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Blurb Workshop > Blurb Help - Superhero, Bystanders

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message 1: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments Hello, fellow authors. I waited until I finished my series to start advertising. Now, I'm getting a low click through rate and wonder if a better blurb could change that. Hopefully your collective minds will help me with this. Here's the current blurb:

Colberton has a vigilante, named Votary, attacking the criminal element that operates in a city with a limited police force. A social climbing reporter, Claire Kennedy, is determined to discover the identity of this would-be hero to boost her station's ratings and her own clout with her boss. Her investigation will quickly reveal that real-life vigilantes do not reside in the fantasy worlds that comics and movies allude to. Death and trauma affect not just Claire, but the other residents of Colberton. They include the police officers, paramedics, surgeons, criminal bosses, and teenaged fans of Votary. All of them will experience the lasting effects associated with over-the-top battles in the back alleys and residential streets. During it all, Votary will keep his identity a secret, even from the audience.

What do you think needs changing? Thank you in advance.


message 2: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Nov 30, 2018 07:22AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4334 comments Mod
Claire Kennedy immediately put me in mind of Clark Kent. Not sure if that was intentional.

It does kind of have a Superman / Spider-Man / Daredevil feel to it.

The blurb is good, but could use a little tuning up. When I hit the line listing all the people that will be affected with death and trauma, the the rhythm of the blurb was really thrown off for me.

I get where Frank is coming from, too. I'm not sure if this is really Votary's story, or Claire's.

EDITED TO ADD: Just noticed the title Bystanders. So, it does seem to be more a story about those around Votary and not the hero himself (a little like Marvels).


message 3: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Phillip, anyone here can attest how bad I am at blurbs, but I feel you can cut the word count a bit, such as:

Colberton has a vigilante, named Votary, attacking the criminal element that operates in a city with a limited police force
can turn into
Votary is a mysterious vigilante in the city of Colberton, where the police force is severely limited. (I already understand a vigilante attacks the criminal element).

Also, the "Her Investigation..." and "Death and trauma..." parts are a bit loosely linked, I think.

Death and trauma affect not just Claire, but the other residents of Colberton. They include the police officers, paramedics, surgeons, criminal bosses, and teenaged fans of Votary.
can turn into
Death and trauma become a widespread affection among all the residents of Colberton: not just Claire, but police officers, paramedics, surgeons, criminal bosses, and teenaged fans of Votary.
It can even turn into
Death and trauma become a widespread affection among each and every one the residents of Colberton, not just Claire.

It comes off as a bit too wordy to me. Take all this with a pinch of salt: I'm trying to get better at blurbs and I feel yours has some of the problems mine has. Good luck!


message 4: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 721 comments Mod
Even without reading: it could use some structure. Paragraphs.
As for the blurb itself, I don't know, I am not much into superhero stuff and don't know what to expect on that front. But, I wonder, what's 'social climbing reporter'? Maybe it's my shortcoming as someone having English as a second language but I honestly have no clue.


message 5: by Summer (new)

Summer (paradisecity) Phillip wrote: "Hello, fellow authors. I waited until I finished my series to start advertising. Now, I'm getting a low click through rate and wonder if a better blurb could change that. Hopefully your collective ..."

A couple things here:
1. I initially thought Colberton was a person, so you might want to clarify that it's a city.

2. Social-climbing is a weird way to describe a reporter at work. Do you mean ambitious?

3. Cut the word count by half.

4. I'm still not sure what the plot is or who the story is about, and not in a good mysterious way. You have to let your readers know what they're spending their money on.


message 6: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Frank wrote: "Sorry it's a bit garbled - I'm writing on a bus."
Be careful that the police and the owner of the bus don't catch you.
Sorry, I couldn't resist =D


message 7: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments First off I didn't find it too wordy. I didn't pause while reading it or wonder what you were talking about. That's important. I do think it could be more focused via a point of view change, especially if you want to try something that might change the click rate.

Since his identity is a secret that's one approach.

To the city of Colburton, he is a vigilante. They call him Votary. He kills, he maims, and all in the name of justice. Thugs want him dead, his fans idolize him, and the under-manned police force needs his help. No one understands this better than Claire Kennedy an ambitious social-climbing news reporter who would reveal his identity to further her career. Votary does not intend to let that happen. He'll mete out punishment in his own way, and she will not stop him.


message 8: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments That sounds awesome, M.L.!


message 9: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments Thanks for the comments. I realized I should have put a brief synopsis to help you understand what's important about my book.

It's an ensemble cast. I know many people cringe at the thought of it, but I don't think you can tell the story of how a superhero impacts a city without the various points of view.
The criminals hate Votary because he causes them problems.

The surgeon hates Votary, too, because he's the reason she has to stay at work late and heal his "victims."

The fanboys love him, but want to know more about him. The characters don't even know he/she calls him/herself Votary.

Some cops like the assist, others hate the interference.

Claire, the reporter, just wants to get a promotion for the scoop of the century.

Votary is a mystery. The reader not getting his/her identity up front is important to convey. I wanted to prove that it isn't always easy to determine a secret identity when you don't have the benefit of hindsight. Maybe all it takes are glasses and a new haircut?

Ultimately, the city is the main focus. What was once a quaint place to live suffers due to superhero action. No law-abiding citizen with the means to move would live in Gotham or Metropolis. This series shows why.

I love a lot of the suggestions that have already been listed. I'll work on adjusting this weekend. Thanks again.


message 10: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments Dwayne wrote: "Claire Kennedy immediately put me in mind of Clark Kent. Not sure if that was intentional. i>

Absolutely, it was intentional! You're the first person to recognize that without me pointing it out first. Another reporter is Lou Drive. In a later book, I have a super-powered person who can turn into black smoke that has uncontrollable demons living inside it that attack without provocation. His name is Dante Devine, code named Xibalba. I love hinting at pop culture.



message 11: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments Frank wrote: "And I've just realised you're keeping Votary's identity secret - so is it Claire Kennedy's story, and how does it affect her directly?
(My apologies for the spew of comments!)"


It's an ensemble cast, but Claire is one of the big four characters. I figured the mystery of picking apart clues of Votary's identity would be an element to help me stand apart. I cant' think of an example that did this with a hero except the four-issue Wild Dog series by DC.


message 12: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments Frank wrote: "So a whodunnit with a superhero instead of a murderer? Are the four principals tied together and known to each other, with each speculating on the other?"

Frank, that's an excellent way of describing it. The characters in my book are all suspects for Votary's identity. His/her armor disguises gender and modulates the voice.

The major characters do move in and out of each others lives. There are connections for each of the groups, but nobody knows every single character. Therefore, many have their own name for Votary (e.g. Beatdown, Brutal, Night Terror).


message 13: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments M.L. wrote: "To the city of Colburton, he is a vigilante. They call him Votary. He kills, he maims, and all in the name of justice. Thugs want him dead, his fans idolize him, and the under-manned police force needs his help. No one understands this better than Claire Kennedy an ambitious social-climbing news reporter who would reveal his identity to further her career. Votary does not intend to let that happen. He'll mete out punishment in his own way, and she will not stop him."

This is great. I do want to highlight the mystery within the book of determining Votary's identity.


message 14: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4334 comments Mod
Summer wrote: "Cut the word count by half."

Strongly disagree. If anything, it could be a little longer.


message 15: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments I love M.L.'s version... (sorry I had to skip the rest of the posts for now so maybe it doesn't fit your need.)

What I have noticed in your blurb at first glance is that it feels like you are telling me everything that is/will happen without leaving me much to discover. I realize you aren't but this sentence might be the culprit:

They include the police officers, paramedics, surgeons, criminal bosses, and teenaged fans of Votary.

Let the readers discover that as they read along.


message 16: by Phillip (last edited Dec 01, 2018 07:36AM) (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments Thank you for the suggestions. Here's my second take on the blurb. Candid comments are welcomed.

Votary is a mysterious "hero" protecting the city of Colberton. Nobody knows who he or she is; they don't even know the moniker "Votary." Instead, the citizens know Votary through many titles.

To ambitious reporter, Claire Kennedy, First Line is her ticket to climbing the corporate ladder at Data to Information News. She wants her own show and will risk her life to land the interview of a lifetime. If she can't, she's perfectly comfortable with exaggerating the "facts" as she finds them in her investigation.

Claire isn't the only one searching for clues to Votary's identity. Detective Benji Tanner drew the short straw to investigate a vigilante that not all cops think is a menace. Benji has his own theory on the vigilante's identity. It involves a government solution to cleaning up street crime.

Julie Tress is the number two in The Enterprise, the world's premiere criminal organization. The Opposition, who impacts her profit margins, has become the primary focus of her boss. Julie knows facing The Opposition is a foolish mission. Perhaps changes are in order?

Keith Douglas-Sanders wants to change his life, too. The teen fantasizes about his hero, Beatdown. Along with his friend, he sees Beatdown as a way to gain fame on the internet. Beatdown is a hero; Keith will be his "man in a chair."

Any of the residents in Colberton could be Votary's secret identity. Many are trying to prove it, but Votary uses more than glasses and a haircut for a disguise. The clues are there, if you look.


message 17: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments Thanks guys! Appreciate it! I like doing blurbs. :)

Hi Phillip, the new version is kind of confusing to me in that he's called Votary but no one calls him that. Adding to that are the different names he is known by. If I understand correctly, it's an ensemble, but I would still suggest staying with one or maybe two characters. As G.G. said the reader can discover the others. I would also suggest leaving out the last part about 'the clues are there if you look.' It makes it sound like a game instead of a book.


message 18: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments Just a follow up on limiting the blurb description to one or two people. Each character wants something so you could choose the character whose need is greatest, who has the most to lose (life or death) if he/she doesn't get what they want.


message 19: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments I did think the last take was a bit wordy. Here's my next possibility:

"Intrepid reporters end up dead."

That's what Claire Kennedy's boss told her. Claire doesn't care. She's willing to risk her life to land an interview with her city's superhero. The mysterious vigilante is a demolition force against the criminal empire inside Colberton. He won't identify himself to the public, so Claire will assign him a name herself. She's willing to create other "facts" as necessary, anything to get a promotion at Data to Information News.

The hero, Votary, cares not for her goals. Nor does Votary worry about the actions of the police or criminals. The city must be protected from itself and outside threats. Votary is the only person capable of this, though the methods used will lead to death and trauma for many citizens of Colberton. Most will debate the methods of this crusader. Some support Votary, others fear the vigilante, but none will know the person beneath the armor, despite trying.


message 20: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments I like it. It hones in on the two characters, their conflict, and impels the reader forward. Nice.


message 21: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4334 comments Mod
Yes! This one is intriguing!


message 22: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments It is! That's a great idea to lead off with Claire. Her character feels totally different from the first version.


message 23: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments I love it... makes me feel like reading it... However, (yes with me there is always one) you are using 'she's willing' twice in the short blurb. I don't think the second one is necessary. (You can surely rephrase it differently for people like me who get stuck on repetition. :P )


message 24: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments Thanks for all the comments. It sounds like this last one is the winner. I've changed it to reflect, hopefully that will lead to more clicks and purchases. It does seem like the change has already impacted my Kindle Unlimited page count (over 500 pages read the day after changing).


message 25: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 397 comments One last update, I want to thank everyone for the advice provided. I've only had my new blurb active a few days and can already report three new sales. That may not sound like much, but usually three in a month is a good month. Three in a week (two in the same day) is very positive improvement. Thanks again.


message 26: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Congrats, Phillip!


message 27: by Nilendra (new)

Nilendra Fonseka | 9 comments Phillip wrote: "Hello, fellow authors. I waited until I finished my series to start advertising. Now, I'm getting a low click through rate and wonder if a better blurb could change that. Hopefully your collective ..."

Hi Philip, the story sounds great!

My only concern is that the blurb comes across as giving away too much information, and reads more like a summary rather than to build suspense or the reader.

Personally, I love blurbs that identify the hero straight away (which you have done with Claire), what their mission/goal is (which you have identified with Claire's ambition), and what stands in their way to achieving this - I feel with this last part you have over explained:


"Her investigation will quickly reveal that real-life vigilantes do not reside in the fantasy worlds that comics and movies allude to. Death and trauma affect not just Claire, but the other residents of Colberton. They include the police officers, paramedics, surgeons, criminal bosses, and teenaged fans of Votary. All of them will experience the lasting effects associated with over-the-top battles in the back alleys and residential streets. During it all, Votary will keep his identity a secret, even from the audience."

If you kind find a way to condense this to a sentence, which is perhaps open ended, it may prompt the reader to want to ready to find out more.


As a side note - after reading through some of the comments, I found out that the story will be told through multiple characters eyes, and that perhaps one of these characters is the vigilante, is that correct? If so, then one of the key hooks to the story is that the ready is involved in trying to figure out who it may be, but this point doesn't come across in the blurb?

Anyway, that's my 2 cents, I hope it helps. All the best with Claire and Co.!


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