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Blurb Workshop > Blurb Help Psycho drama Peddling Doomsday

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message 1: by Petra (new)

Petra Jacob | 42 comments I'd appreciate any help with my blurb. I'm keeping it short, because the longer I write it, the more confused it gets, but hopefully it still puts across the idea. Thank you!

Peddling Doomsday
Deirdre’s search for purpose leads her to a cult filled with bizarre rituals and chilling psychological manipulation, headed by a charismatic female leader.
Learning that humanity is crashing towards doomsday and that only the believers can stop it, she abandons autonomy, free will and finally her morals to the fight.
Deirdre gains importance in the cult, but cynicism and manipulation grow as it spreads its message to the outside world, and she starts to wonder: Am I really fighting on the side of good?


message 2: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Not bad. It sounds like an interesting book. It's lacking in some detail, though. Can you give us a hint as to who Deirdre was before joining the cult? Can you give us an example of one bizarre ritual? Maybe a tad more about the leader of the cult and why they believe humanity is headed for doomsday.


message 3: by Petra (new)

Petra Jacob | 42 comments Thank you for your response, Dwayne. I wrote a longer blurb that answers your questions, but I wasn't sure about it. I'll give it a go now...

Deirdre has always been bewildered by life. She wants to be a good person, but she works in a corporate advertising agency selling pointless consumer clutter, so opportunities are rare. Then a cult, known as the Center, contacts her. They say a terrible war is coming, humanity is in danger and she’s needed for the fight. Suddenly the chance to be spectacular is in her grasp. With the charismatic Myra as the cult leader, and talk of prophecies and psychic abilities, Deirdre is soon seduced and ditches her humdrum life to join up.

Once inside, her understanding of the world shifts. She learns the truth about the elite, a secret organisation that has meddled with humanity since the beginning of time. The elite use entertainment and the media as a constant distraction to stop people from reaching their true potential. To free themselves of this conditioning, the followers must give up ‘excessive’ food and sleep. They also carry out increasingly bizarre rituals under the critical eye of the Captain, a minor leader of the new followers. He seems to take pleasure from turning them against one another.

Tensions increase. The followers change, gaining odd new abilities, but bullying and hysteria also grow. Then the elite notice their presence and attack. Meanwhile Myra’s prophecies become increasingly extreme. As friendships form and are ripped apart, as paranoia intensifies, Deirdre questions where the belief ends, and delusion begins.


message 4: by Everly (new)

Everly Rush (httpswwwgoodreadscomeverly_rush) | 6 comments Petra wrote: "Thank you for your response, Dwayne. I wrote a longer blurb that answers your questions, but I wasn't sure about it. I'll give it a go now...

Deirdre has always been bewildered by life. She wants ..."


This one relates a better idea of what the book is about and how Diedre got there. Since you mentioned your blurb keeps getting longer, have you considered going over it like The Elements of Style recommends? Their book basically boils down to... if it's not necessary, cut it out. Maybe a few rephrasings for brevity might be good. Charismatic leader Maya artfully convinces Diedre to join. You're on the right track!


message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 552 comments I rather like the short blurb and yet Dwayne's question about who she was before joining seems relevant. Other details can be rolled out tantalisingly as you go along.

Having said this - I am hopeless at blurbs. It takes me years to get something I like. Dwayne's probably got the hang of blurbs better than I have.


message 6: by Petra (new)

Petra Jacob | 42 comments You've all been very helpful. Anna I know just what you mean, I have many, many versions of this and they all seem flawed. Everly, I have a tendency to overwrite things, so I'll have a trundle through now and see how short I can make it.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 347 comments Petra, I think the blurb should start with a hook, and it seems to me the best one starts with explaining that Deirdre has always felt she had some psychic ability, especially at prophecy, so when Myra, leader of a charismatic cult approached her because the world was in terrible danger from an oncoming war, her prophetic ability is needed to save humanity.
Then something about the cult. (Note I am not writing it - you need to use your own words to show your style.) Then finish with then of your first posted blurb, namely:
"Deirdre gains importance in the cult, but cynicism and manipulation grow as it spreads its message to the outside world, and she starts to wonder: am I really fighting on the side of good?"

Caveat: I often wonder if my attempts at blurbs are all that good anyway.


message 8: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited May 20, 2018 05:45PM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
It's better, Petra. I'm still gonna nitpick.

Petra wrote: "Deirdre has always been bewildered by life. She wants to be a good person, but she works in a corporate advertising agency selling pointless consumer clutter, so opportunities are rare."

I'm not getting this part. Deirdre wants to be a good person, I get. I'm not sure how that's connected to her work or why opportunities would be rare in that field. I'm not getting any sense why she would be bewildered.

Then a cult, known as the Center, contacts her. They say a terrible war is coming, humanity is in danger and she’s needed for the fight. Suddenly the chance to be spectacular is in her grasp. With the charismatic Myra as the cult leader, and talk of prophecies and psychic abilities, Deirdre is soon seduced and ditches her humdrum life to join up.

This gets interesting, but it's kinda backward. I'd like to know as quickly as possibly why the Center has contacted Deirdre. The line "Suddenly the chance to be spectacular..." is fluff. It doesn't really tell us anything. Perhaps this paragraph should start with something like, "Deirdre is approached by a cult because..." Better yet, this may be the start of the blurb. "Deirdre has always had talents in [blank] and has wanted to find a way to use them to make the world a better place..." or something along those lines.

I like this part, "She learns the truth about the elite, a secret organisation that has meddled with humanity since the beginning of time. The elite use entertainment and the media as a constant distraction to stop people from reaching their true potential. To free themselves of this conditioning, the followers must give up ‘excessive’ food and sleep." Just a little brushing up and I think it would work well.

I like roughly half the last paragraph. "Tensions increase.The followers change, gainingodd new abilities, but bullying and hysteria also grow. Then the elite notice their presence and attack. Meanwhile Myra’s prophecies become increasingly extreme. As friendships form and are ripped apart, as paranoia intensifies, Deirdre questions where the belief ends, and delusion begins. "


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan Old | 7 comments I like it but wonder, does she abandon autonomy but still in some way keep her morals? Like the song, surrender but don't give yourself away?


message 10: by Tantra (new)

Tantra Bensko (tantrabensko) | 14 comments I definitely am intrigued enough by your blurb to want to read the book. But it's also the kind of topic I am particularly interested in.

Those are very useful edits, Dwayne (though I do like the chance to be spectacular.) Saying she had psychic talents like that sounds like maybe a good beginning.

For me, if it started with psychic skills and also a prophecy as Ian kindly suggests, I wouldn't read much farther because that sounds like so many fantasy books and I'd assume it was more about truly becoming The One. But the way I imagine this novel, it's not like those at all. I prefer it as your blurb is regarding that. If you lead with her thinking about prophecies first, she comes across as maybe deluded, arrogant, naive, etc. and I have less sympathy for her. I don't picture the way she's written in your novel as being about her grandiosity as much as just wanting to do great things for the world.

The way it is now, that she find out about doomsday and she's the only one -- I take it to mean that's what they lead her to believe. And that's excellent. There aren't enough books like that out there.

I also don't get the bewildered part, and though I understand the corporate part, I think that needs to be shortened.

You could also go by the new convention and tell readers whose books are similar, and what tropes, locations, pacing, etc. they might enjoy (If you like ..., you'll love...) and say Buy this book to/for --- at the end, to give them a call to action.

I think it could possibly use more dramatic emotion in the language that amplifies the sense of high stakes from the beginning, as it sounds a little distanced and relaxed. But other than the beginning couple of sentences that could be refined, I love the second blurb; I do like Dwayne's edits.

I'd be tempted by the short blurb, but absolutely convinced by the second one to buy it. I want to be on your mailing list to know when it comes out.


message 11: by Petra (last edited May 21, 2018 10:27AM) (new)

Petra Jacob | 42 comments Dwayne and Ian, thank you very much for the feedback, I took it on board and did some tweaking.
Tantra, you totally got it! It isn't a fantasy-magic powers book, it's about how belief affects us and how some exploit that. I'll try to add some tension at the beginning, the hook that Ian mentions. And thank you for your interest, that's made my day! I'll post up on Goodreads when I publish. I don't think I can post up my blog on here, but it's on my author page.
Susan with the autonomy/morals question you've got the crux of the book, although I've avoided going into it too much in the blurb, because I don't want to spoil the suspense. It's an insightful question though.

Thank you everyone, you have been incredibly helpful!


message 12: by Tantra (new)

Tantra Bensko (tantrabensko) | 14 comments Yes, I already found your blog and signed up for the newsletter, though I haven't gotten the confirmation email yet, is taking a little time.


message 13: by Tantra (new)

Tantra Bensko (tantrabensko) | 14 comments Once my appropriate blog gets some traction, maybe I could interview you there or something? Would love to help readers find your books.


message 14: by Petra (last edited May 21, 2018 12:56PM) (new)

Petra Jacob | 42 comments Tantra wrote: "Once my appropriate blog gets some traction, maybe I could interview you there or something? Would love to help readers find your books."

Sorry for the slow email reply, you should get it soon. An interview would be great! Thank you! I love the look of your blog. The book is due to be published on the 6th of June. Just let me know when is good for you.


message 15: by Tantra (new)

Tantra Bensko (tantrabensko) | 14 comments I have a lot of blogs, so not sure which one you saw. I'll be in touch about it and maybe we can do the interview soon. I'll want to read the book first. Even if my blog doesn't have readership yet, the URL will remain, and should get more traffic later.


message 16: by Petra (new)

Petra Jacob | 42 comments Ok, no problem, I look forward to hearing from you


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