Attack of the Back Cover Blob

Another Friday is upon us! Yay! Casey here. Just a reminder, it’s still not too late to enter my Goodreads Giveaway for a paperback copy of The Undead Space Initiative (don’t wait, it ends midnight on 2/28).

IMG_1581 I don’t know about anyone else, but I find writing back cover copy to be more daunting and frustrating then writing an entire novel.

After I completed Mystic Storm and submitted it to my editor, I realized I’d never written a short blurb about the story. Normally, I write a rough draft blurb before I start a book to save time later with the query process.

But since I didn’t have to query this time – Oops – @#%#  – totally forgot. What was I thinking?

In any case, I found myself scrambling to come up with those precious few sentences that would capture a reader’s attention and make them want to read more.

My first attempt. Pathetic. And this is only a part of it. There’s more and its utter crap!

It’s not easy being the God of the West Wind, especially after the Fates administer their own unique brand of punishment. Now, Zephyr must live a dual existence until he figures out how to break the curse. As if his life isn’t complicated enough, a Muse, Kalliope Parthenos arrives on his doorstep searching for her missing brother Niko. Inquisitive and damn sexy, she is one temptation he can’t afford to indulge. Not while he’s under a curse and forced to lie every step of the way.

Kalli’s been watching out for her irresponsible brother for as long as she can remember. Used to rescuing him various scrapes, this time he’s angered a witch and been transformed into a pig. If they fail to save him, he’s destined for the dinner plate and Zephyr may end up cursed for eternity.  

Bleck. I don’t like it. It doesn’t really scream romance and seems to be all about Niko. Plus it gives away a major plot point that doesn’t need to be stated yet (shh, don’tIMG_1594 tell anyone).

So I went back to the drawing board and asked myself the following questions.

1. Who is the hero? And who is the heroine?

2. What do they want when the story begins? Or what is their problem? Notice, not what they ultimately achieve or end up wanting later in the story.

3. What are their initial barriers? Or what do they have to lose?

I focused on what is happening in the first chapter or two because the idea is to entice the reader to want to read more. Not to give away the whole story. Kind of like a query letter. In fact, most of the time, I use the query letter as the back cover copy (minus all the “business” bits).

So what did I end up with?

The Fates haven’t been kind to Zephyr, God of the West Wind. After interfering in a Hero’s Journey, they’ve cursed him. Yeah, he probably deserved it. But come on, did he really have to spend his daylight hours trapped in the body of a woman? And did they have to take away his power over the West Wind too?

As if his life isn’t complicated enough, a Muse, the supernatural equivalent of a tabloid journalist, appears on his doorstep. So what if she’s irresistible, whip smart and probably the only female on the planet who doesn’t find him charming, he has dangerous secrets that he will do anything to protect.

Kalliope is a Muse on a mission: Find her wayward brother, Niko, and bring him home before the other Muses discover her mission. By leaving their island sanctuary, she’s broken the “rules”, but she’ll risk banishment to save him from yet another ill-fated scheme. She’ll even accept help from Zephyr, the immortal world’s most undeniably gorgeous and notorious rake.

Granted, this still needs streamlining and the approval of my editor, but it’s better than what I had before – nothing!

How do you write your back cover blurbs? And what tips or tricks do you have to share about your process?IMG_1622

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14 thoughts on “Attack of the Back Cover Blob”

  1. Casey, I am no expert, but always studying. The following is for an analysis of a book. But why not use the concept for your writings: In an article on reorganizing drafts, it was suggested to do reverse outlining, to make sure your work delivers on its promising thesis. the aim is to create an outline of what you’ve already written, as opposed to the kind of outline that you make before you begin to write. The reverse outline will help you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both your organization and your argument. You will be able to see how your ideas are arranged, look for gaps in your reasoning, identify unnecessary repetition, check whether you are answering all parts of the assignment prompt, identify places that need transitions, and tell whether you are presenting ideas in a logical order.
    http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/reorganizing-drafts/

  2. Back cover copy is so hard. I try to boil the story down to the log line first. If I can get to the crux of my story in one or two lines, it helps me expand it to give the GMC of the h/h for the blurb, and then it just takes tweaking to bring it to life and make it zing. I used my queries for the first couple of books, but now since I don’t have to do query letters anymore (no query and no synopsis are the BEST part of going indie), I now use the formula you used above. Email me off loop if you want me to pick apart your blurb and give some feedback. There are only a couple of small changes that would make it pop:-)

    1. It’s funny, when I ended Mysic Ink, I knew that The Fates cursed him to be stuck as a woman. But when I went to plot the story, well, it was a bit of a logistical juggle! Hopefully it works!

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