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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Blurb for Amazon page

Say “hello” to the recently deceased Michael Greyson, a good man, a likable man. He lived a moderately long and honorable life: solid marriage, career in education, two children and a handful of grandchildren. Mike woke up confused the day after he died, assuming only that he had been moved to a different hospital room. Over the next few days, he slowly accepted the reality of his new home, but not his place in it.


Mike left religion completely in his forties. God didn’t exist. Heaven didn’t exist. There was nothing after death. Being in heaven was a mistake or a cruel joke by a vengeful god.


My First Ten Days in Heaven is a thoughtful, feel-good story of death and dying, departing from others and facing the major decisions of life and the afterlife.


message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 544 comments Well you have me hooked already.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Thank you Anna--music to my ears. I looked at your Goodreads page; you know your stuff.


message 4: by Haru (last edited Dec 08, 2018 09:20AM) (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments I dunno--what genre is this supposed to be? As a paranormal writer, the "I didn't know I was dead" is something I've read a million times already. The two first sentences got me napping. Why are you telling us his moderate, everyday exploits? I am not impressed. Just call him "your everyday man" and saves all that description. Why don't you concentrate more on the what Heaven is like part? I am guessing that's the part meant to hook readers.

I am a total rookie when it comes to blurbs, but learning from what the pros in this site have been teaching me, I'd say it'd look better if you placed the second paragraph after "grandchildren".

Take all this with a pinch of salt; I am learning as much as you are. Hopefully you'll get more opinions later.


message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Thanks for your thoughts Haru. The genre is literary fiction, chosen because I wanted to explore morality, self-determination, religion and life as its own reward. The focus is not heaven, but individual choice.

The challenge for the blurb is to attract readers who enjoy pondering meaning of life questions and atheists or agnostics looking for an entertaining story from their perspective.

Is heaven the only reward or even necessary reward for living a moral life? This question is why I describe Mike in detail. His choice is the story. This is the intended hook: “Over the next few days, he slowly accepted the reality of his new home, but not his place in it.” Who would reject heaven?

Blurbs are crazy-making. Whoever can write great blurbs could make a fortune.


message 6: by L.K. (new)

L.K. Chapman | 150 comments I think the blurb works well for a literary fiction book. I really enjoyed the phrase "He lived a moderately long and honorable life". I can't really see anything in this blurb that I would change.

From a purely personal perspective, I felt really intrigued and interested in the book from reading paragraph one, then much less so as I read the second paragraph, as I don't really have much interest in religion. I think I am probably not your target audience, though! For readers who are interested in meaning of life questions, I'm sure this blurb will work well, and I think it is well written :)


message 7: by L.K. (new)

L.K. Chapman | 150 comments Taking a second look, Haru's suggestion to place the second paragraph after the word, "grandchildren", would make things slightly clearer I think. Then perhaps have the end of the first paragraph in a new paragraph after that, maybe slightly reworded. I think that might perhaps flow a little better.


message 8: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments I had to laugh at the "Who would reject Heaven?" question--my first novel is about a character that indeed rejects Heaven and wants to keep living as a human. Who knows what Heaven is like, anyway?

Personally, I would try adding a variation of "Is heaven the only reward or even necessary reward for living a moral life?" and "His choice is the story" somewhere in the blurb--I think it sounds stronger. I would also cut down on his description and elaborate a little more on his feelings about "not his place in it". The problem I feel here is that you spent a lot of time describing him and put too little emphasis in your intended hook.
But this is not my genre and the opposite opinion outnumbers me, so I don't know XD

You tell me! I find it easier to write novels than novels' blurbs!


message 9: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Thanks to you all. Here is the new effort.

Say “hello” to the recently deceased Michael Greyson, a good man, a likable man. He lived a moderately long and honorable life: solid marriage, career in education, two children and a handful of grandchildren. And he just arrived in Heaven.

Problem is, Mike left religion completely in his forties. God didn’t exist. Heaven didn’t exist. There was nothing after death. Being in heaven was a mistake or a cruel joke by a vengeful god.

Over the next few days, Mike gradually accepts the reality of his new home, but not his place in it. For Mike, life was its own reward. Death should be the end of all possibilities.

My First Ten Days in Heaven is a thoughtful, feel-good story of death and dying, departing from others and facing the major decisions of life and the afterlife.


message 10: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments I think this is much better! Flows nicely. Far more balanced. Now it is much clearer which the conflict is.


message 11: by L.K. (new)

L.K. Chapman | 150 comments I like it :)


message 12: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Robert, I had to delete your last comment. I know you're being generous, but it crosses the line into self-promotion. We're here to help and you don't need to repay us. Thanks.

That said, I took a look at your second version of your blurb.

Say “hello” to the recently deceased Michael Greyson, a good man, a likable man. He lived a moderately long and honorable life: solid marriage, career in education, two children and a handful of grandchildren. And he just arrived in Heaven.

First paragraph feels dated. I can't help but read it in the voice of a narrator from a 1950's educational film. Now, don't take that as an insult. It isn't meant to be. It's actually has a charm to it. It could appeal to people like me who either feel ahead of our time or behind it and never in it. Not sure how it will resonate with modern thinking people. It is a tad lengthy, though.

Problem is, Mike left religion completely in his forties. God didn’t exist. Heaven didn’t exist. There was nothing after death. Being in heaven was a mistake or a cruel joke by a vengeful god.

I'm hooked at this point.

Over the next few days, Mike gradually accepts the reality of his new home, but not his place in it. For Mike, life was its own reward. Death should be the end of all possibilities.

A tad vague. Maybe trim some off the first paragraph and expand this one a little. What is "his place" in this new home?

My First Ten Days in Heaven is a thoughtful, feel-good story of death and dying, departing from others and facing the major decisions of life and the afterlife.

Redundant. I got all that from the rest of the blurb. I'd lose this part.


message 13: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments New improved version

WHO WOULD TURN DOWN HEAVEN?

Say “hello” to the recently deceased Michael Greyson, a good man, a likable man. He lived a moderately long and honorable life, and he just arrived in Heaven.

Problem is Mike dumped religion completely in his forties. God didn’t exist. Heaven didn’t exist. There was nothing after death. Being in heaven was a mistake or a cruel joke by a mean-spirited god.

For Mike, life was its own reward. Death should be the end. Heaven didn’t feel right.

My First Ten Days in Heaven is a thoughtful, feel-good story of the joys and sorrows of living and is in the same tone as A Man called Ove and The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.



message 14: by Kay (new)

Kay (kay_spencer) | 10 comments I kind of like the idea of getting straight to the point - your hook - in the first sentence or paragraph. i.e. Say hello to the recently deceased MG, an atheist who dumped religion in his forties and who has just arrived in heaven.


message 15: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Kay, thank you for your thoughts. As you know, it's almost always better to cut and your advice is good. Here's why I'm not going to follow it. I've researched the blurbs of many similar books, the best sellers and followed their format. With a character driven plot, it seems the blurbs take the time to define an engaging character, then add the conflict. I feel better with a paragraph for each.

If you looked at the first version, you would have seen how much I overdid character description. Now I think it is a good balance.

By the way, it wasn't easy not to follow your advice. I looked at your garden novel on amazon, nicely done.


message 16: by Kay (new)

Kay (kay_spencer) | 10 comments Hi Robert - I understand, and I did read through the entire thread before commenting - I like variations of each version! Either way, your hook is there in the first pp, well done. Blurbs are indeed crazy-making. I labored over my own 250-word blurb, and still wonder if it captures what I really want it to say. Thank you for the compliment.

I did not include a book-comparison (i.e. cross between this and thus) in my short (250-word) blurb. Is that customary? To note - I did include it in my query letter....Kay


message 17: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Kay, I have become an expert blurb reader the past week or so. And became a bit better at writing them from a visit to Reedsy and their thoughts on blurbs. I learned from them WHAT should be in a blurb and then researched HOW others did it. Many fiction blurbs did include mention of other books. I included two to help define my book as not religious without actually saying so. I'm now in the process of updating another ten or so.

The challenge is figuring what a potential reader has to know about our books to make the right decision--we have to make that easy for them. I think the trick is that the blurb is less about the book and more about the reader.
Bob


message 18: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments In "WHO WOULD TURN DOWN HEAVEN?" you've successfully joined two major pet peeves of a large amount of people: all-caps and rhethoric question.
And a few people, like me, can answer that question with a confident "I would". Let me qualify my opinion again:
I offer you a pizza. Warm, delicious pizza. Do you eat it? Most people would say yes. What if I now tell you that pizza actually had--Understand what I mean?


message 19: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Nope.

The all caps is the bold headline a double-space above the text. I think it works fine on the amazon book page to attract attention to the blurb which is mostly hidden.

As to pizza, too subtle for me. Explain?


message 20: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "As to pizza, too subtle for me. Explain?"

That kinda lost me, too.


message 21: by Haru (last edited Dec 12, 2018 06:38PM) (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments I offer you a pizza. Warm, delicious pizza. Do you eat it? Most people would say yes. What if I now tell you that pizza actually had... something that might kill you in a month. Or something that I might have picked from your trash. Or something that might have unknown effects on your health. How can you know before eating?

I offer you Heaven. Wonderful, imposible to reject Heaven. You accept it? Most people would say yes. What if I now tell you that Heaven actually is not that good? Or is the same as Earth. Or is an extremely boring place where everyone just plays harp and loiters over clouds. Or it welcomes everyone including criminals. Or it is actually a corrupt place where you have to do bad things in order to keep your "nirvana". How can you know before dying?


message 22: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Beautiful, I like your style...but, (I rebut) those that believe know heaven is God's gift and it will be beyond compare. Those that don't, won't. My poor main character didn't believe but in the book saw the real thing. Try turning down a pizza better than you had ever imagined.


message 23: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Yeah... you're free to have your own thoughts on Heaven. For this discussion, let's stick to Robert's interpretation. Doing otherwise skirts a bit close to the no religious discussion rule.


message 24: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments I think Haru is presenting the person's mental state--this is where all the action is for character-driven fiction and is a delightful discussion.


message 25: by Jay (last edited Dec 13, 2018 10:25AM) (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 244 comments Offering warm delicious pizza is a general concept, and anyone who likes some form of pizza would agree that it sounds good. But if you say, "Have some mushroom pizza," the answer might range from "hell yes," to "yuck," That's what I think was meant.


message 26: by Frances (new)

Frances Fletcher | 46 comments How about:

Michael Greyson, a good man, a likable man, lived a long and honorable life: solid marriage, career in education, children and grandchildren.

He woke up confused the moment he died, assuming only that he had been moved to a different hospital room. He slowly accepted the reality of his new home, but not his place in it.

God didn’t exist. Heaven didn’t exist. There was nothing after death. Being in heaven was a mistake or a cruel joke.


message 27: by Robert (new)

Robert Brown | 57 comments Thanks for your input Frances. I especially like "He woke up confused the moment he died."


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