PDA

View Full Version : Does this blurb work?



Cloud Eight
08-11-2011, 02:28 AM
I've had an ebook out for about a month and I'm not happy with the product description on Amazon. That is, it's been (deservedly) pummeled.

Following is my latest attempt to get it right. (with thanks to Peggy and Cate and Lisa, who are not responsible for what I've done with their ideas)

I'd deeply appreciate any feedback.

BLURB:
Forensic geologists Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws embark on their riskiest assignment yet—finding hijacked radioactive material that is hotter than the desert in August.

The terrorist who stole the lethal toxins intends to release them in America’s most fragile national park, Death Valley. But he is furious to learn that he’s left a trail in minerals that the two geologists can follow. He vows to stop them.

Cassie and Walter make their own stubborn vow: their life’s work is of the earth and they won’t let this perp contaminate it. But as the hunt turns dangerous, they are sorely tested. They traverse scorching desert and contend with human malice and, most unsettling, try to protect themselves from a danger that can be neither seen nor smelled nor touched.

They begin to believe, as a radworker warns them, that the unstable atom is governed by Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

And it does

spacejock2
08-11-2011, 04:32 AM
I'd replace the slang ('perps', 'radworker') and any cliches ('sorely tested') and also repetition (e.g. 'vows')

I'd also look at slightly awkward phrases like 'their life’s work is of the earth' and 'a danger that can be neither seen nor smelled nor touched'

My suggestion would be to read descriptions for a dozen thrillers published by the six majors, and try and adapt yours to a similar style.

Short, punchy, and no distractions.

By the way, is this a sequel? The first sentence indicates it's not the first in the series.

Here's a quick reworking - it's just a suggestion for tightening up the blurb and reversing the order, not a 'use this instead' or 'mine's better'. I used 'sorely tested' again too ;-)



The unstable atom is governed by Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

Lethal radioactive material has been stolen (from etc-etc), and the terrorist responsible for the theft is about to poison America’s most fragile national park.

Forensic geologists Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws are dedicated to preserving the Earth's (etc etc), and are hot on the terrorist's trail. Sorely tested by the scorching desert and human malice, they must also protect themselves from an unseen, silent killer.

(you could finish with 'title' is the xth book in the y series or similar)

Cloud Eight
08-12-2011, 02:32 AM
Hal, thanks!

You have a tough editor's eye, which is precisely what I need. I'll do another pass, working with your suggestions.

And no, this is the first in the series but I see your point.

spacejock2
08-12-2011, 08:23 AM
If you think that's tough, you should see the scathing comments I write on my own work ;-)

I'm glad you took it the right way, though. I've had to go through this process about a dozen times with various books, and I find the best way is to write the same blurb six different ways, and then work out which is the most effective and why. Then write another bunch similar to that one.

Refine, refine, refine. Not a spare word, not a line out of place.

Cloud Eight
08-13-2011, 03:41 AM
Hal, I take your comments as smart and thoughtful.

Feels as though I've written this blurb six hundred different ways. And, uh, here are 601 and 602:

601:
Death Valley earns its name when a terrorist begins to unleash radioactive toxins that are hotter than the desert in August.

The only ones who can find and stop him are forensic geologists Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws. They are outraged at this crime against America’s most fragile national park, and shaken when the terrorist makes his threat personal. They’ll need grit along with their field tools to survive this hunt.

They soon learn that they are up against more than pure malice. The unstable atom—in the hands of an unstable human—is governed by Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

And it does.


602:

Forensic geologists Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws embark on an unexpected and perilous hunt—tracking a terrorist who is threatening to release radioactive material in America’s most fragile national park, Death Valley.

Armed with nothing but grit and their field skills, Cassie and Walter find themselves up against pure human malice and the risk of contamination. Their mission is to prevent this disaster but they soon learn that the unstable atom—in the hands of an unstable man—is governed by Murphy’s Law. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

And it does.