Thoughts on Publishing – Back Cover Blurb

I’m currently formatting the Magic’s Stealing ebook editions for Smashwords and Kindle, and since I’m determined to get the files uploaded for pre-order tonight, I’m keeping this blog post shorter than usual. But I thought we could take a look at the back cover copy… the little blurb about the book that you see after clicking the cover online.

This little blurb is important, since it tells the reader whether or not they might like the book.

I have a habit of only skimming the blurbs when I’m looking for the next book to read, rather than really letting the information sink in. I’ve noticed this before, but it really became evident today while I was reading The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, when I realized that I had little idea about where the book was going. I flipped it over, read the blurb again, and the puzzle pieces fit into place.

It was like the blurb didn’t sink in until after I’d become acquainted with the world.

The same thing happened when I was reading The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross. I reread the blurb after I’d gotten a few chapters in, and then the blurb seemed to finally ‘click’ for me.

But something in the blurb made me want to pick up the book, so it did its job.

There are also blurbs where I read them after I finish the book, and they don’t quite fit the events of the story. (Or they fit the second book better than the first). The blurb caught my attention, and I enjoyed the book… but it wasn’t really what the book was about.

So today, let’s take a look at the blurb for Magic’s Stealing and compare it to the contents of the book.

For centuries, ribbons of magic have provided the kingdom of Cirena with light, healing, and protection. Then, in a span of minutes, those ribbons fly from their masters, stolen, save for the magic of a few chosen mages. One of these mages is Toranih, a young noblewoman who would rather have a sword in her hand than use her powers to heal or throw fireballs. As a result, her magic skills are lacking. But with former mages dying from magic withdrawal, and the looming threat of an army of shadows who are impervious to mortal weapons, she must either embrace the responsibilities of a mage or watch her home perish.

First off, we have the line about magic and how it gets stolen. This doesn’t actually happen until chapter four, though plenty of stuff happens before then. This is that “start with the action” bit. There’s no fighting yet, but we have tension.

For example, in the first chapter (read it here if you missed it), Toranih’s best friend convinces her to attend a “notoriously magical festival” against her better judgement. She’s conflicted, but ultimately decides to go, leading to her magic being altered by unknown forces. As the story continues, we see her struggling to use her magic (the “her magic skills are lacking” bit in the blurb) and get multiple references to her preference for swords. Once magic is finally stolen, we immediately see the impact it has on mages. Shortly thereafter, Toranih and her friend stumble on the army of shadows in their attempt to find out what happened. Following that, we see Toranih continuing to struggle with her own magic and stubbornness as she responds to the shadow threat.

Though it takes time for the blurb to unfold within the actual story, the main aspects are present. I excluded a number of details from the blurb, such as the involvement of Toranih’s best friend and her sister, the details of the antagonist, and the involvement of time travel (which I may use as a key phrase).

The goal is to give just enough information to entice the reader into reading the first page or buying the book, rather than giving them a detailed synopsis (I’ve read those blurbs, too… in which I knew every major turn of events in the story).

Will this blurb work? I don’t know yet, but we’ll find out soon. If all goes well, expect to see the cover reveal and announcement of a release date for Magic’s Stealing in my next post. 🙂

Have you found any blurbs that didn’t quite fit the book, or didn’t really click until after you started reading? Have you had trouble figuring out what to include in your blurbs?


Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

2 responses to “Thoughts on Publishing – Back Cover Blurb

  1. Bee

    I love writing blurbs. Boiling the book down to its basic elements is fun for me. That said, I’ve read many blurbs that sound enticing, but don’t match the book at all.

    I hope you like Masque-I thought it was great.

    • I seem to have a hard time boiling books down to their basic plot points, though it’s fun to try. 🙂 Magic’s Stealing wasn’t too bad, since it’s a novella (and thus the plot points were limited), but for any of my longer novels… whoo-boy. Not so easy. But it has gotten better with time.

      Thanks. 🙂 I’ve been enjoying Masque thus far, though I haven’t had much time to read it.

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