Blurbs

I'm not sure where I read it, but somewhere along the lines someone told me that the blurb of a book isn't actually meant to help the reader. The single purpose of a blurb is to sell the book. Now some may argue that the blurb tells you what the book is about to convince you to read it, but there's a difference between reading a book, and buying a book.
And the difference is this-take the story of Romeo + Juliet-imagine you've read it and you're recommending it to a friend- you might say

"oh I read this really great book, its actually a play in the Shakespearean style about a boy and a girl from warring families that fall in love....it's very emotional and real and even though there are language barriers, it's still captivating and I really enjoyed it"
Essentially this gives you all the information you need about the story, it's a love story, its by Shakespeare and it's good.
Now if you were to go back and pretend Romeo & Juliet was just coming out I imagine the blurb would read something like this

"Romeo is a young Italian man, living his life, carefree and impetuous, unconcerned with anything but having fun. Until he meets Juliet, a beautiful girl at an elaborate party he and his cousins have snuck into. He falls in love with her on sight, beginning a story of love, feuds and revenge, for unbeknownst to Romeo, Juliet is a Capulet, and Romeo's sworn enemy. In trying to organise their secret marriage, Romeo is banished from the kingdom and Juliet takes a drug to make her look dead so they can be together forever. Romeo, inconsolable, kills himself upon her body in the tomb just as she awakes.
A tale of lust, revenge and star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet is a timeless story"
And blah blah blah. (give me a break its my first blurb I've ever written).
I have a rule, once you start to read the book, never read the blurb. Because it ALWAYS gives away the story. And it drives me crazy!
Wicker, particularly, I think has a terrible blurb. Talk about condensing the story! It also has this rambling quality "imagine this-and now this-now that" ridiculous.

4 kindred spirits ~ This bugs them too!:

Riona said...
January 20, 2007 11:12 AM

I used to write book blurbs ...

It's not a book blurb, but this summary of the Wizard of Oz never fails to crack me up anyway:

"Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again."

Reanan said...
January 20, 2007 3:49 PM

Hahaha that pretty good, I guess it's essentially all poetic licensing isn't it?
I’ve read books, who’s blurb boasts a far better blurb than book and a blurb who’s book I might as well not have read.

What gets me is reviews from other authors, I don’t know why but it really burns by biscuits…
I’m reading ‘How to kill your husband (and other handy household hints)’ by Kathy Lette.
On the front cover, is a ‘review’ (if it could be called that) from Janet Evanovich simly saying “A hilarious novel” – it’s like the poor little cover designer stood on Janet Evanovich’s stoop and asked her what she thought of it when she was leaving the house one day.
That’s shite.

Dataceptionist said...
January 22, 2007 5:10 PM

Riona-that's hilarious. I love it.

Re- I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. And the authors in the same genre just kill me. Like authors have SO much time to be reading every competitor's manuscripts!!
And Having a book's cover say "Chilling"-Stephen King, doesn't actually make me buy it, because I'm so cynical about it all.
Whereas if it has a Newspaper reviewers name or something, I am more likely to be persuaded. Hear that Publishing Execs!!!!

Anonymous said...
July 22, 2008 5:31 PM

roflrofl. i think the blurb can do both! and it acheives both. but you up the top you are an awaesome writer for your firt blurb im doing home work for english and i had to write a blurb for romeo and juliet and it helped me alot! thanks

love yas.!

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