Beta Reader Group discussion

27 views
Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > My first attempt at a cover blurb - please help - Adult Contemporary Romance novel

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Hello there! I'm just finishing up my first novel to be self-published and I'm working on the cover blurb. Here is my first draft. I'm sure there's a lot wrong with it (too long, for example). I would certainly appreciate some feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Thank you!

April Barnswell



Title: It Must Be Love

Author: April Barnswell (dearmittens@outlook.com)

Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance

Word Count: approx. 130,000 words (around 500 pages)

Setting: Chicago, Illinois

First draft of cover blurb:

When Beth Jamison was a young child, she was abducted by a stranger in her own front yard. Thanks to an eyewitness’s testimony, she was rescued before her abductor seriously harmed her. But the ordeal has left a lasting impression on her and still affects her life to this day. Fresh out of graduate school, Beth is settling in to her young adult life with a new home and a new job. But she suffers from anxiety issues as a result of her traumatic past, and after years of counseling, she still has nightmares and issues with intimacy. After several failed college romances, Beth fears she’ll never be able to have a healthy relationship.

Beth doesn’t know it, but the man who kidnapped her has just been released early from prison. Beth’s older brother, Tyler Jamison, a Chicago homicide detective, has hired CEO Shane McIntyre’s security services company to provide covert bodyguards for Beth, as well as conduct covert surveillance on her kidnapper to determine if the man is still a threat to Beth. With his money and good looks, Shane McIntyre has never been short on feminine company. But he’s always been a love-em-and-leave-em kind of guy because he’s never found "the right one." When Shane meets Beth, he knows he’s finally met the one woman he’s been waiting for all his life. The attraction between them is instant and intense. Shane is determined to pursue a relationship with Beth and help her work through her issues and anxieties, even though he’s breaking every rule in the book.

Shane falls hard for Beth, and he’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep her safe and to earn her trust and love. With the financial resources he has at his disposal, Shane is more than willing to move mountains if that’s what it takes to keep Beth safe. But when Beth inadvertently finds out that Shane was hired by her brother to protect her, and that he knows far more about her past than he let on, their fledgling relationship is sorely tested. When Beth is violently attacked, Shane is there to pick up the pieces and help her put her life back together again.


message 2: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley (fiona_hurley) | 33 comments It's a good first draft, but your instincts are right: it does need to be shorter. A blurb isn't supposed to tell your story; it's supposed to intrigue the reader to want more.

There are a few places where you say pretty much the same thing, for example, these two sentences: "But the ordeal has left a lasting impression on her and still affects her life to this day.... But she suffers from anxiety issues as a result of her traumatic past, and after years of counseling, she still has nightmares and issues with intimacy."

Some pieces of information might not be required at this point. For example, do we really need to know about Beth's failed college romances? Or the fact that Shane is a "love-em-and-leave-em kind of guy"? Leave some mystery for the readers to discover when they read your book.

I'm not sure if you have the right genre. The blurb doesn't read like a "Contemporary Adult Romance", but more like a thriller with strong romantic elements. "Romantic thriller", maybe? You need to do some research about genre.

Also, 130k words seems very long for a romance or a thriller.


message 3: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Fiona, thank you so much for taking the time to read my draft cover blurb and sharing your feedback with me. Your feedback is very helpful, and I will certainly incorporate your suggestions into my rewrite.

I'm not sure what to do about the length of the novel. I realize it is on the long side... is that a problem? I'll have to look at it to see what could be cut. I do have a sequel in mind, so maybe I can shift some things around.

Thank you so much for your input. I appreciate it very much!

April


message 4: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) I revised my initial book blurb based on Fiona's excellent feedback:

2nd draft of cover blurb:

Beth Jamison had a rough start in life after surviving a childhood abduction. Now fresh out of graduate school, Beth is settling in to her young adult life with a new job. But her traumatic past still haunts her, and she suffers from anxiety and issues with intimacy. After several failed romances, Beth fears she’ll never be able to have a healthy relationship.

Beth doesn't know it, but the man who kidnapped her has just been released early from prison. Beth’s brother, Tyler, has hired CEO Shane McIntyre’s company to protect Beth. With his money and good looks, Shane McIntyre has never been short on feminine company, but he’s never found "the one." When Shane meets Beth, the attraction between them is instant and intense. Shane falls hard for Beth, and he’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep her safe and earn her trust. But when Beth learns that Shane knows more about her past than he lets on, their fledgling relationship is sorely tested. A violent attack on Beth will put both Shane and their relationship to the test.


message 5: by Heena (new)

Heena Jadavsunil | 8 comments Hello April, Congo for finishing ur book. Wish u lots of luck. I agree with Fiona' s feedback ... I still feel there is a repetition of thoughts in the first para, the last three lines. Also u are giving away the suspense to the readers by being open about the tension between the two characters. How about u pose a question? A rhetoric question. Just a thought. I hope this helps.


message 6: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Thank you, Heena. I know that being repetitious is one of my writing weaknesses. I will work harder on combating that. I'll also try to give less away. ... back to the drawing board. :)

Thanks again!!
April


message 7: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley (fiona_hurley) | 33 comments I really like the rewrite. It's to the point, and makes me interested in Beth and Shane.

Very long novels can be difficult to sell if you're an unknown writer, because potential readers are wary about giving that time commitment. Expectations depend on genre; fantasy novels are normally much longer than romance novels, for example.

It also might be a sign that you have too much "filler": unnecessary subplots or scenes, unnecessary words like "very" or "somewhat", redundant phrases like "blue in color" or "an elderly 90-year-old", etc.

If you've thoroughly edited your work and you believe that it takes 135k to tell the story, that's fine. But make sure that it does take 135k to tell the story.

You can always leave a little for the sequel!


message 8: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Wow, Fiona! Thank you (again) for the excellent feedback. You've helped me think more clearly about my book project.

I have been thinking about the length... Having just read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, a 500-page book seems like a novella to me now. ;) (I think her longest book is nearly 1500 pages, and I hated that it came to an end.)

As for my book, I think I'm just too close to it to determine if any of the scenes are filler or not. I think each scene is an important step in character and plot development. But I could easily be wrong. I'm hoping to find some beta readers soon who might be able to point out parts that could be cut. I'm not afraid of releasing a 500-page book, since I am self-publishing it electronically. (The cost of self-printing paperbacks at this page count would be almost prohibitive.) But if beta readers can point out areas that can be cut, I would be happy to do the cutting.

As for the editing, I am a professional writer/editor in my day job. After a few rounds of copyediting my own fiction, my language ends up being pretty spare - sometimes I feel that I cut too much.

There is a sequel planned, but the first major climactic arc falls at the end of the 500 pages. In order to cut significantly, I'd have to completely rework the plot to introduce an earlier climactic arc. Hopefully some beta readers can help me decide if this is necessary. As a writer, I do love character development, and that takes time to develop organically. But I also don't want to put out a book that fails because it's too long - I'll have to figure this out. (Hopefully some beta readers can tell me either "leave it at 500 pages" or "cut the darn thing down!" :)

Thank you so much, Fiona. I am very grateful to you for your valuable input.

April B.


back to top