was a pretty good system.) Even when I’m looking at books online these days, I have to read a sample before I’ll commit to buying it, because even an awesome-sounding concept isn’t worth it if the writing turns me off.

        0

    2. Also I often will look at negative reviews to know what the gripes about a book are. I find that what someone else dislikes will often clue me into something I will like. (!) Unfortunately Audible doesn’t allow for easily finding the negative reviews, especially for popular books. I also find that the algorithms that are used to recommend books are annoying. I want the quirky books, not another more-of-the-same.

      3+

  12. The “all alike” thing is a real problem with publishing. I just got a couple of rejections for the novel I’m currently shopping. Great rejections, really, which said, “We love this book, love the writing, but it is just a bit too different from what we already have out there, so we don’t know how to market it.” Perhaps I should have put in a billionaire…

    12+

  13. The weird repetitiveness of blurbing is something that makes me completely ignore book blurbs. What I really want to know about an unknown book is either “what writers that I respect have said they actually liked this book?” or “who are this writer’s own favorite writers?”

    It was reading Neil Gaiman’s blog and noting his fondness for Diana Wynne Jones that first made me try one of her books, and it was some reference I read to Jenny’s fondness for Heyer and Pratchett that led me to actually pick up a modern romance novel to (gingerly) try it out.

    A plot description that’s unusual might make me slightly curious, but there are quite a few authors who offer interestingly unusual plots that I quickly come to despise once I start to read them. I think for me, there has to be a resonance in personality and/or values with the author for their books to feel rewarding and valuable — or at least for me to want to read everything they’ve written, which is maybe not the actual point of any given book review. 🙂

    2+

  14. Well, this is one of the reasons I enjoy going through the Good Book Thursdays here. There’s an abundance of readers with similar enough tastes to mine that if something gets recommended there’s a better than even chance that I’ll probably like it too. It’s at least enough to be worth a further look, at any rate.

    Good Reads can be okay for feedback, although you have to weed out the “OMG!!! Best Book EVER!!!” reviews, and the “WTF?? Worst Book EVER!!!” reviews.

    For junior and teenage fiction, I like the Children’s Book Council of Australia reviews.

    4+

  15. It’s also the small town thing. Jance/Patrice/Jennifer either fails miserably in “the big city” or she makes it big but comes home because of a death/ inhertance/illness in the family. Will she find happiness with the ow sexy up who ….. No, I grew up in a small town. They are brutal.

    5+

  16. So much of what makes a good book is the characters and the writing. I’m pretty sure I could ruin any Jane Austen book by rewriting it (and way too many have). So the blurbs can help me rule out some books but don’t tell me what I would like.
    I tend to download free samples on the Nook app on my phone and read them. Admittedly this means I miss some good books that start slow but mostly it works.

    1+

    1. (Tangent: One of the most disappointing pastiches I ever read purported to be “Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s POV”. It wound up being almost word for word identical to the original, with barely any new insights or details. Even the “new” scenes, such as Darcy confronting Wickham, were simply paraphrases of what had been shared in letters in the original. I guess in that instance they ruined it by not rewriting enough??? 😛 )

      0

  17. Maybe Brittany could be the serial killer/baker going from town to town taking out that town’s busybodies keeping one step ahead of the hot FBI/DEA/ATF agents.

    2+

  18. There’s an author I’ve been reading, and not all of her books are absolute hits with me, but most of them feel really fresh and funny and thoughtful and great.

    And she lists her books on her website, and also includes a page sorting her books by tropes… which I found interesting, since I really hadn’t associated her books as having particular tropes… just stories.

    https://www.sarinabowen.com/tropes

    1+

    1. I love Sarina Bowen. Except for the sex scenes. I think it’s because her characters are so great that I feel embarrassed to be watching them during those scenes, like I’m invading real people’s privacy. But I buy all her books anyway.

      0

    2. I just finished Bountiful (the latest in the True North series) about 30 minutes ago. I love that she sorts her titles by trope on her website! I wish more romance writers would do this.

      0

  19. I was about to say, Jenny, be careful or you’ll have another WIP on your hands…. 😉

    I’ve gotten to the point where if I am planning to read a book anyway, I won’t read the blurb at all; I’ve been burned too many times by blurbs being misleading or spoilery. Even when I pick up an entirely unfamiliar book, I take them with a hefty grain of salt.

    1+

  20. For the three- six line blurb, I might start with by the author of Agnes & the Hitman or whatever book you think has the same audience this book is meant for (besides us), I might put in the Goodread numbers and for you, I’d put in NYT best selling author – because well-known authors on Bookbub aren’t known to me.

    This blurb isn’t really to get people to buy the book. It’s to get people to click on the Amazon link to either find more out or to buy the book. Or to get a really neat cover – like Agnes or Cinderella Deal – because the covers catch me in Bookbub and all the romances have lousy covers.

    Nita’s career choice today is arrest the Devil, shoot the Devil or sleep with him. Nick only has to close the illegal hellgates & get off Earth before he loses his big promotion or that crazy cop shoots him.

    But sleeping with her…

    Too wordy probably.

    0

    1. The word count in insanely short. So no “by the author of” stuff. They seem to be shorthanding the relationship dynamic: “Heroine with problem meets handsome guy with this benefit.” So she’s being stalked but he’s a Navy Seal, or she’s struggling to keep her bakery afloat but he’s a billionaire. And the sex is always great. So it’s something like “Nita’s trying to protect her island. When devilishly attractive Nick shows up to close a hellgate, can she resist their smoldering chemistry?” Or something like that. The problem is, that isn’t even remotely the story, which is why I get the feeling that some of those books are not cookie cutter, it’s the blurbs that have been cut to shape the preconceptions of what the audience must be.

      3+

      1. Good point. Then make sure the cover is eye catching. I like romance, I buy romance and I have yet to click on any of the Bookbub ones except one I already own. The blurbs leave me absolutely cold.

        0

  21. Roarke from the In Death books is the only billionaire hero I can actually recall reading about since I avoid things with “billionaire” in the title as a rule. It’s not that I object to it on principle, but it’s not very appealing when it sounds as if that is a person’s defining characteristic. Billionaires don’t have to be Mnuchin though. It could be a billionaire who spends his nights being a vigilante. Then he’s Batman, and that’s cool. If someone wrote a book where the billionaire was a woman, that would be nice. Maybe there is one and I haven’t heard of it.

    As for Brittany and Daniel, if he’s a Dexter-style serial killer who only murders other predators, then maybe she should give him the benefit of the doubt. Otherwise, she should poison/drug the muffins and have him thrown in prison.

    2+

    1. Stella isn’t a billionaire in “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” but she’s a well-off woman, and she indulges in a bit of fantasy when she uses her money to dress up her lover and have a good, slightly exotic time. I liked the book a lot! It totally flips the tropes with an older woman/younger man fantasy. But I haven’t made time to re-read it, because it is so slight and fluffy, if you don’t look into the reversal of the power dynamic.

      Ultimately, being a sugar momma or a sugar daddy isn’t my fantasy. There are interesting dynamics there, yes, but it seems to me that the happily-ever-after is going to require so much work, if it’s going to work at all. (Or worse, the happily-ever-after is taken for granted, and everyone is left with nothing to do but wallow in the lap of luxury.)

      Man, though, there are some pleasures in wallowing in a hedonistic passage, though (-:. I do recommend Stella, if you haven’t read it already. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/122205.How_Stella_Got_Her_Groove_Back (Can you believe the book is more than 20 years old now?)

      1+

  22. Writing teachers I’ve met require their students to create blurbs. One part of the assignment is for the student to identify her work with well-known authors, like “in the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkein,” or “mix Jane Austen with Terry Pratchett.” Just when a beginning writer is trying to write her own stuff, she’s told to align it with other authors. A very difficult bit of homework, I found.

    1+

    1. I agree that it’s a weird dynamic to be trying to write your own thing, but then told to identify with another.

      On the one hand, we all have influences, and it’s right and proper to acknowledge them — and it could be helpful for potential readers to pick a book.

      But . . . I was writing like Pratchett even before I read Pratchett. (Note: for certain values of Pratchett!! Stuff like footnotes and little bits of surrealism.) We were both influenced by Douglas Adams. I adored Pratchett, and seeing his books out in the world allowed me to explore those areas more in my own work. In addition, he made me see the value of the little domestic things in a fantasy setting.

      And honestly, on many levels (so, so many levels) I don’t write like Pratchett at all. So it’s misleading.

      “In the tradition of Pratchett and Salinger, with footnotes (and parenthesis).” Nope. Very, very small market for that kind of thing. “Jack’s old flame turns up as Olivia’s magic instructor — and she wants her property back.” That’s the first third of the story; will readers be disappointed if the promised love triangle with revenge turns into something else? If the choice is between A and B, I guess cookie-cutter B would get more clicks.

      But of course, the choice is never between A and B, but there’s some unknown J floating out there that we haven’t stumbled upon yet.

      Has any one done studies (or even tried the experiment) where an author has a different blurb on each platform? It seems to me there have been quite a few two-cover marketing experiments. So many variables, though.

      0

    2. And not at all helpful. I’d go with “the love child of Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Parker,” but that would be really misleading.

      2+

  23. I hadn’t heard of bookbub before. Being a cheapskate, I looked at the free books first. I found “An Affair to Dismember” by Elise Sax. The Booklist review said “ Fans of laugh out loud romantic suspense will enjoy this new author as she joins the ranks of Janet Evanovich, Katie Macallister, and Jennifer Crusie. So I’m gonna try it.

    0

  24. It’s all about framing. The exact same plot beats change through the aesthetic touch that the creator brings. In novels, the medium of aesthetic is tone constructed by the prose. Two books could have cookie cutter plots, but one is more enjoyable because the author writes in a self-aware way, or maybe focuses on the world building, or maybe has a knack for making the emotions feel extra visceral.

    Which means that blurbs should convey the basic plot, written in the style of the prose you’re going to get. A medieval fantasy Pratchett book should have a funny and trope-aware blurb. A medieval fantasy Tolkien book should have a blurb with epic language. “Space, the final frontier” is a forward-looking, speculative, growing from our reality. “A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” is myth that happens to be set in space.
    A torrid romance should have desperate, passionate language in the blurb. A quirky romantic comedy should have a blurb that flows like the banter we expect to read in such a genre.

    After all, blurbs are like trailers. They’re there to set expectations of the viewing experience, which is more about atmosphere than actual content. Compare the trailers of Hail, Caesar! The one that’s just the entirety of one of the film’s comedic sequences is a much better trailer than the one that attempts to explain the plot, but doesn’t convey the feel of the film at all.

    1+

    1. The absolute cluelessness of this is astounding.

      Although it’s better than the HQ editor who told a black author twenty years ago that they didn’t want any of that “mammy stuff.” That one put me on the floor. WTF?

      So in twenty years, we’ve . . . improved? “More mammy stuff.” ARGH.

      1+

  25. Ah, well, back to the no billionaire thing. I avoid dating billionaires. I worked hard all my life for what I have, and he would look at my life savings as weekend mad money. If that.

    Um, Jenny, doesn’t she also have to be a virgin?

    2+

  26. I can’t find a “sample” button on my Bookbub page. So, the blurb is all have to decide whether a book is worth my time? Wow. I’m spoiled by my library’s Overdrive. It gives me a nice enough sample to gauge the banter/dialogue/character. No sample….. sigh.

    0

    1. The sample is really the only way to go. I read the sample and if I don’t care if I get the next page or not, I don’t buy it. I have to really want that next page to click the buy button. Which is Reason #2,344,771 to start your action on the first page.

      0

      1. The first few sentences I read in a sample make all the difference. It’s been fun and educational to see the development through each draft of the first few lines in Nita’s story. The juggling and streamlining so readers are anticipatorially pitched headfirst into the book’s world. I want to dive into the book with each refinement…. And I reallllly wish you’d finish it. That being said, Some authors plod through the first paragraph building their story’s world in such a serious tone, trying to get me interested in the book. If they lose me in two paragraphs, I ain’t wast’n no more time.

        0

    2. The Overdrive samples are the best. It never seems to be less than two or three chapters. I don’t usually need more than a few pages to decide, but the option is appreciated. Especially when other people already have the book checked out, and the sample is all I’m going to get for at least two weeks.

      0

    3. You can follow the link from Bookbub to Amazon and possibly find a sample there. Not all, but quite a few, have samples available.

      0

  27. Just a comment — I don’t read a book if comments on Goodreads include video clips and graphics. That means idiots like the book.

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