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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I just released book four in my series, and book five is in beta. So i'd like to get a jump on the product description. How's this?

A magazine reporter on permanent assignment to chronicle the casework of Pittsburgh PI, Lupa Schwartz, Cattleya Hoskin returns home after an extended hospital stay following a nearly fatal attack, only to find that her ex-boyfriend, Ulric, has gone missing. Little by little she learns that Schwartz and Ulric have been covertly unraveling a centuries-old scheme, and the conspirators have driven Ulric underground.

Complicating matters, a mystery woman has come seeking Schwartz's help. Though still very much alive, she wants him to expose her murderer after the fact. When she reveals herself to be a member of the very family Ulric has been investigating, Schwartz and Cattleya can't help but become involved.

The placement of the world's tall towers, the esoteric secrets of sacred geometry, a genetic line that stretches back to long before Charlemagne, and an ancient shadow-government all coalesce to drive Schwartz and Cattleya underground in an attempt to unravel the deepest mystery of their lives. If they succeed, they just might topple an empire. If they fail, there may be no place for them in the New World Order -- or anywhere else.
 

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This is a tough one.  The first thing that derailed the blurb was the last paragraph.  I was trying to follow along then <----- whop!  Left turn at Albuquerque.  You switched gears and went hardcore secret society: two hour special on H2 channel.

First paragraph is too much.  Three characters, multiple conflicts, no explanation on how any of it fits together.  I'm not even sure who was in the hospital.  Cattleya or the PI.  Anyway, there is just way too much going on here with the nested commas for parenthetical elements.

Second paragraph.  Who is our main character?  Cattleya or Schwartz?  Whose story is this?  Again three characters, multiple conflicts and no explanation.  I am getting the feeling that this blurb is following a very specific formula but I don't know why.

Last paragraph is so unrelated that it doesn't appear to be talking about the same story other than the two names being dropped again.  The tone or voice shifts as well.  You list two possible outcomes.  This is a spoiler because we already know how it's going to end.  If it's not one of these two outcomes, then the blurb is lying to us and that is bad.

The job of the blurb is to get the customer to click the buy now button after the cover has intrigued them enough to click your book.  By giving us two outcomes for the ending, customers are going to scroll down to the reviews to find the answer.  Once they do they will be clicking the back button. 

Recommendations: Identify the main character.  Identify the primary story and conflict.  If you are mixing genera's focus on the genera that is the story. Establish the main character.  Identify them in an interesting and unique way that is relevant to the rest of the story.  Establish the conflict or theme that drives the story and is the reason your main character is doing what it is they are doing.  Build tension with each step.  Sprinkle in some setting along the way and be sure to not spoil anything.
 

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I'm hopeless at blurbs, but I will say I thought the first line was far too long and complicated. I had to re-read it several times. It could easily be split into two.

You seem to divulge a lot of detail in the last paragraph, which the reader may be better off discovering for themselves. I'd suggest reading similar authors' blurbs to see how they do it, and how much they give away.

Also, you repeat the idea of being driven underground. Is there another way you could say this?

Just my opinion, but I hope it helps  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It may seem that the last paragraph gives too much away, but that's only because the story is very dense. Honestly this barely scratches the surface. I'm trying to appeal to Dan Brown, National Treasure, Oliver Stone fans without saying that exactly.

I broke up the first sentence, and changed one of the "underground" usages to off grid.

How's this?

Cattleya Hoskin is a magazine reporter on permanent assignment to chronicle the casework of Pittsburgh PI, Lupa Schwartz. She returns home after an extended hospital stay following a nearly fatal attack, only to find that her ex-boyfriend, Ulric, has gone missing. Little by little she learns that Schwartz and Ulric have been covertly unraveling a centuries-old scheme, and the conspirators have driven Ulric underground.

Complicating matters, a mystery woman has come seeking Schwartz's help. Though still very much alive, she wants him to expose her murderer after the fact. When she reveals herself to be a member of the very family Ulric has been investigating, Schwartz and Cattleya can't help but become involved.

The placement of the world's tall towers, the esoteric secrets of sacred geometry, a genetic line that stretches back to long before Charlemagne, and an ancient shadow-government all coalesce to drive Schwartz and Cattleya off grid in an attempt to unravel the deepest mystery of their lives. If they succeed, they just might topple an empire. If they fail, there may be no place for them in the New World Order -- or anywhere else.
 

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For some reason, I want this to be a really good blurb. I'm going to pick apart each piece and hopefully the feedback will help. This is just my opinion on your blurb and I am not the end all, be all, authority on blurb writing.

Cattleya Hoskin is a magazine reporter on permanent assignment to chronicle the casework of Pittsburgh PI, Lupa Schwartz.
This introduces two characters in one sentence. I still don't know which of these two is the main character after reading the rest of the blurb. If they are both main characters then you need to just pick one. Which one of these characters changes and grows through the story? Which one's actions and choices are what drives the plot and conflict resolution? We need a clear main character and plot. I also find this introduction a little weird. A magazine reporter is permanently assigned to report on a private investigator? This doesn't make any sense and it doesn't contribute to the blurb. This relationship is false detail for the rest of the blurb. They could simply be friends, sisters, or strangers and the rest of the blurb is unaffected.

She returns home after an extended hospital stay following a nearly fatal attack, only to find that her ex-boyfriend, Ulric, has gone missing.
Another false detail sentence. If this sentence is removed, the rest of the blurb is unaffected. The only thing this sentence does is tell us Ulric is her boyfriend. The attack and that he's missing, does not effect the blurb in any way. It's an independent piece of information that the blurb does not use to build upon.

Little by little she learns that Schwartz and Ulric have been covertly unraveling a centuries-old scheme, and the conspirators have driven Ulric underground.
This is the first hint we get of a primary conflict. Unraveling a centuries-old scheme. This is good. The rest of the sentence doesn't help it out. First is how did she miss this if she's a reporter permanently assigned to one of the investigators? Next we have the use of "driven underground" This choice of words doesn't fit well with "has gone missing" with the earlier sentence. If you want to use this, they should be aligned better.

First paragraph overall: I would get rid of the boyfriend. I would introduce the main character with some sort of unique qualifier for them to be the main character. I would introduce the PI and the conflict. This would give you character, character, conflict. This format works well with blurbs. Right now you have character, character, conflict, character, conflict, conflict. It's just way too much.

Complicating matters, a mystery woman has come seeking Schwartz's help.
I don't know on this one. Mostly because I think the main conflict is the centuries old scheme, and she is a part of that conflict, but I can't be sure. It is generic though and uninteresting. Also a whole two sentences later the mystery is revealed so the overall value of this sentence is approaching null.

Though still very much alive, she wants him to expose her murderer after the fact.
This is a confusing sentence. I know what you're trying to say, but it's not working here with the clever linear reversal. This is also a spoiler. We know she's going to die. There are going to be several other ways to deliver this setup to the reader that is going to flow better. Give us something interesting about this woman who hires the PI then shows up murdered.

When she reveals herself to be a member of the very family Ulric has been investigating, Schwartz and Cattleya can't help but become involved.
Spoiler to the first sentence of this paragraph.

Second paragraph overall: We could get a real good look at the conflict and plot here, but it really falls short with the spoiler and the clever, hire you to investigate my own murder before I die part. Again I would ditch the boyfriend. We don't need more characters and his plight is just frosting the same primary conflict.

The placement of the world's tall towers, the esoteric secrets of sacred geometry, a genetic line that stretches back to long before Charlemagne, and an ancient shadow-government all coalesce to drive Schwartz and Cattleya offgrid in an attempt to unravel the deepest mystery of their lives.
You switch from a third person limited perspective to a narrator here. Instead of building tension and excitement, the blurb just tells us what's going on. All the previous details have lost most of their value to keep a reader engaged. You're summarizing the blurb.

If they succeed, they just might topple an empire. If they fail, there may be no place for them in the New World Order -- or anywhere else.
I already talked about how this is a spoiler or a red herring lie. I don't see a way for this sentence to do anything other than to get a customer to look for the answer in the reviews. You want the customer to be intrigued to where they want to buy the book. I feel that this last bit can only hurt the success of your book, not help it in any way.

3rd paragraph: I would nuke it. There is nothing here worth saving. It's a narration that brings in a lot of weird details. All of these details should have been sprinkled in throughout the blurb. You shouldn't have to tell us that it's a secret society thriller/adventure story. The blurb should be able to do that on it's own. What magazine does she work for? Is it one that would drag her into a world like this? If so that could be your interesting detail that shows us what she's getting involved in. Drop us right into the action with this woman who may be descended from Charlemagne. Instead we are hit over the head with tall towers, math, history and governments.

I can sense that there is a real gem of a story here, but I just can't find it because it's surrounded by overburden. It just needs to be refined and all the muck and silt washed away. The topics and genera you have chosen to write in are very fun to read and their movie and tv counterparts are fun to watch. I have little doubt your story is as good if not better than they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I really have to keep the mystery woman, the boyfriend and the secret society, because that's what the conflict is all about.

But I think I can shift the focus some so it's more about Cattleya and Lupa (who work as a team throughout the entire story).

Reporter Cattleya Hoskin has just learned that her ex-boyfriend, Ulric, has gone missing. Lupa Schwartz, the Pittsburgh PI she chronicles, reveals to her that he and Ulric have been covertly unraveling a centuries-old scheme. Ulric is safe, but the conspirators are on to him so he's gone underground.

Complicating matters, a mystery woman has come seeking Schwartz's help. Though still very much alive, she wants him to expose her murderer after the fact. Can Schwartz and Cattleya keep Ulric and the mystery woman safe without being thwarted by the agents of a shadow government which has been secretly operating since Mesopotamia?

The placement of the world's tall towers, the esoteric secrets of sacred geometry, a genetic line that stretches back to long before Charlemagne, and an ancient shadow-government all coalesce to drive Schwartz and Cattleya off grid in an attempt to unravel the deepest mystery of their lives. If they succeed, they just might topple an empire. If they fail, there may be no place for them in the New World Order - or anywhere else.
 

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Ulric is safe, but the conspirators are on to him so he's gone underground.
This is a spoiler, which I really don't think should be in the blurb. Too much emphasis is given in the first line to Ulric going missing, to give the game away about what's happened to him in the same paragraph. It dissipates the impact of the first line. I'd either say he's gone missing, or he's gone underground. Keep it simple.

Can Schwartz and Cattleya keep Ulric and the mystery woman safe without being thwarted by the agents of a shadow government which has been secretly operating since Mesopotamia?
This comes across too passive, in my opinion. Either they should be doing something active, or Ulric and the mystery woman should be the main characters and keeping themselves safe. I'm sure they are, in the book, but it doesn't come across well in this paragraph. If they were trying to keep a child safe, it might be different, but these are two adults ::)

I'm just trying to strengthen what you already have, but I'm not great with blurbs, so feel free to ignore :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I see where you're going. Okay, so I changed "stretches back" to "traces back." I hate losing the tall towers, because that's the unique angle in my story. Nobody (so far as I know) has ever covered this angle before. But you're right that it bogs down the flow.

So how's this?

After surviving a vicious attack, magazine reporter Cattleya Hoskin learns that her ex-boyfriend, Ulric, has gone missing having left only a coded message the police cannot decipher. Digging deeper, she learns that he'd been working with the man who got her injured on the last story she covered, Pittsburgh PI Lupa Schwartz. They had been trying to covertly unravel a centuries-old scheme--until the conspirators found him out and drove Ulric underground. To complicate matters, a mystery woman arrives with a tale of peril linking her to the same nefarious plot.

In order to protect this client and Ulric, Cattleya and Schwartz delve into the mysteries of sacred geometry and a genetic line that traces back to Charlemagne and beyond. Now the pair must work together to expose an ancient secret before being thwarted by the agents of a shadow government which has been secretly operating since Mesopotamia.

If they succeed, they just might topple an empire. If they fail, there may be no place for them in the New World Order -- or anywhere else.
 
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