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Author Topic: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck  (Read 834 times)  

Offline ccasey

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Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« on: May 23, 2013, 08:47:06 AM »
(strictly a reader point of view here...)

Amazon book blurbs that ask questions at the end drive me nuts. It's like trying to be clever but actually giving up all your secrets. Here's one I just read...

But will the pain of the past keep them apart? (probably not or you wouldn't have written the book) Can they make their love work again? (most likely how you're gonna end the book isn't it)

Explain the dilemma and leave the reader in angst over what next. Asking the questions makes us mentally answer them and ruins the fun.

And it comes off as cheap and cheesy.

(A bit of a rant I suppose. The story just sounded good until the dumb questions.)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 08:56:04 AM by CherylCCR »
          

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Offline Zoe York

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2013, 09:11:03 AM »
Maybe it's because I read romance, where you ALWAYS know how the story is going to end (HEA), but I don't mind questions in the blurb. Although those two particular questions have an obvious answer, open-ended or rhetorical questions can be used effectively. How dare he try to worm his way back into her life? What will she do when she finds out he's known about their secret love child all along...and still stayed away? (Two different story lines there, obviously - and quite made up on the spot!)

Offline Just Browsing

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2013, 09:14:20 AM »
I'm with you--HATE the questions with the obvious answers! The open-ended ones, like Zoe mentioned, work much better IMO.

I also hate the "choice" move.

Actual quote from someone's blurb:

Now she must choose between two men, one whom she loves and the other who can destroy her life.


Gosh... I wonder which one she'll pick?

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2013, 09:20:10 AM »
Let me guess, the one that will destroy her life?   8)
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Offline Just Browsing

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2013, 09:28:17 AM »
"Let me guess, the one that will destroy her life?"

No, it wasn't a biography.

Offline beccaprice

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 09:34:28 AM »
Let me guess, the one that will destroy her life?   8)

I'd read that book!

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Offline ccasey

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 10:00:41 AM »
Good point Zoe, those would add to the interest in finding out what's going to happen. And spot-on Nightspress with the biography, made me chuckle.
          

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Offline chrisanthropic

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 10:27:47 AM »
I'd read that book!

That's what I thought too, that one sounds way more interesting.

On topic though, yeah, questions like those in the original post get kind of ... hm...yeah.
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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 10:38:09 AM »
Sometimes I quite like a question as a hook. As has been mentioned, it has to be a real question that I can't supply the answer to.

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Offline swolf

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2013, 10:59:39 AM »
I think the more obvious the answer is, the more legitimate it is to ask the question in the blurb.  Because the readers understand the rhetorical nature of it.

On the flip side, I think that if the answer is in doubt, it's heavy-handed to ask the question.  The synopsis of the plot will plant the question in the readers' minds.

So, to me, I see nothing wrong with a romance asking, "Will they get together?"  But I think it's over the top for a book like Silence of the Lambs to ask, "Will Agent Starling be successful in her efforts to nab Buffalo Bill?"

Offline Duane Gundrum

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 11:22:44 AM »
I'm thinking of a question blurb that goes like this:

"What if you lived in a world where good people did evil things?

And what if in that world Muppets came to life and killed all the people who remained good?

And what if there were actually 32 ice cream flavors, one of which was really, really good?"

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Offline DRMarvello

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 12:00:42 PM »
And it comes off as cheap and cheesy.

Questions in the blurb usually come off that way to me as well, even the open-ended ones. When I write blurbs for my own books, I often put a question in at least one iteration, but then I take it out because it feels wrong somehow. The "how dare he..." rhetorical kind of question is fine because it is part of the narrative, but using a question as a hook seems like a cheap, eye-roller of a marketing tactic.

On the other hand, it's possible that the technique is not cheap or cheesy at all. Maybe it is very effective and entertaining, and only a small minority of people like me are put off by it. Other commenters in this thread obviously don't mind. All the same, I'll probably avoid putting questions in my own blurbs.

Offline Lummox JR

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2013, 12:39:25 PM »
This is right up there with the dreaded WHEN. Not an absolute no-no, but if it's going to be used it should be used effectively.

My WIP will probably use a question in the blurb, but not a rhetorical one. That makes a difference.
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Offline Jan Strnad

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2013, 04:02:44 PM »
Will I now become overly sensitized to questions in blurbs, as I have with the dreaded "when"? Will they now leap out at me and stab me in the eye whenever I see one? Will I handle this newfound sensitivity with fortitude, or will it turn me into a blubbering mass? Or is there some third, unexpected consequence that will change my life forever?

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Offline Writerly Writer

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2013, 04:17:59 PM »
Will I now become overly sensitized to questions in blurbs, as I have with the dreaded "when"? Will they now leap out at me and stab me in the eye whenever I see one? Will I handle this newfound sensitivity with fortitude, or will it turn me into a blubbering mass? Or is there some third, unexpected consequence that will change my life forever?

Profound questions indeed. I suggest an empirical experiment. Every time you encounter a blurb as yourself those four questions. Record your data and run a T-test. Just like all scientific investigations, make sure you write a paragraph of how your results can impact further research and what readers can draw from your conclusions.

Edit: I'm kidding btw :)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 04:45:10 PM by KJCOLT »

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Asking questions as a book blurb hook, yuck
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2013, 06:15:36 PM »
I'd read that book!

snort

Okay, I'd probably read it, too.  ;D
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