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Blurb Workshop > Blurb Help - Non-fiction / Supernatural - Boo! My Haunted Life

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message 1: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Aug 19, 2018 05:58AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Trying to spruce up my book of true ghost stories before Halloween, the time it generally performs well. I'm taking a look at all aspects of the book and seeing what needs to be fixed. I'm not crazy about the blurb, but would like some opinions. (And, yes, I see a typo in it):

Over the last forty years I've encountered dozens of ghosts, some I have spent a great deal of time with and talked with. It's time to share my stories with you.

I am putting them out there not to scare or convince, but just to entertain.

Among the many things you'll read are:
* An orange, glowing orb that travels in the tree tops of a park.
* A woman in brown who glares at anyone walking up or down the stairs.
* A pair of goofy twins who liked to slap one another.
* Ezra - an old man who shares the secrets of death and the afterlife... but is he lying?
* Michelle - a moody young lady.
* Nick - a silly ghost who likes to sneak up on folks and yell "boo!"

The stories are fast paced and laced with humor and some skepticism.



message 2: by M.L. (last edited Aug 19, 2018 11:44AM) (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments It sounds friendly, which is fine, but if you want to have more of an edge you might think of taking out some of the conversational-type wording, such as 'I am putting them out there,' 'It's time to share my stories,' and the last sentence.

Also, maybe some of the conflict in each story, such as: a woman who glares at everyone walking up and down stairs. Is she afraid they will track dirt on the floor, or is she warning them of rotted wood and a possible broken ankle.

Nick, who sneaks up and says boo. Was he the class clown and now that he's dead no one pays attention to him, or did he have a mean side that he never got to express in real life.

Goofy twins who like to slap each other. Are they warning each other to wake up they are about get killed and just never got over it.

Just maybe some idea of what they were like before or questions that might arise when they do the ghostly activity. Ghosts are always fun.


message 3: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Frank wrote: "Hi Dwayne . . ."

Wow. Um... yeah. Nothing you wrote will remotely help me with my blurb. It seemed to be all about some project of your own, which we call hijacking and self-promotion.


message 4: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
M.L. wrote: "It sounds friendly, which is fine, but if you want to have more of an edge you might think of taking out some of the conversational-type wording, such as 'I am putting them out there,' 'It's time to share my stories,' and the last sentence."

You could be right. One of the things that makes this one a hard sell, I think, is that it's not your typical ghost book. Most of my encounters were not scary, merely interesting. Maybe some of this wording does sound like I'm giving a slight warning that this is gonna be some scary, controversial stuff.

M.L. wrote: "Also, maybe some of the conflict in each story, such as: a woman who glares at everyone walking up and down stairs. Is she afraid they will track dirt on the floor, or is she warning them of rotted wood and a possible broken ankle."

Good idea. I could try to think of some conflict within the book. Generally, there was no real conflict with the ghosts. Although, yes, there was definitely a feeling that we were invading this lady's space.

M.L. wrote: "Nick, who sneaks up and says boo. Was he the class clown and now that he's dead no one pays attention to him, or did he have a mean side that he never got to express in real life."

Nick was happy to be a ghost and was making the most of it. Yes, I could focus on that a bit more.

What I'm thinking, after reading your suggestion, is maybe not bullet pointing six or seven of the stories, but focus on only two or three and give a little more detail. There definitely was some conflict over the orange glow, for example, I was fascinated by it, my girlfriend at the time was terrified of it and there was a bit of a struggle over my wanting to investigate it.


message 5: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments I agree with M.L. - it sounds so friendly.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - most are silly or realistic in a wait, what? kind of way, even though they're for children. Plus, you should totally read it. Here's the blurb:

This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz's popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright.
There is a story here for everyone -- skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney.
Stephen Gammell's splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories -- and even scary songs -- all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark.


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

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Jenna wrote: "I agree with M.L. - it sounds so friendly."

That's really what I'm going for.

The book you're talking about sounds cute, but not really what I'm going for. This is non-fiction and not meant to be for children, nor is it scary. Perhaps that's something I need to stress in the blurb.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 347 comments Dwayne, whatever else it must be absolutely clear that it is non-fiction, and you should give a clue as to where the stories came from, if not from your head. If they really are "true mysteries" that should be your real selling point.


message 8: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments Dwayne wrote: "M.L. wrote: "It sounds friendly, which is fine, but if you want to have more of an edge you might think of taking out some of the conversational-type wording, such as 'I am putting them out there,'..."

I think focusing on a few with more detail is a good way to describe the stories. Adding the personal note about the golden glow and you wanting to investigate and your then-girlfriend terrified of it, is a nice personal touch. It's a good relatable conflict.


message 9: by M.L. (last edited Aug 20, 2018 05:39PM) (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments To yours and Ian's point, yes, I wasn't entirely positive they were all true. And since it is friendly and conversational, you could say something like: Sitting around the campfire with some friends, we always end up comparing our real-life ghost stories. Mine may not be the scariest, but we all agree they are the most humorous or out-right weird. - or - In real life ghosts don't always act the way you think they will. Ask me, I know. Some personal true experiences with the often humorous, always unexplainable ghosts of a different nature.

There's Nick, the ghost who left behind his body, his job, and everything except his sense of humor.

And of course add the one about the golden glow. Sounds like fun.


message 10: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "Dwayne, whatever else it must be absolutely clear that it is non-fiction..."

You could be on to something, Ian. The book used to sell better when it first came out. I have it in the non-fiction section and have tried to make it clear in the blurb that it's non-fiction. One difference is - the original cover said something like "true stories of the paranormal". Maybe I need to get that back on there.


message 11: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
M.L. wrote: "In real life ghosts don't always act the way you think they will. Ask me, I know. Some personal true experiences with the often humorous, always unexplainable ghosts of a different nature."

I like this. Thank you. I'm going to reword it and use it in a revamped blurb in the next day or two.


message 12: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Honestly, (and I hate to bash your blurb immediately after you helped out with mine) I think some of those stories sound kind of boring. A moody young lady? A pair of goofy twins? These sound entirely normal.
I think you should take the list out and focus on the fact that your reporting on urban myth/fake ghost sightings, and providing evidence as to whether or not they're true - if that's what you're doing. I think that would interest me more than a woman that glares at people.
Sorry, that was kinda harsh.

A. J.


message 13: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
You gave me a couple of chuckles here, A.J.

First, no. You weren't harsh. I need to hear this so I can improve the blurb.

Second, if you're living in a world where goofy twin ghosts are "normal", I want to move there. Sounds fun.

I've been rereading the book (Hey, I wrote it three years ago and need to be refreshed), looking for what might be an interesting hook. One of the things I tried to accomplish with it was to explore the real nature of ghosts as opposed to what Hollywood and horror fiction say they are. I might focus on that a bit in the blurb.


message 14: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments I didn't realize any of those characters [besides Nick (Wait! Nearly Headless Nick??)] were ghosts. The blurb makes it sound like they're just suspicious characters who have been reported to the police several times but weren't actually doing anything wrong so they never got in trouble. I don't know.

A. J.


message 15: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Yes. This is a non-fiction book about my encounters with the paranormal.


message 16: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Aug 23, 2018 01:14PM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Maybe...

We all love a good campfire yarn or a spooky old movie. Right? Well, as entertaining as those things are, I can tell you that the ghosts in horror flicks and scary stories seldom act like real spirits.

Through my life I have come in contact with a few dozen ghosts and other strange things. In these pages you will read about Ezra, a wise old ghost who shared with me the secrets of the afterlife, though no one has ever said ghosts must always tell the truth. You decide if you buy into his revelations or not. You'll also encounter a strange, orange orb that floated through a park, twice, frightening my ex-girlfriend and intriguing me. There's also Nick, for whom this book is named, who was quite happy to be a ghost and loved jumping out and shouting, "Boo!"

These and other tales await you. Come on in!



message 17: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments I think it works, it's inclusive and tells a prospective reader these are not horror stories. More like cozy paranormal. (maybe add 'like': act like real spirits) That's the only change.


message 18: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Thanks, M.L.! I added the "like". I wrote it up on the fly during a little downtime last night at work and just reread it. I think it's much closer to what I need for this book than the original blurb. Still could use a touch of tweaking, though...


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