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Billy Bob Buttons

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BLURBS, A Marketing Tool
by Billy Bob Buttons   
Rated "R" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, November 21, 2011
Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011

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A few pointers on writing blurbs.

Over the next two months, up until my new YA book, TOR Assassin Hunter, is in the shops, I will be writing a blog describing how I transform my 45,000 words into a hardback book. This is my seventh independently published book so I pretty much know the hoops I must jump through. I’m hoping this blog will help authors contemplating the self-publishing route to know what they must face if they wish their book to be a success.
Today, I thought I’d discuss blurbs a bit. You know, the bit on the back of the book. I’m also the organiser of The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards so I spent a lot of my time reading self published author’s blurbs, and, frankly, I think this is where many authors destroy any chance of a potential reader buying their book.
When I write a blurb, I think it helps to keep two things in mind. Firstly, who do I want to read my book? And secondly, how will I persuade that person to buy my book? Many self-publshers make the simple mistake of thinking a blurb is there just to tell the reader what the book is about. Wrong! Well, sort of wrong. Yes, it can do that, but, most importantly, it is a marketing tool.
Take the blurb for my book, Felicity Brady and the Wizard’s Bookshop. Initially, the blurb was simply a summary of the plot. It did not sell well! Then I thought, who do I want to read my book? Young adults. And how can I persuade them to read it? A little intrigue; a blurb which just tickles the taste buds. The result was this:

‘The Wishing Shelf is not just a magic bookhop, it is not just the doorway to hundreds of magical lands, it is, most importantly, the prison to the most powerful and dangerous book ever penned.’
Galibrath Falafel, Wizard.

As a result, the sales of this book rocketed!
Another clever way of marketing your book is to put an extract from the story on the back cover. I don’t know about you, but when I pick a book of a shelf, I thumb through it and perhaps read a paragraph or two. I will then decide if I wish to buy it or not. Now, if you put an extract from your book on the back cover, you can direct your ‘would be’ reader to a part of the book you think is particularly exciting and well-written.
With Tor Assassin Hunter, as the book is a hardback and subsequently has a dustjacket, I can put an extract on the back and a blurb on the inner front flap, and, here it is:

The year is 1870. Major Tor, a mercenary and deadly sniper, is called from battle and ordered to stop Locust, a SWARM assassin who is planning to murder the King of Sweden.
From the rubble and watery craters of France to the shadowy corridors and tunnels of Stockholm’s old castle, Tor must discover who the assassin is and stop his, or her plan to throw a country into a barbaric and bloody war.
Accompany him if you dare into a world of bayonets and bullets, where the enemy’s sword is forever chasing his shadow.
But remember this, when you hunt assassins…
…trust nobody.
Billy Bob Buttons spine a chilling tale of betrayal and trickery.
‘So many twists, I felt dizzy.’ Bookworm

I guess the most important part of writing a blurb is this. Don’t rush it. You spent months, years, writing your baby. Why throw it away with a crap blurb. Spend a week on it, two weeks. Then put it away and go back to it later. Ask you family what they think and ask for feedback from anybody who you think may enjoy your book.
Anyway, I hope this helps. Next week I will be looking at cover design, a part of self publshing I particularly enjoy.

Billy Bob Buttons is the author of the much-loved ‘Felicity Brady and the Wizard’s Bookshop’ and ‘The Gullfoss Legends’. His new YA book, TOR Assassin Hunter, will be in the shops this February. The ebook of TOR Assassin Hunter wil be on Amazon on 20th February at the introductory price of only 0.99 cents.

Web Site: Billy Bob Buttons

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