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Archived > Blurb Help - Fantasy - Mages Unbound

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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura Engelhardt | 73 comments Any feedback on this blurb?

There’s an irony in discovering your whole life has been a lie when you’re married to a truth-teller.

If only Mary could find some humor in it. But when her little sister, Cordelia, shows up on her doorstep, she finally feels ready to sift through the fiction that’s been her life for the past fifty years, and find out what it means to live in a world of magick.


Her epiphany can’t come too soon, because not only do her siblings need her, Mary’s restart may be the only thing that can save the world from an utter melt-down (and not just the emotional kind).


While Mary and Cordelia grapple with faeries and the FBI in America, their brother Thomas is trapped in a high-stakes game of mage politics in Australia. Back in Boston, Amy can’t even see through the fog of magick to button up her own blouse.

Can Mary pull herself together in time to rescue her family from the coming war?


Mages Unbound is a 400-page paranormal women’s fiction novel told from each member of the Bant family who are all over forty. This is Book 2 in the Fifth Mage War Series, a magical epic about sirens, fae, and family ties.


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 344 comments First sentence is very good - keep it. However, the whole is far too long and the three paragraphs that follow should, in my view, be reduced to two sentences and I think it is important to capture the essence of the book. I can't make suggestions because I fear what you have written isn't really what is needed - it doesn't join, so I suspect it is peripheral. The second bold sentence could be good, and the last section should be reduced to something like "Mages Unbound is a 400-page paranormal women’s fiction novel and is Book 2 in the Fifth Mage War Series."


message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura Engelhardt | 73 comments Ian wrote: "First sentence
Thanks so much for taking a look. Just to be sure I understand -- do you mean that a blurb should be under 100 words? I'd been told to shoot for 150-200. Are there any books with model descriptions you'd recommend I look at?


message 4: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 344 comments Hi Laura,
As for the number of words, my answer is, just the right number, no more, no less. It depends what you want to say. My biggest criticism was that as a reader, it looked like apart from the fact that you mention magick, much of that in the non-bold paras really don't tell me much. You mention "save the world from an utter melt-down " but to me that is meaningless. I would suggest you mention what might cause this melt-down (the problem, the adversary) and some hint as to why Mary might be critical. Whether Amy can button her blouse is not very important to me in a blurb. So my advice is to give a clue as to what the problem is, and why Mary is needed, and in a way that shows her previous life will not contribute so as to make the most of that excellent hook of a first sentence. What I fear you have done is really hooked the reader, then let her go with bits that do not seem that important..


message 5: by Laura (new)

Laura Engelhardt | 73 comments Thanks Ian. I think I understand your feedback now.


message 6: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 896 comments The rule of thumb for a blurb is 100 to 125 words so it fits nicely on the back of a book. The book description may be longer but remember you are trying to get the readers attention and have them either read the first few pages or buy the book.

The format for a blurb is to introduce the main character and the antagonist and what the conflict is. Keep it simple. Because the reader doesn't know your characters, keep it to the two main characters. If you have a log line or premise statement, work from that.

Writing a blurb is difficult. You are drilling down your story into a a paragraph or two, but you are only giving the main conflict with a touch of the world the characters inhabit. The trick is to make it so that the reader wants to find out what happens.

Find the book the Martian and read the blurb for that book. It is short, sweet, and pulls you in. So....look for the hook, then reel the reader in in another sentence or two,


message 7: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 244 comments The problem you face, what every writer faces, is that knowing the whole story, backstory, and more, you’re going to have the context and intent that you alone possess causing you to leave out what you see as obvious, then fill it in as you read to edit—which is why we need to write from our chair but edit from that of the reader.

• There’s an irony in discovering your whole life has been a lie when you’re married to a truth-teller.

Not a bad first line. But…only you know what a truth-teller is, in what way her life has been “a lie,” where we are in time and space, or anything meaningful. So while you go on reading with full context, the reader goes on expecting you to provide that context.

• If only Mary could find some humor in it.

Humor in what? Living a lie of some unknown kind? Being married to a “truth-teller…whatever that is? No way to tell. As a by-the-way, one of the final checks I do on a manuscript is check every occurrence of certain words that may not be necessary, or might gave antecedent confusion, like “was, that, and it.”

• But when her little sister, Cordelia, shows up on her doorstep, she finally feels ready to sift through the fiction that’s been her life for the past fifty years, and find out what it means to live in a world of magick.

I give up. Does she discover that her life is a lie before or as a result of that arrival? Why does a visitor, with whom she has an unknown level of relationship trigger this? Why does she just "show up? And why is it a surprise? How can she have lived in a world of “magick” for fifty years and not know that? And, how is “magick and magic different?

You know all that. Mary knows. Her sister knows, and presumably, the husband knows. But shouldn’t the one you wrote this for know?


message 8: by Laura (new)

Laura Engelhardt | 73 comments Very helpful! Thanks so much for picking it apart for me. I'm keeping the tagline without backstory because this is book 2, after all. I think it'll be intriguing enough to hook new readers in my target audience & readers of book 1 should know what I'm referring to.

But great points in terms of honing in on the story. Multiple POV sweeping tales can be challenging to crystalize in a blurb -- the GOT descriptions are practically unintelligible to the uninitiated ...

With your feedback, I've trimmed it down (could still use some trimming ... but good enough for the pre-order). I've also focused it & eliminated gratuitous names. Thank you SO MUCH for taking a look.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 344 comments In my opinion, with multiple PoV tales, emphasise one, and only mention the others if they introduce something so critical you need to. Remember, a blurb is NOT a summary; it is an advertising enticement that has to be sufficiently justified by the content that the purchaser does not feel fooled. Having more in the book is not a problem; misleading the purchaser is.


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