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Old 09-27-2012, 10:48 AM   #16
fjtorres
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Originally Posted by elemenoP View Post
These blurbs are very valuable, and all authors should be forced to write their own blurbs. No editors allowed. If you can't put together one good paragraph, then I know I don't need to read the book!

eP
The problem is blurb writing is a specialized *marketting* skill, as opposed to long form *narrative* skill. It is closer to writing jingles and catch-phrases than novel-writing. (Now summaries and "back-cover" material is a different, ahem, story.

Check this:
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7385

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Openings of stories and novels tend to get better after a million words of writing practice (with focus). But only after the writer starts understanding how to relay character and setting. Covers tend to get better after a few dozen covers as long as the indie publisher is paying a lot of attention to learning cover design and font layout and blurb use. But I have watched really, really talented storytellers produce dull and off-putting blurbs that actually turn buyers away from their wonderful novels.
Blurb-writing is about as indicative of a writer's ability to spin a tale as their ability to draw a cover. Some might be able to do it naturally, some would need a *lot* of practice, and some will likely never master it.

That those blurbs are as bad as they are is a clear indication that the authors never gave it much thought beforehand, much less actually did it before filling out the metadata page at Smashwords.
Inexperienced, yes; bad writers? Not necessarily.

Last edited by fjtorres; 09-27-2012 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:24 PM   #17
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There are some awesome self-published works. There are a lot more tolerable self-pub works that are great if they hit your buttons exactly--and that's much more likely with self-pub than through the mainstream. But they are exceptions; you have to like crawling the slushpile to find them. (I love crawling the slushpile; it's endless entertainment.)

You can look around for recs of self-pub works, especially for new works by traditionally-published authors, whose writing skills are well-developed, and who've decided to skip giving an 80% cut to someone else for the life of the book. While some authors flounder when you remove corporate editorial control, others flourish without the restrictions, and write better stories that way.

BookViewCafe is self-published authors--most of the books are formerly-mainstream published where the author has reclaimed the rights; I think some are newer ones, like sequels that the mainstream publisher wouldn't take because the first one didn't sell well enough.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
That those blurbs are as bad as they are is a clear indication that the authors never gave it much thought beforehand, much less actually did it before filling out the metadata page at Smashwords.
Inexperienced, yes; bad writers? Not necessarily.
"Viscous murders" is not a mark of inexperience with marketing copy.

I read plenty of dull or vague blurbs, that I considered just a sign of "author doesn't know how to pitch her book." But there's also a whole lot that indicate lack of basic writing skills.

I'm willing to take a chance on a book with a boring blurb, or one that's obviously pointing at what the author thinks is the important concept, rather than the one that's likely to entice readers. But if they don't know where commas belong in the blurb, I'm not trusting that they'll suddenly learn when it's character dialogue.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
"Viscous murders" is not a mark of inexperience with marketing copy.

I read plenty of dull or vague blurbs, that I considered just a sign of "author doesn't know how to pitch her book." But there's also a whole lot that indicate lack of basic writing skills.

I'm willing to take a chance on a book with a boring blurb, or one that's obviously pointing at what the author thinks is the important concept, rather than the one that's likely to entice readers. But if they don't know where commas belong in the blurb, I'm not trusting that they'll suddenly learn when it's character dialogue.
I don't doubt that some (even a lot of) bad blurbs are indeed indicators of bad ebooks.
But I'd be leery of making a universal statement out of it simply because, as you say, there is bad and then there is *bad*. The odd typo or poorly conceived blurb isn't quite in the same league as some of the howlers you found.

(I'm particularly amused by the Shatner-esque one myself.)
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
The problem is blurb writing is a specialized *marketting* skill, as opposed to long form *narrative* skill. It is closer to writing jingles and catch-phrases than novel-writing. (Now summaries and "back-cover" material is a different, ahem, story.

Check this:
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7385

Blurb-writing is about as indicative of a writer's ability to spin a tale as their ability to draw a cover. Some might be able to do it naturally, some would need a *lot* of practice, and some will likely never master it.

That those blurbs are as bad as they are is a clear indication that the authors never gave it much thought beforehand, much less actually did it before filling out the metadata page at Smashwords.
Inexperienced, yes; bad writers? Not necessarily.
Yes, it's true that writing a good blurb is a somewhat specialized skill, but the OP's examples for the most part show a lack of basic writing ability.

I would make far more allowances for bad cover art than I would for an ungrammatical, nearly nonsensical blurb. And if the author can't give attention to polishing the 75 or so words of a blurb to make it minimally comprehensible, why on earth would anyone think that he or she lovingly polished the 75,000 words of the book?
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