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View Full Version : Can a query be used as a blurb?


tonten
04-06-2012, 05:15 AM
If a query is written to entice an agent to read on, can the same query be used as a blurb at the back of a book (minus all the personal info etc)

Or is a book blurb written differently.

kiwiviktor81
04-06-2012, 06:12 AM
I did it. Doesn't mean it's a good idea, though.

Ken
04-06-2012, 06:34 AM
... it would depend on whether the department or employee who puts together blurbs at a publishing house gets to see the original query. For large publishers like Random House I'm guessing that doesn't happen and that a person or team comes up with the blurbs independently of the author. With smaller houses, the acquisition editor may be the same one who puts together the blurbs, in which case parts of the original query may be used for the purpose, perhaps. Since it would be the author's words, the author should probably be informed about the usage somewhere along the line, prior to print, just so they know. In my experience, blurbs don't add up to much. I rather wish that authors did write them or supply the fodder for them. They'd be a lot more informative!

thothguard51
04-06-2012, 06:37 AM
The query does not hide the ending from the agent...

The blurb does...

c.m.n.
04-06-2012, 06:41 AM
I've done it too, but I agree it depends on the publisher. A lot of times, I use the beginning of my query as my blurb and add/change some things to it.

Chumplet
04-06-2012, 06:42 AM
I've been told to hide the ending from the agent in the query in order to entice them to ask for more. Some ask for the synopsis, which reveals the ending. I guess it's different with every agent. But in some cases, part of the query can make good jacket copy, but blurbs are more like testimonials. It's hard for an author to come up with something that pumps up the book in that manner. We're too humble!

ViolettaVane
04-06-2012, 06:50 AM
It's happened that way for us. Here's an example of a query that got turned into a blurb:

Original successful query:

Teen runaway Sean O’Hara isn't enjoying any New Orleans hospitality: his girlfriend's broken up with him for a sugar daddy, he had his backpack (and all the money to his name) stolen by a gun-toting pimp, he’s down to his last two oxycontin, and he’s already itching for his next fix. A familiar-seeming stranger named Ángel may be his ticket to some quick cash, but only if Sean's willing to help Ángel indulge a high-class john's weird fetish for the night. But as Ángel says, in this city and this business you have to get a little bit weird to survive.

When night falls on the French Quarter, Sean realizes that Ángel and the john want more from him than he was ever expecting to give. What was once weird soon crosses the line into supernatural and sinister. And Ángel, the man Sean had accepted as partner and protector, might also be his otherworldly judge and executioner.

“Cruce de Caminos” is a dark paranormal short story, complete at 15,255 words, that we wish to submit to Riptide’s Love for Sale submission call. The main sexual scenes in this story are gay in nature (m/m and m/m/m), but there is also a peripheral m/f relationship. There is no HEA or HFN for any of these relationships.

Tagline + blurb currently on publisher's website:

Addiction and desperation drive Sean O'Hara to a critical crossroads. Will he make the right decision, or will the floodwaters bound for New Orleans sweep him away?

Street kid Sean O’Hara has never had it easy, but New Orleans has driven him to his knees. His girlfriend’s broken up with him for a sugar daddy, a gun-toting pimp has robbed him of everything but the clothes on his back, and he’s down to his last two Oxycontin. Sean’s no seasoned streetwalker, but he’s not above it either, not when he’s already itching for his next fix.

A familiar-seeming stranger named Ángel may be his ticket to some quick cash, but only if Sean’s willing to help him indulge a high-class john’s weird fetish for the night. As Ángel tells him, in this city and this business, you have to get a little weird to survive.

When night falls on the French Quarter, Sean realizes Ángel and the john want more from him than he was expecting to give. What once seemed merely strange soon crosses the line into supernatural and sinister. And Ángel, the man Sean had viewed as a partner and protector, might also be his otherworldly judge and executioner.

dangerousbill
04-06-2012, 07:24 AM
If a query is written to entice an agent to read on, can the same query be used as a blurb at the back of a book (minus all the personal info etc)

Or is a book blurb written differently.

Not the same. A query includes the ending of the story, and a blurb doesn't.

Both are important sales tools. They each deserve an appropriate amount of effort.

danrupe
04-06-2012, 07:47 AM
Not the same. A query includes the ending of the story, and a blurb doesn't.

Both are important sales tools. They each deserve an appropriate amount of effort.

Isn't the query supposed to leave the agent/publisher wanting to know more... leaving a little mystery at the end?

thebloodfiend
04-06-2012, 07:58 AM
It depends. I've seen a lot of YA blurbs that are pretty much word for word their queries.

ViolettaVane
04-06-2012, 08:11 AM
No, the synopsis is the one that has to include the end. The query doesn't have to. It's supposed to get attention, capture the essence of the excitement of the story, and be short. I think there's usually not enough space to tell the ending.

Mr Flibble
04-06-2012, 01:04 PM
I've never put the ending in a query - it usually goes up to The Big Decision. And several of my blurbs are tweaked* versions of the query.


*Cos blurb writers do it better!

In effect, they are there for the same reason - to entice someone (agent, bookshop browser) to want to read more. As long as they do so, you're gold.

seun
04-06-2012, 02:54 PM
The query for my book came close to being the blurb. It did change in the end, but my original plan was for them to be pretty much the same.

Becky Black
04-06-2012, 03:18 PM
They may be similar and the blurb may be written with the query as a starting point, but I wouldn't just take the query and paste it into the form or whatever you're completing and say "there's my blurb". For one thing, months may well have passed, there may have been some changes in the editing with the publisher and why pass up another chance to improve it even more? And in the end, they are for two different audiences, so should be written accordingly.

quicklime
04-06-2012, 05:16 PM
So long as someone lets you, you can do whatever you want. That said, I'm still somewhat skeptical a GOOD query can be used as a GOOD blurb, and vice versa, without any changes.

They're similar but not the same, just as a good salsa cannot, despite being mostly tomato and a bit of salt and some chiles, be interchangeable and useable as a good marinara sauce.

dangerousbill
04-06-2012, 10:53 PM
Isn't the query supposed to leave the agent/publisher wanting to know more... leaving a little mystery at the end?

Agents and publishers aren't fish that can be enticed and hooked by dangling bait in the water. They're experienced professionals, buying what to them is a commodity, something that can be turned into money. If they don't know whether you can pony up a satisfying ending, I think it would make a query much less salable.

Go to a car dealership. Do they show you a pile of wheels, body panels, engine, etc, and then say, "Ok, buy it and we'll show you what it's like when we put it all together."

Gordon
04-06-2012, 11:59 PM
Go to a car dealership. Do they show you a pile of wheels, body panels, engine, etc, and then say, "Ok, buy it and we'll show you what it's like when we put it all together."

Nope. But computer companies do exactly that.

The purpose, as I understand it, of the query is to present the basic premise of the book, often supplemented by a chapter or two. Some want a synopsis, which does mean they want to know the ending, while many don't ask for one - if they are intrigued by the query and pages, they ask to read the manuscript, or more pages.

I suppose with certain types of fiction, the ending is or can be a part of the premise. But, in many cases, the ending only makes sense in the context of the book, not in the context of the pitch. How would you present it? Agent Foswick must infiltrate the shadow government's secret lair and stop the missile countdown. He dies.

VoireyLinger
04-07-2012, 01:10 AM
The query does not hide the ending from the agent...

The blurb does...

The complete synopsis doesn't hide the ending. The teaser used in the query letter may.

My publisher is one that has the authors write the cover copy and I compose my submission with the intent of making that little blurb do double duty.