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Blurb Workshop > Blurb Help - Paranormal Romance - Forbidden

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message 1: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Hi there! I'm looking for some constructive criticism on the blurb for the second edition of my book. It is paranormal romance, erotica, YA. I kinda don't feel it has enough impact... It is also longer than most blurbs I see out there, but then again, this is a 108,000 words novel...
Here it is:

Is living the life of your dreams worth risking eternal punishment?

Detective student Sween is hell-bent on making her tall, dark, handsome classmate Lei fall in love with her, despite him being madly in love and dating all-round perfect Dessande.
As she concocts one failed scheme after another while getting in petty fights with Lei every chance, the realm of the supernatural around everyone becomes more and more apparent. Just who are Sween and Dessande? Perhaps nothing and nobody are what they seem to be?
Only one thing is clear: Sween’s love for Lei. But even if she managed to date him, what would await her? Being branded a criminal and chased down every night by her kind would only be the beginning of her problems. However, if only Lei loved her back, she would not mind breaking every law for him. No matter the consequences. Even if it meant living a forbidden love with a dubious future as she defied everyone and everything in Heaven... and everything she once stood for.

Any suggestions? Thank you in advance.


message 2: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited May 06, 2018 02:59PM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Is living the life of your dreams worth risking eternal punishment? Not a fan of starting a blurb with a rhetorical question. I have no idea what your book is about or how this relates at this point. Just tell me what the book is about. Don’t start by asking questions.

Detective student Sween is hell-bent on making her tall, dark, handsome classmate Lei fall in love with her, despite him being madly in love and dating all-round perfect Dessande. Tall, dark, and handsome is the mother of all clichés. Avoid it. “Perfect” character = boring character. Give me something to go with on these three characters. One is handsome, one is perfect and I know nothing about Sween. Readers want characters they can relate to or root for. This is just “Bob loves Ted who loves Alice”. Why should the reader care?

As she concocts one failed scheme after another while getting in petty fights with Lei every chance, the realm of the supernatural around everyone becomes more and more apparent. How is it becoming more apparent?

Just who are Sween and Dessande? I have no idea.

Perhaps nothing and nobody are what they seem to be? I don’t know what they seem to be, so this tells me nothing.

Only one thing is clear: Sween’s love for Lei. Which may or may not be what it seems to be.

But even if she managed to date him, what would await her? I would stop asking all these questions. It’s as if you want the reader to try to guess what your book is about. Just tell us!

Being branded a criminal and chased down every night by her kind would only be the beginning of her problems. She’s a detective student criminal who is chased down every night by other detective student criminals? That’s all I can guess as to what “her kind” is. What do they do? Let her go in the morning so they can chase her down again?

However, if only Lei loved her back, she would not mind breaking every law for him. WHY does she have to break laws to get Lei to love her? Why would it be worth it?

No matter the consequences. What consequences?

Even if it meant living a forbidden love with a dubious future as she defied everyone and everything in Heaven... and everything she once stood for. I don’t know what she stood for. I don’t know why love is forbidden.

Overall, the story is vague at best, other than Sween seems obsessed with Lei for some reason. You say it’s paranormal and hint at something supernatural. Readers will want to know more than this. Don’t be so shy about letting us know a little about your characters and the story. Giving little hints and asking a lot of questions is frustrating.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 347 comments The first problem is the blurb should attract the readers of a genre, and I would not buy erotic romance so beware my advice. Having said that, I am not so against the first sentence as Dwayne. The eternal damnation may be a reasonable hook for that genre, and it tells me this is probably a religious fantasy - but there are several subsets of this, and the rest doesn't tell me which. Is it a catholic church type possession story? I need more specific detail relating to this damnation.

Bearing that in mind, I would replace "hell-bent", and the adjectival cliches that follow in that sentence. Give or hint at reasons.

Don't ask "who is the primary character" - presumably Sween - if it isn't, start again and introduce whoever it is up front. Don't say the realms of the supernatural become more apparent - try giving one example, as the hook.

For me, the last paragraph is too generic and not pointed enough at anything in particular, but remember, I am not a follower of this genre. However, you have said it is paranormal erotic romance. There is very little to say it is paranormal and while eroticism is difficult to hint at in a blurb, this is about as erotic as badly cooked broccoli. Try to find a book that is as close as you can to the degree of eroticism, and see how they manage their blurbs. Basically, I think you have to at least hint at the possibility, and all you have here is that your two presumed protagonists spend all their time in petty fights. That hardly indicates eroticism.


message 4: by Mistress (new)

Mistress Kaz (mistresskaz) | 3 comments It sounds as if you have some great ideas in the blurb, they just need a little refining. The thing that captured my interest the most was the mention of 'her kind'. I think a further little hint on what her kind is, would definitely wet the appetite and encourage more people to buy.

In the first paragraph, I think you could hint towards her lust filled motives and the impact they could have, without mentioning characters and their relationship status. Just my opinion.

Writing 3 or 4 blurbs is a good challenge to give yourself. When you compare them, you can see the best elements of each and then combine them.

Good luck. I'll keep an eye out for the book. I love a good paranormal romance novel!


message 5: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Thank you, guys! You know, I've had this same kind of problem when I was a fanfic writer... people would not get half of my jokes. I thought saying someone would be eternally punished for loving a man would bring a certain race to mind... I mean, vampires, demons and ghosts are already damned. Spirits like fairies, elves, etc. are neutral. There's only one paranormal race that is not supposed to be engaged in any kind of sexual or impure behavior and will be damned if they did (and most certainly chased down by their own kind)... Gotta work on being less subtle, then.

Ian, even if you're not interested in the genre, I love how your critique came out. (Hey, I laughed at the broccoli part). I can't post any link/image here, but the cover of the book is really, really explicit that this is erotica. I thought pointing at it again would be like selling an erotic toy with a large colorful pic and tell it is for sexual purposes in the ad. But I guess one line won't hurt.

Kaz, that's an amazing idea! I kind of tried that, but I'm never satisfied with any of the blurbs. I think it could be a great exercise. Thank you!

Okay, now to gather all this advice and try to get it good...


message 6: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
There's no indication that the characters are of any specific race. I pictured them as human. There are quite a few different supernatural races and many interpretations of each. One source might say vampires are damned, another might go a different way. Then there is the problem of knowing what "damned" means in the world you've created. Very important to keep in mind a reader who comes upon your book cold probably won't guess what kind of world you've built for your book. You have to start us off with baby steps and bring us in.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 347 comments Haru wrote: "Thank you, guys! You know, I've had this same kind of problem when I was a fanfic writer... people would not get half of my jokes. I thought saying someone would be eternally punished for loving a ..."

Really glad to know you laughed. One last piece of advice - do not assume the reader will pick up immediately what you have spent years thinking about, but at the end of the day, you are the author. Think about the advice, but also think before you take it.


message 8: by Haru (last edited Jun 08, 2018 10:35AM) (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Okay, how about this? It only took me a month to come up with *throws away a phone guide-sized scribbles folder*

Sween stares adoringly at her sultry and proud classmate Lei at her Law Academy class. He is a promise of unbound carnal delights... However, only known to her, much more than just lust binds her to this man.
But even if Sween succeded in making his heart hers, what would await her? Being branded a criminal and relentlessly chased down by angels would only be the beginning of her problems. However, if only Lei loved her back, she would not mind breaking every law for him. No matter the consequences. Even if it meant living a forbidden love with a dubious future as she defied everyone and everything in Heaven... and everything she once stood for.


message 9: by M.L. (last edited Jun 08, 2018 12:12PM) (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments You could answer your own question in this case:

Is living the life of your dreams worth risking eternal punishment?
Yes.
Sween is a vampire, she's already damned by those who oppose blood lust. But for Sween damnation is worth the risk if it means having Lei, the love of her life.

***
What I don't know is why Lei is so forbidden. Is it forbidden to love non-vampires? (This isn't my genre :) but I need to know about why so I can buy into the risk.

I like the angle of a vampire in the police academy.


message 10: by M.L. (last edited Jun 08, 2018 05:12PM) (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments Hmm, after more careful reading, I conclude she is not a vampire.

The revised version, while shorter, still does not tell me what she is.

Try to be definite: (just for example; you have to use your own words)
What really happens in your book? (Sween lusted after Lei, and now he belongs to her.)
What is the consequence? (Avenging angels pursue her down lanes and alleys, they haunt her nightmares, and shadow her every step. If they catch her, she will rot in hell.)
Is he a vampire? (Lei is a vampire, he cares nothing for her. But there is a place worse than hell, and that is where Lei will take her.)

The caveat is that while "stares adoringly" and the overall does not work for me it may work for your target market.
What I wrote does not sound like romance either, it's just an example.


message 11: by Haru (last edited Jun 09, 2018 11:06AM) (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Thank you, M.L.! What Sween is is a big spoiler, so yeah. You only get to know it after the first half of the book. She poses as a normal human all the while.(view spoiler)
Hmm, is it still too nebulous? It's kind of hard to balance not giving away spoilers and giving concrete information.


message 12: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments Hey Haru, I don't really know, which is probably extremely obvious since so far I've missed twice on vampire. :) I just read a short story so I have vampire brain at the moment. Interestingly though, at the end of that story I don't know exactly what she was, and that's part of the intrigue. That one is not romance either, more horror.

Do what feels comfortable and don't give away anything you think is too spoilerish. Paranormal romance is hugely popular and there are lots of blurbs to check out.

You might take a look at Julia Mills, Paranormal Dating Agency, Dragon Got Your Tongue Dragon Guard #24, the way she does her blurb. It gives away a lot but the way she does it is an invitation to read more.


message 13: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Haha, you weren't meant to unravel something I left intentionally vague (unless you're a psychic or something). I meant if the rest of the blurbwould let people know the story better than the previous one. But thank you. And thanks for the recommendations too :)


message 14: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments I looked at the spoiler. Without saying what she is:

Sween believes in justice. She made an unbreakable promise to throw crooks in jail; that's why she joined the police academy. But when she meets Lei, she falls in love and forgets everything else.
Not having him would drive her mad, but making him her own means risking eternal damnation.
Is it worth it, for someone who is not what he seems to be.

Those are placeholders since I don't know the whys and wherefores. Good luck with it!


message 15: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Thank you very much! It's very useful to know it through more people's eyes. My intention of what I try to communicate is pretty much that one.


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