If a novella is one-sixth the size of the novel, should the novella’s blurb be one-sixth the size of the novel’s blurb?  I’m thinking that is not a proportional relationship.  Else my novella’s blurb would be about two sentences.

So, blurb-writing.  I spend more time per word on the blurb than I do on any other piece of the novel (except, perhaps, the title).  The blurb is often listed as the second thing readers consider when buying a book (yes, the cover is first; the proverb has changed nothing).  A book’s first few pages are next importance, but we first have to get the reader past the blurb.

The blurb for my first novel has been through many iterations.  Here’s one of the earliest.

Prince Symon can turn his arms into swords.  Every royal can, even his best friend, Lana.  Great, except for the assassins (what good are swords against archers?).  And except for over-protective parents (aren’t six personal guards about six too many?).  And except for a kingdom on the brink of calamity (will blade shifters and animal shifters ever be at peace?).  This is not even to mention Claur, a mysterious foreigner who is determined to take over the kingdom of Arton and brainwash or eliminate everyone in his way.  If Symon and Lana can survive bandits, slavers, kidnappers, spies, and ball guests, they still have to face Claur, who is at the center of Symon’s prophetic nightmare and the tragedy it foretells.

It’s not too bad.  Despite being all one paragraph, it has parentheses as breaks to allow the eyes to rest.  It needs to mention Symon’s age, however, and the tone of the blurb is too quirky; it doesn’t match my novel-writing style.  It’s also not focused enough.

Here’s the newest, shortest version.

A Prince who can shift his arms into swords, a tutor who can shift his arms into wings, and a madman who wants to kill them both.
Like all royals, thirteen-year-old Prince Symon is a living weapon. For generations, blade shifters have ruled commoners and animal shifters without trouble. Until now.

It does the job without extra words.  It’s like a teaser.  It’s longer than a tagline (That’s the “A Prince who . . . ” line), but this is shorter than a normal blurb.  Somehow it’d be neat to use the tagline to pull people into this, which hooks readers into reading the whole blurb, and that hooks readers into reading the first page, and that hooks readers into reading the first chapter, and etcetera.

Did you realize how many hooks authors weave into our stories?

Now, I’m working on the novella’s blurb.  This should describe the story between books 2 and 3 of the Royal Deception trilogy.  How do I put it?  I have a very rough version, but it doesn’t feel right.

An outlaw Prince.  An undercover Princess.

Do any other blade shifters fight for freedom?  Both Symon and Lana assume they are alone.  In opposite corners of Barido, they are far from home.  One tries to save animal shifters from slavery, and one from execution.  Some rescues are not as simple as they first appear, and neither royal is ready to be


It feels sloppy, though catchy.  Short, certainly.  I do want to use this line, however.

Neither fit in.  Both think they’re alone.

And, perhaps:

Both think they can escape unnoticed.  They’re wrong.

Eh, it needs more work.  I’ve made one pass by the roommate already.  Next, I’ll throw the ideas in front of the writers’ groups.  I might ask a couple coworkers, too.  Lastly, I’ll have my little brother help me with the final version of the blurb.

Update April 30th.  It now looks like this.

An outlaw Prince.  An undercover Princess.

Both Symon and Lana feel alone.  He thinks no one else notices the enslaved.  She thinks no one cares about the imprisoned.  Traveling far from home, they break the law to protect the weak.

Both stand out.  Symon fears he will never belong with anyone again, let alone the animal shifters he wants to call friends.  Lana knows she will never fit in at court, especially if the other royals find out she is behind the prisoner escapes.

Both have secrets.  Both will risk everything.

To blurb again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *