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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks!

I've seen some wonderful critiques on other writers' blurbs here, and I'm hoping I can impose upon some wonderful people to look over mine? Blurbs are something I struggle with -- and my instincts are telling me this is slightly too long -- but I'd greatly appreciate any help you can offer!

The book is a real life, creative non-fiction story (I guess some of the humour is a bit like Danny Wallace and Dave Gorman -- though of course I would never think I'm as good, witty or as inventive as those guys!) about -- essentially -- taking a long hard look at yourself and working to improve yourself (in my case, taking a friend's advice and trying to meet a girl). There's a small element of highlighting and living with mental illness as well. (While it's a true account, the only person I embarrass is myself. Continually, in fact.)

...I hope it's funnier than I've just made it sound.

While it's not a traditional self-help manual, I do believe some themes I discuss are universal. (In fact, it's probably closer to a "What not to do..." manual...)

Sorry, I've gone on for longer than I meant to. Any advice and comments would be greatly appreciated!

Steven McKinnon is twenty-three, stuck in a dead-end job and running full-speed in the fast lane to nowhere. When does real life begin? How do you find happiness when you're your own worst enemy? And is the next custard cream really all there is to look forward to?

Not according to one of Steven's mates one night down the pub. 'It's time you found a girlfriend,' he says. It's good advice - at first. What follows is an odyssey into the depths of online dating that forces Steven to confront not only himself, but the reasons why he ended up so miserable in the first place.

How do you convince someone to love you when you can't love yourself? What if you embark on a journey of self-discovery and don't like what you find? Can he get the girl - or will it all go horribly wrong? Stopping off in Prague, Gothenburg, Newcastle and the sleepy hills of rural Scotland, Boldly Going Nowhere is the hilarious and achingly honest story of what happens when one man decides to take a stand - against himself.
 

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Hey Steven,
Make me interested in Steven.  Your first line does the exact opposite.
Why should I read about Steven?  Does he have the great skill of inserting his foot in his mouth?  Or the greater skill of both feet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very good question. He does a bit. *whips notepad out* Thanks Cin!
 

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I'm hopeless at blurbs, but I will say that it sounds like a novel at the moment. Maybe put something in about it being a true-life account. I hope it all worked out for you, anyway  :)
 

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I think I have your hook.
Join Steven on his great and sometimes hilarious adventures to find himself and the love of his life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Annabel Chant said:
I'm hopeless at blurbs, but I will say that it sounds like a novel at the moment. Maybe put something in about it being a true-life account. I hope it all worked out for you, anyway :)
Haha, thanks! Some victories, some defeats I suppose -- like any book! :) Thanks for the feedback, there probably should be something about it being a true-life account in the blurb, rather than just in the legal page. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
cinisajoy said:
I think I have your hook.
Join Steven on his great and sometimes hilarious adventures to find himself and the love of his life.
Something along those lines would work quite well, actually. Maybe with a pinch more cynicism? Cheers, you've definitely provided me with some great food for thought!
 

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Steven McKinnon said:
Something along those lines would work quite well, actually. Maybe with a pinch more cynicism? Cheers, you've definitely provided me with some great food for thought!
Change all names to protect the innocent and not so innocent. Please take that hook and make it fit you.
 

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I'd also strongly suggest fixing this sentence:  "Not according to one of Steven's mates one night down the pub."

Even if you add the missing preposition (at the pub), the structure would be better served as "Steven's mates don't think so" or something along those lines.  The "one night at the pub" part seems incidental.

This part you should take with a grain of salt, since I'm responding as a reader, not a writer:

It seems to me that the middle paragraph doesn't actually do anything to explain what this book is about.  Your blurb asks multiple questions, but what isn't defined is the story.  What is going on?  Is he just sitting about talking to his friends and thinking about questions, or do these questions get explored through some kind of major event (he meets a girl; he goes on a trip; etc.)?  All we have is "he tries online dating."  What makes that "an odyssey"?  What's exciting about that or different or compelling?

That's what seems to be missing for me.  If I were a reader, I'd probably ask one of the questions above -- especially "what is going on."
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
cinisajoy said:
Change all names to protect the innocent and not so innocent. Please take that hook and make it fit you.
Names have definitely been changed :)

Thanks again -- I'll remould it and come back here with a new and, hopefully, improved blurb (and post the cover at some point as well).

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
shaunduke said:
I'd also strongly suggest fixing this sentence: "Not according to one of Steven's mates one night down the pub."

Even if you add the missing preposition (at the pub), the structure would be better served as "Steven's mates don't think so" or something along those lines. The "one night at the pub" part seems incidental.

This part you should take with a grain of salt, since I'm responding as a reader, not a writer:

It seems to me that the middle paragraph doesn't actually do anything to explain what this book is about. Your blurb asks multiple questions, but what isn't defined is the story. What is going on? Is he just sitting about talking to his friends and thinking about questions, or do these questions get explored through some kind of major event (he meets a girl; he goes on a trip; etc.)? All we have is "he tries online dating." What makes that "an odyssey"? What's exciting about that or different or compelling?

That's what seems to be missing for me. If I were a reader, I'd probably ask one of the questions above -- especially "what is going on."
Interesting. For the pub bit, I hoped writing it as if it were being spoken (as if someone was telling another friend he was "down the pub" and something happened etc.) would draw people in, but maybe the colloquial tone is off-putting? Likewise for the questions at the end, but if they're more annoying than interesting, and therefore not inviting to readers, they'll definitely to be addressed -- or balanced with more plot detail, at the very least.

Many thanks for taking the time and offering feedback Shaun, it's definitely needed!
 

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Was he at the pub or putting the pub down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
cinisajoy said:
Was he at the pub or putting the pub down?
Quite often both, depending on the volume of tequila consumed!
 

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Steven McKinnon said:
Quite often both, depending on the volume of tequila consumed!
I think I want to read the uncensored version. :)
 

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Hey Steven,

Blurbs can be the stuff of nightmares.

I copied from your paragraph what in my opinion would be an excellent tagline below. Then I'd use the whole first paragraph up to custard cream and that's it. Just my opinion of course.

How do you convince someone to love you when you can't love yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
TessOliver said:
Hey Steven,

Blurbs can be the stuff of nightmares.

I copied from your paragraph what in my opinion would be an excellent tagline below. Then I'd use the whole first paragraph up to custard cream and that's it. Just my opinion of course.

How do you convince someone to love you when you can't love yourself?
Hi Tess,

Thanks for the feedback! I really like your suggestion, it addresses some of the issues raised, as well as cuts back on the length. Definitely going to experiment with it, thanks for taking the time to look over it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think your suggestions are definitely valid -- certainly, the type of books similar to mine have blurbs that could work for fiction.

Ha, I love the quote too. Wish I could say I came up with it!
 
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