Author Topic: Appreciate some comments on my blurb - revised  (Read 677 times)  

Offline jm2019

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Appreciate some comments on my blurb - revised
« on: October 10, 2020, 09:29:41 pm »
Here comes my most hated part. This is the blurb for the 1st book of a trilogy/series.

Any comments appreciated. Does this look OK/interesting?

I plan to use this blurb on the Amazon page.  ~150 words. This is NOT YA. It is meant to be historical fiction.

A revised version is now available in a new post in the thread below.
----

With her father sick and her elder sister executed, the sixteen year old Cleopatra must bear the burden of becoming regent of Egypt. Surrounded by gilded arches, silk cushions, and marble columns, she looks forward to the new power which will pave way to her becoming the Queen.

But storm clouds are gathering. The kingdom's finances are a mess, Rome knocks on its doors for debt repayment, poor harvest threatens civil unrest, and the king's powerful advisors are unhappy at her independent streak. Cleopatra is soon about to learn that those who taught her seek to harm her, those she played with hate her, and those she saw as her father's friends are anything but.

And now, Cleopatra must navigate the treacherous forces arrayed against her, and one wrong step could mean ending up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes instead of becoming Queen of Egypt.


---

Thank you very much
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 07:58:05 pm by jm2019 »

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    Offline Kathy Dee

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #1 on: October 11, 2020, 12:27:14 am »
    It's not bad, though I think you need to work on crafting a more engaging 1st line, which I would place before the current text. Also your blurb would be stronger without the last line, I feel, as most people know what happened to Cleopatra.

    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #2 on: October 11, 2020, 08:33:07 am »
    @kathy - thank you! I will see if anyone else has additional comments and try a round 2.0. The reason for the end line the way it is, is because this is book I (where she becomes queen, not dead yet). But I'll give it some thought.

    Offline LDB

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #3 on: October 11, 2020, 09:54:33 am »
    I would make minor changes as below.

    With her father sick and her elder sister executed, sixteen year old Cleopatra must bear the burden of becoming regent of Egypt. Surrounded by gilded arches, silk cushions, and marble columns, she looks forward to the new power which will pave way to her becoming the Queen.

    But storm clouds are gathering. The kingdom's finances are a mess, Rome knocks on its doors for debt repayment, poor harvest threatens civil unrest, and the king's powerful advisors are unhappy at her independent streak. Cleopatra will soon learn that those who taught her seek to harm her, those she played with hate her, and those she saw as her father's friends are anything but.

    And now, Cleopatra must navigate the treacherous forces arrayed against her, and one wrong step could mean ending up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes instead of becoming Queen of Egypt.
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    Offline jvin248

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #4 on: October 11, 2020, 01:48:14 pm »
    .

    Here's my run at it:

    Surrounded by gilded arches, silk cushions, and marble columns, sixteen year old Cleopatra is to be Regent. Her father The King lays incapacitated and dying, her elder sister was executed by duplicity, her childhood friends have abandoned her, her trusted advisors suddenly seek to mislead her, and even her father's allies have betrayed her and Egypt.

    The struggle for Egypt is precarious. She uncovers the severity of the kingdom's bleeding finances, how rampant corruption weakens her administrators, how Rome is demanding immediate debt repayment to continue funding their foreign wars, while Egypt's enemies have arrayed legions of chariots along the Eastern and Western boarders. Internally, consecutive poor harvests have threatened starvation, fear, and civil unrest. Can she find a path to save Egypt as Queen -- or will she perish from treachery amid the murky marshes of Alexandria?

    .
    « Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 01:55:32 pm by jvin248 »
           

    Offline Decon

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #5 on: October 11, 2020, 02:17:51 pm »
    Here comes my most hated part. This is the blurb for the 1st book of a trilogy/series.

    Any comments appreciated. Does this look OK/interesting?

    I plan to use this blurb on the Amazon page.  ~150 words. This is NOT YA. It is meant to be historical fiction.

    ----

    With her father sick and her elder sister executed, the sixteen year old Cleopatra must bear the burden of becoming regent of Egypt. Surrounded by gilded arches, silk cushions, and marble columns, she looks forward to the new power which will pave way to her becoming the Queen.

    But storm clouds are gathering. The kingdom's finances are a mess, Rome knocks on its doors for debt repayment, poor harvest threatens civil unrest, and the king's powerful advisors are unhappy at her independent streak. Cleopatra is soon about to learn that those who taught her seek to harm her, those she played with hate her, and those she saw as her father's friends are anything but.

    And now, Cleopatra must navigate the treacherous forces arrayed against her, and one wrong step could mean ending up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes instead of becoming Queen of Egypt.

    ---

    Thank you very much

    Your version or any of the suggestions are fine with the exception of that last line.

    I know you're meant to leave it with a high stakes hook, but not many don't know that she went on to live a healthy productive life until she took her life by her own hand so the blurb has a built in spoiler from the readers knowledge as they will know the answer to the question that the blurb poses .

    Is there any way you can come up with alternate high stakes line as it loses its punch at that point for the reasons stated above. Say concentrate on the stakes for the people of Egypt

    As she was the last pharoah maybe use that somehow.

    Something like - would mean the end of 2500 years of rule by the pharaohs, or say - would mean the slaughter of her people in the civil war that would surely follow with outside forces waiting in the wings to take advantage of the mayhem.
    « Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 02:43:18 pm by Decon »


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    Offline Norman Steele Taylor

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #6 on: October 11, 2020, 04:14:04 pm »
    A lot of your blurb reads like a news headline. 

    Talk in terms of EMOTIONAL METAPHORS - you had it right with the silk cushions, gilded arches, etc

    Remember: SHOW... don't tell


    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #7 on: October 11, 2020, 06:08:22 pm »
    Thank you all for your input. I will see what I can do with the ending and "more show"

    @deacon - the challenge I have is that this is Book I, and it ends with her becoming queen, so the concept of stating that she may be the final pharaoh doesn't work in the context of the blurb because that's not foretold. But I will see how I can address the final line which needs work.

    Offline RedAlert

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #8 on: October 11, 2020, 08:55:36 pm »
    I am confused.  Please excuse me as this is not my genre.  You say that she is becoming Regent.  Then you say she will later become Queen.  I took it to mean that she would consolidate power and then elevate to Queen.  But, I don't understand all that, or the difference between Regent and Queen.  Is this the same thing?

    Offline JohnHansen

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #9 on: October 12, 2020, 02:48:56 am »
    The blurb tells about a young woman caught in dangerous intrigues in a glamorous and exotic setting. This is what one would expect from a novel about Cleopatra, and so I think many readers who are interested in this period will look inside or whatever their next step is. I like the last line about stakes. Even though we know the historical outcome, the stakes are still the stakes.

    As Cleopatra has been the subject of so many novels, plays and movies, I think it would be nice if you indicated what your angle is on her story.

    Online thegreenheron

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #10 on: October 12, 2020, 07:42:27 am »

    As Cleopatra has been the subject of so many novels, plays and movies, I think it would be nice if you indicated what your angle is on her story.

    I read a lot of historical fiction (its my favorite genre), and I agree with this recommendation. I'm not even especially interested in Egypt or Cleopatra, but I've nonetheless read three or four novels about her as well as read Shakepeare's play. It would definitely be a plus to know what your angle is on her life and story and what makes your story special and unique as opposed to the other stories written about her.
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    Offline blueman3

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #11 on: October 12, 2020, 08:13:34 am »
    Just my 2 cents...maybe start the 1st word of the 1st sentence with Cleopatra...it can grab the attention from the get go....i'm a non fiction publisher so take it with a grain of salt...but i think it may grab attention more from the beginning. cheers.

    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #12 on: October 12, 2020, 08:48:36 am »
    All, thank for the continued inputs. I'll answer a few questions:

    @RedAlert - something like that, though it's a little more complicated. She became regent when her father was sick, became a co-ruler, with a different advisor being regent to her brother who was king, she was run out of Egypt, and then returned to take charge as unchallenged queen after Caesar put her on the throne

    @John/Green/Blueman - great points.True that much has been written about her. Some are romanticized, some are exotic - my treatment, like some of my other books, is more "gritty"; starts earlier in her life,  expands the roles of some others around her,  and takes a much more Egypt-centric view than what is typically a Roman-centric view.  As much as we all think we know, I was surprised at many little factors that we don't hear much about, for e.g., that she built a mercenary army in Syria after she was run out of Egypt, or that she haggled with Herod and so on. As it's a trilogy I have been able to build the world in greater detail. Most people also don't realize (I didn't!) how long she ruled because a lot of the headline grabbing is based on her sleeping with two famous Roman men and forgetting everything else. All that doesn't answer your principal question of how would I differentiate in a sentence or two in a blurb - I will work on that, so thank you.

    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb - revised
    « Reply #13 on: October 12, 2020, 08:01:27 pm »
    I took another shot at addressing comments. It's more "show" ( I hope :) ) and I tweaked the stakes. I will be mentioning before the blurb starts, that this is Book I (and therefore the saga does not end) and state something around the fact that this is about Cleopatra's rise and that this takes a "gritty" Egyptian point-of-view of her life.

    How does this read? Thank you all once again.

    ===
    A newer version (final for now) is below in a later post

    Amidst ancient hymns and burning incense, sixteen-year-old Cleopatra is about to bear the heavy mantle of the regent of Egypt. Her father is sick, and her elder sister is dead by his hands. Surrounded by gilded arches, silk cushions, and marble columns, she looks forward to exercising the divine authority vested in her by the gods.

    But storm clouds are gathering. Egypt's coin chests are empty and the people are angry, a surly Rome is banging on its doors for debt repayments, and the dying king's powerful advisors salivate at the prospect of playing her like a puppet and securing unbridled influence. Cleopatra will soon learn that those who taught her seek to harm her, those she played with hate her, and her father's friends are anything but.

    Now, she must navigate treacherous waters and confront ruthless adversaries, because one wrong move means not only ending up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes, but also ending the the Pharaonic legacy of three-thousand years.
    « Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 10:43:39 am by jm2019 »

    Offline Decon

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #14 on: October 13, 2020, 05:42:39 am »
    .

    Here's my run at it:

    Surrounded by gilded arches, silk cushions, and marble columns, sixteen year old Cleopatra is to be Regent. Her father The King lays incapacitated and dying, her elder sister was executed by duplicity, her childhood friends have abandoned her, her trusted advisors suddenly seek to mislead her, and even her father's allies have betrayed her and Egypt.

    The struggle for Egypt is precarious. She uncovers the severity of the kingdom's bleeding finances, how rampant corruption weakens her administrators, how Rome is demanding immediate debt repayment to continue funding their foreign wars, while Egypt's enemies have arrayed legions of chariots along the Eastern and Western boarders. Internally, consecutive poor harvests have threatened starvation, fear, and civil unrest. Can she find a path to save Egypt as Queen -- or will she perish from treachery amid the murky marshes of Alexandria?

    .

    I like this, but as I said before, knowing she lives is a spoiler. I'd be tempted to add an extra line at the end as another question. Many will know about her later life and death, but not many will know about her early years.

    Something along the lines of. - But just how a sixteen year old Cleopatra will navigate these dangers is the stuff that makes her life epic.

    That would be a hook for me to discount I know she will live to want to know more.
    « Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 05:51:36 am by Decon »


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    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb
    « Reply #15 on: October 13, 2020, 11:50:41 am »
    Hi Deacon,

    That's a great suggestion for the end line. Thank you, I'll see how too work that in. BTW I'm not sure, but the blurb you quoted is not my latest (it was jvin's suggestion), my rewrite was just above your post.


    I like this, but as I said before, knowing she lives is a spoiler. I'd be tempted to add an extra line at the end as another question. Many will know about her later life and death, but not many will know about her early years.

    Something along the lines of. - But just how a sixteen year old Cleopatra will navigate these dangers is the stuff that makes her life epic.

    That would be a hook for me to discount I know she will live to want to know more.

    Offline Decon

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb - revised
    « Reply #16 on: October 13, 2020, 12:14:05 pm »
    I took another shot at addressing comments. It's more "show" ( I hope :) ) and I tweaked the stakes. I will be mentioning before the blurb starts, that this is Book I (and therefore the saga does not end) and state something around the fact that this is about Cleopatra's rise and that this takes a "gritty" Egyptian point-of-view of her life.

    How does this read? Thank you all once again.

    ===

    Amidst ancient hymns and burning incense, sixteen-year-old Cleopatra is about to bear the heavy mantle of the regent of Egypt. Her father is sick, and her elder sister is dead by his hands. Surrounded by gilded arches, silk cushions, and marble columns, she looks forward to exercising the divine authority vested in her by the gods.

    But storm clouds are gathering. Egypt's coin chests are empty and the people are angry, a surly Rome is banging on its doors for debt repayments, and the dying king's powerful advisors salivate at the prospect of playing her like a puppet and securing unbridled influence. Cleopatra will soon learn that those who taught her seek to harm her, those she played with hate her, and her father's friends are anything but.

    Now, she must navigate treacherous waters and confront ruthless adversaries, because one wrong move means not only ending up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes, but also ending the the Pharaonic legacy of three-thousand years.

    Sorry I meant to click your quote. Yours is the one I referred to with my suggestion.

    Just noticed you have "navigate" to accommodate my suggestion you would need to delete (navigate treacherous waters and)
    « Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 12:23:11 pm by Decon »


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    Offline Quincy

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb - revised
    « Reply #17 on: October 15, 2020, 04:51:45 pm »
    how about something like:

    Her sister dead, her father dying, 16-year-old Cleopatra is poised to assume the heavy mantle of power in a troubled Egypt.  The sumptuous palace facade of gilded arches and silken hangings can no longer hide the grim reality of an empty treasury and restive population - even for a regent vested with divine authority.  Caught between the external pressure of an impatient Rome and the internal machinations her father's trusted advisors, Cleopatra soon learns to trust no one but herself. 

    Aware that former teachers and playmates alike now seek her downfall, Cleopatra must navigate the treacherous waters of power and politics while confronting ruthless adversaries both foreign and domestic.  The stakes are truly life and death both for the young ruler and her kingdom - one wrong move will leave her a corpse in the Alexandrian marches and bring about the end of three thousand years of Pharaonic rule.
    « Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 02:51:58 pm by Quincy »

    Offline aaaalvin

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb - revised
    « Reply #18 on: October 16, 2020, 02:29:45 am »
    I took another shot at addressing comments. It's more "show" ( I hope :) ) and I tweaked the stakes. I will be mentioning before the blurb starts, that this is Book I (and therefore the saga does not end) and state something around the fact that this is about Cleopatra's rise and that this takes a "gritty" Egyptian point-of-view of her life.

    How does this read? Thank you all once again.

    ===

    Amidst ancient hymns and burning incense, sixteen-year-old Cleopatra is about to bear the heavy mantle of the regent of Egypt. Her father is sick, and her elder sister is dead by his hands. Surrounded by gilded arches, silk cushions, and marble columns, she looks forward to exercising the divine authority vested in her by the gods.

    But storm clouds are gathering. Egypt's coin chests are empty and the people are angry, a surly Rome is banging on its doors for debt repayments, and the dying king's powerful advisors salivate at the prospect of playing her like a puppet and securing unbridled influence. Cleopatra will soon learn that those who taught her seek to harm her, those she played with hate her, and her father's friends are anything but.

    Now, she must navigate treacherous waters and confront ruthless adversaries, because one wrong move means not only ending up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes, but also ending the the Pharaonic legacy of three-thousand years.

    It's a little wordy and doesn't leave enough to the imagination, imo.  Maybe tighten it up a bit and use less definite (more symbolic, poetic) language...for example:

    "The innocent dreams of maidenhood are soon to be shattered."

    "Above a yawning abyss, she must walk the tightrope of power alone."



    I want to read your book!  Sounds awesome.

    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb - revised
    « Reply #19 on: October 16, 2020, 10:42:37 am »
    Hi Quicny and aaalvin,

    So many great ideas! Thank you. I've incorporated pieces of it, tightened the blurb some more (just 146 words now). I am going to use the version below for now, and will tweak again in time.

    A big thanks to everyone in this thread!

    ====
    With her father sick and her sister dead by his hands, sixteen-year-old Cleopatra is poised to assume the heavy mantle of power and exercise the divine  authority vested in her by the gods of Egypt.

    But the gilded arches and marble columns hide a grim reality and the gathering of storm clouds. A surly Rome is banging on her doors for debt repayments, the kingdom is on the verge of a civil war, and the dying king's powerful advisors seek to discard her like a rag and control the kingdom through her brother.

    Now, the young regent must confront her adversaries and walk the tightrope over an abyss of treachery and conflict, because one wrong move means ending three thousand years of Pharaonic rule and turning up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes.
    ===

    Offline aaaalvin

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    Re: Appreciate some comments on my blurb - revised
    « Reply #20 on: Yesterday at 10:29:20 pm »
    Hi Quicny and aaalvin,

    So many great ideas! Thank you. I've incorporated pieces of it, tightened the blurb some more (just 146 words now). I am going to use the version below for now, and will tweak again in time.

    A big thanks to everyone in this thread!

    ====
    With her father sick and her sister dead by his hands, sixteen-year-old Cleopatra is poised to assume the heavy mantle of power and exercise the divine  authority vested in her by the gods of Egypt.

    But the gilded arches and marble columns hide a grim reality and the gathering of storm clouds. A surly Rome is banging on her doors for debt repayments, the kingdom is on the verge of a civil war, and the dying king's powerful advisors seek to discard her like a rag and control the kingdom through her brother.

    Now, the young regent must confront her adversaries and walk the tightrope over an abyss of treachery and conflict, because one wrong move means ending three thousand years of Pharaonic rule and turning up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes.
    ===

    Happy to be of help.  The new update hits hard; it is much more direct and powerful and provocative even.  Are you sure you don't want to add a little bit of sex appeal, as we know that Cleo was famous for that too...or is that coming in the next book?  Maybe a brief mention of her, umm, "sumptuous Nile pleasure barge" or something .....kkk ;-)   

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