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Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > YA Dystopian Query Help

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message 1: by Lora (new)

Lora | 19 comments I am excited to write to you as I see that you enjoy retellings of the classics and unusual time periods. My YA sci fi novel ANDROMEDA ROSE (112,000) is a dystopian retelling of Beauty and the Beast that occurs several centuries after a war left North America in the dark ages.

The Beast is deformed by a genetic curse called the Scourge and the Beauty is anything but innocent. She’s got a price on her head and revenge in her heart. Midwife Ada Navarre dreams of living without a mask but in Nantahala being Scourged is illegal, forcing the peasantry to hide beneath masks and hoods. No one wants to be a midwife, but Ada excels at it even if her actions disagree with King Donican’s decrees and her own conscious.

Ada has almost earned enough to buy a better life when Donican discovers the secret beneath Ada’s mask: she’s beautiful.

Donican is obsessed with producing an un-Scourged heir but being his queen would be hell. Ada escapes his grasp but Donican imprisons her father instead. In a race to save her father, Ada travels to a hidden castle ruled by Henry Farinsworth: a deformed genius with a rare knowledge of genetics. As Henry’s affection for Ada grows, he discovers that Ada’s beauty isn’t coincidence. Her DNA shows that her past is entwined in a dark history that left humanity on the brink of extinction.

Donican will stop at nothing to get Ada back and when their paths collide, she must decide between her freedom and the fate of the last remaining humans on earth.

ANDROMEDA ROSE should appeal to readers of Erika Johansen’s THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


message 2: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Your blurb is 'too long' at 214 words, when the supposed sweet spot is 100-150. As much as I like your two-sentence introduction, I'm not sure it actually helps, unless your soul focus is on people who would like a Beauty and Beast retelling.

I felt you had too many names. Beast, Beauty, Ada, Nantahala, Donican and Henry. I suggest you drop beauty, beast and Nantahala to streamline the blurb.

Do you have any bio elements that would help sell books? If not, no worries, but if there's something about your past that might interest readers, a sentence or two is probably beneficial.

Below is my attempt at streamlining your blurb (163 words):


Ada Navarre dreams of living without a mask. Because being Scourged is illegal, all the peasantry hide beneath masks and hoods. Not even Ada wants to be a midwife, but she excels at it, despite the official danger.

Ada has almost earned enough to buy a better life when King Donican discovers the secret beneath Ada’s mask: she’s beautiful.

Donican is obsessed with producing an un-Scourged heir, but being his queen would be hell. Ada escapes, so Donican imprisons her father instead. To save her father, Ada travels to a hidden castle ruled by Henry Farinsworth: a deformed genius with a rare knowledge of genetics. As Henry’s affection for Ada grows, he discovers that Ada’s beauty isn’t coincidence. Her DNA was designed by the same process that led humanity to the brink of extinction.

Donican will stop at nothing to get Ada back. When their paths collide, she must decide between her freedom and the fate of the last remaining humans on earth.


Good luck!


message 3: by Lora (new)

Lora | 19 comments Thanks! I see what you mean. I like your suggestions on dropping the names. I debated a while whether the Scourge needs to be explained. Do you think it's fine without any explanation or mention of the setting?


message 4: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I debated with myself re explaining the scourge. I think the name might be enough to hint at what's going on. You could, perhaps, use something like 'facial disfiguring Scourge' the first time you mention it. If it's a whole-body thing, then drop the 'facial'.

My gut (for whatever that's worth) tells me you don't need to elaborate on the scourge, but go with yours.


message 5: by Lora (new)

Lora | 19 comments Also, as far as a bio, I'm a professional violinist and a pilot. I thought about adding those things but I've always heard not to include things about yourself that have nothing to do with your book. What do you think?

Thanks!


message 6: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments My view, for what it's worth: if there's something interesting/unique about your background that could sell books, say it (for instance, I wrote a book about a contract killer, so mentioned in my bio that I've served in my country's military and intelligence service). If I were you, I'd mention exactly that: "I'm a professional violinist and a pilot." It's short enough that it shouldn't have an impact on the readability and maybe it will be enough to intrigue an agent/publisher.


message 7: by Lora (new)

Lora | 19 comments Sounds great. Thanks so much for your advice!


message 8: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Happy to help!


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