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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New takes!
Wifey and I worked on this. I have bought the book that was mentioned and have read half of it and am working partly off of that, and partly off of just taking a fresh angle on it.

Here are a few new takes Wifey and I came up with. Let us know which ones you like, which ones you hate, if you have a favorite, etc. :) And if you have any further feedback and advice, please go for it!
Thank you all so much for your help!

Take 2:
"Don't look her in the eyes. You can't appear weak, but you can't seem aggressive, either. We can't afford any mistakes - one wrong move could set her off."
Prisoner 286 is a notorious convict, infamous for her many spectacular escapes from Altairan custody. The Altairan government has one final plan to bring her under control, but even they doubt its chance of success - and the survival of the one woman willing to attempt it.

"Tell me, traveller, have you heard of the sacking of Scavenger's Rest? I was there. I saw the gleam of armor, the shadow of arrows raining from the sky."
Branwen Hawke is a war veteran, a survivor from a pre-industrial world who violates her culture's taboos and seeks refuge among the stars. But now, destiny seems to be forcing her back into what thrills her and disgusts her the most - the art of conflict.

Handed an unlikely crew consisting of a pilot cut off from her home, an engineer with crippling anxiety, an innocent-seeming young medic, and a notorious criminal and her handler, Branwen must find a way to not only keep them together, but to thrive. While rescuing the lives that inevitably fall into her hands.
Take 3:
Prisoner 286 is a notorious convict, infamous for her many spectacular escapes from Altairan custody. The Altairan government has one final plan to bring her under control, but even they doubt its chance of success - and the survival of the one woman willing to attempt it.

Branwen Hawke is a war veteran, a survivor from a pre-industrial world who violates her culture's taboos and seeks refuge among the stars. But now, destiny seems to be forcing her back into what thrills her and disgusts her the most - the art of conflict.

Merlo is a pilot and student in an experimental, advanced training program. But she is lost, the only one from her distant planet. She searches for allies, while battling self-doubts about her past and those who stranded her.

Branwen finds herself captain of a starship, with an unlikely crew: an overly anxious engineer, a stranded pilot, an innocent medic, and a notorious villain and her handler. She seeks to find a way to not only keep them together, but to successfully complete a mission that could set her ship's reputation. But when lives fall unexpectedly into her hands, can she save them?
Take 4:
Branwen Hawke left behind the swords and castles of her homeworld to take solace from her lifetime of warfare. Now the captain of a one-of-a-kind starship and an unlikely crew, she must find a way to keep it together and thrive. But even with a lifetime of leading armies and governing lands, Branwen has her hands full with a lost pilot from a distant world, an engineer with crippling anxiety, an innocent-seeming young medic, a Lady of the Guild, and the notorious criminal in the Lady's care. Now tasked with an important mission that could make the crew's reputation, Branwen must face her inner turmoil and find peace despite the struggles she can't escape, while safeguarding the lives that inevitably fall into her hands.
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Original post:

Hi guys!
This time I'm here for my wifey's blurb! Her story is Space Opera.
I know the blurb we have right now is long. She has an idea, and she thinks it could be intriguing and draw attention, but we wanted to see what you guys have to say about it.

This story has a lot of characters, but the "Main characters" are these three. This blurb is pretty similar in a lot of ways to what Brandon Sanderson's blurb for "The Way of Kings" looks like, and I'd say that my wife's book has some similarities in that there are three major characters who will be followed and thus, who you need to know something about.

Take 1
"Don't look her in the eyes. You can't be aggressive, but you mustn't appear weak. Show neither arrogance nor superiority. But if you seem too kind, indifferent, or avoidant, she may mistake it for weakness. We can't afford any mistakes - one wrong move could set her off."
Prisoner 286 is one of the most notorious convicts in recent history, and the results of her many escapes from Altairan custody are both spectacular and legendary. The Altairan government has one final plan, a desperate, last-ditch effort to bring her under control, but even they doubt whether anyone can work with the powerful Kinetic well enough to make the plan succeed - and survive the attempt.

"Tell me, traveller, have you heard of the sacking of Scavenger's Rest? I was there. I saw the gleam of armor, the shadow of arrows raining from the sky - and let me tell you, I barely survived to speak of it."
Branwen Hawke is a veteran warrior, a survivor of multiple campaigns across a pre-industrial world. Desperate to escape her past, she violated her culture's taboos and sought refuge in the stars. Now the captain of her own starship, destiny seems intent on forcing her back towards what both thrills her and disgusts her the most - the art of conflict.

"We have one chance. When that slipknot opens, one ship goes through and the people on it must be the best we have. If they fail, all is lost."
Merlo is a lost pilot, the student with the most potential from an experimental, highly advanced training program. However, she's cut off from her people, the only one from her planet in this side of the galaxy. Carving out a place for herself involves finding allies and friends, while battling doubts about herself, her past, and the ones who left her stranded here.
 

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Wow, sounds great, I really want to read this book :D  Great job on the blurb but I agree that it's a touch too long. Maybe a nip here and a tuck there
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Eee! Thanks so much for the response guys. Wifey really got a confidence boost from the bits of positive here. :) She was worried it'd get thrashed and I told her not to worry because I know she's writing an awesome story. I'm excited that you guys like the concept. I know it's long and we need to try to trim it a bit if we can, but the idea is really intriguing and I think it really catches attention because of that.


On Amazon, what would show in the top part above the fold would probably just be the first paragraph about Prisoner 286. Sadly, it wouldn't show the rest I think, and I'd worry that the rest of the blurb would get ignored and then people would feel like the blurb tricked them when the whole book wasn't about Prisoner 286.

I wish I could see how much of the blurb would fit above the fold for sure. If it at least showed the next paragraph, it'd probably be okay because it'd cut it off partway through and interested readers would click "Read More" to see the rest. Hmm.
 

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OK, if I overstep here, I apologize... I'm a reader and narrator, not an author. But, as a reader, here are my thoughts: They have good meat, but you're right... they are a bit long. I wonder if she might trim them to just the Punch bit? Leave some of the character description out and make us want to know it?

I think what she has here is the proper long-form versions of this, but for the blurb you can almost bullet point things... you almost want things you can imagine hearing movie trailer style these days "IN A WORLD....." ;)

I just did strikethrough on the bits I think she can trim down and blend to get the Bing, Bing, Bing to my reader's ear.

"Don't look her in the eyes. You can't be aggressive, but you mustn't appear weak. Show neither arrogance nor superiority. But if you seem too kind, indifferent, or avoidant, she may mistake it for weakness. We can't afford any mistakes - one wrong move could set her off."
Prisoner 286 is one of the most notorious convicts in recent history, and the results of her many escapes from Altairan custody are both spectacular and legendary. The Altairan government has one final plan, a desperate, last-ditch effort to bring her under control, but even they doubt whether anyone can work with the powerful Kinetic well enough to make the plan succeed - and survive the attempt.

"Tell me, traveller, have you heard of the sacking of Scavenger's Rest? I was there. I saw the gleam of armor, the shadow of arrows raining from the sky - and let me tell you, I barely survived to speak of it."
Branwen Hawke is a veteran warrior, a survivor of multiple campaigns across a pre-industrial world. Desperate to escape her past, she violated her culture's taboos and sought refuge in the stars. Now the captain of her own starship, destiny seems intent on forcing her back towards what both thrills her and disgusts her the most - the art of conflict.

"We have one chance. When that slipknot opens, one ship goes through and the people on it must be the best we have. If they fail, all is lost."
Merlo is a lost pilot, the student with the most potential from an experimental, highly advanced training program. However, she's cut off from her people, the only one from her planet in this side of the galaxy. Carving out a place for herself involves finding allies and friends, while battling doubts about herself, her past, and the ones who left her stranded here.

Arshness said:
Hi guys!
This time I'm here for my wifey's blurb! Her story is Space Opera.
I know the blurb we have right now is long. She has an idea, and she thinks it could be intriguing and draw attention, but we wanted to see what you guys have to say about it.

This story has a lot of characters, but the "Main characters" are these three. This blurb is pretty similar in a lot of ways to what Brandon Sanderson's blurb for "The Way of Kings" looks like, and I'd say that my wife's book has some similarities in that there are three major characters who will be followed and thus, who you need to know something about.
 

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That's a great blurb and definitely makes me want to read the book. Though I agree that it's a bit long, but then space operas with multiple characters can be hard to blurb. I'd probably take GT's suggestions regarding shortening the blurb a bit.

BTW, when your book and your wife's come out, feel free to submit them for a new release spotlight to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a blog for all things indie science fiction, fantasy and horror that I run with another KBoarder, cause your books sound as if they'd fit right in. We're 100% free BTW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
CoraBuhlert said:
That's a great blurb and definitely makes me want to read the book. Though I agree that it's a bit long, but then space operas with multiple characters can be hard to blurb. I'd probably take GT's suggestions regarding shortening the blurb a bit.

BTW, when your book and your wife's come out, feel free to submit them for a new release spotlight to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a blog for all things indie science fiction, fantasy and horror that I run with another KBoarder, cause your books sound as if they'd fit right in. We're 100% free BTW.
Oh wow thank you! We'll definitely try to chop it down a bit and see what we can come up with. It's REALLY hard to remove some parts because they are perhaps more vital than anyone knows to create the feel we want to give for the book. But we will definitely try to trim it down a little.

And that's awesome! We'd really appreciate that.
Sci fi, Fantasy, and horror. Does that include Urban Fantasy? If so, could I submit my book to it too when it's ready?
And regardless, thank you for letting me know about it and taking the time to respond on my wife's blurb!
 

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I'm going to be a contrarian here and say that, while I liked the bold parts of the blurb, I don't care for the italicized parts -- they don't add anything of substance to a really long blurb.

Each of the three main characters sound really interestingly complex, but the blurb fails to tell me how their lives will intersect, or how their individual lives and choices will work toward a bigger story line. Because the blurb makes me like all three characters, I'm wondering who/what the villain(s) is/are. In other words, set up the conflict better. Right now, it's like saying "a thief, a soldier, and a student...," without even saying "walk into a bar," much less why. I love space opera, so if the story is more episodic than epic, it would still help to know how each character's personal conflict will ricochet into the others.

For the problem mentioned above, about how much text you can get in before a buyer has to click the "read more" link, maybe start out with the serious version of my joke lead-in, to give potential readers a sense of the scope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
cvannatta said:
I'm going to be a contrarian here and say that, while I liked the bold parts of the blurb, I don't care for the italicized parts -- they don't add anything of substance to a really long blurb.

Each of the three main characters sound really interestingly complex, but the blurb fails to tell me how their lives will intersect, or how their individual lives and choices will work toward a bigger story line. Because the blurb makes me like all three characters, I'm wondering who/what the villain(s) is/are. In other words, set up the conflict better. Right now, it's like saying "a thief, a soldier, and a student...," without even saying "walk into a bar," much less why. I love space opera, so if the story is more episodic than epic, it would still help to know how each character's personal conflict will ricochet into the others.

For the problem mentioned above, about how much text you can get in before a buyer has to click the "read more" link, maybe start out with the serious version of my joke lead-in, to give potential readers a sense of the scope.
My opinion may not count since I'm biased and love the story already (and the characters)... But I'm your opposite I think. I LOVE the italicized parts.
They give a peek at the character. The bold parts tell us a little more. :)

I mentioned putting in something to tie them together, but part of the book is seeing what becomes of otherwise disparate people who have been mentioned in the first few chapters.
It's again, similar to The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson's blurb.

In The Way of Kings, #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson introduces readers to the fascinating world of Roshar, a world of stone and storms.
It has been centuries since the fall of the Knights Radiant, but their mystical swords and armor remain, transforming ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for them. Wars are fought for them and won by them.
One such war rages on the Shattered Plains where Kaladin, son of a surgeon, has been reduced to slavery, and Dalinar, commander of the armies, is plagued by dreams of ancient times, doubting his own sanity.
Across the ocean, Shallan, a naïve but brave and brilliant young woman, plans a daring theft to save her impoverished noble house from ruin.
The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is Book 1 of The Stormlight Archive, an epic fantasy masterpiece in the making.
I don't know if you've read this book (though I HIGHLY recommend the series), but the thing about it is... if this blurb had told me how these people end up connected, it would have ruined a huge chunk of the story that the author was trying to tell.

And for my wife's story, there's a similar issue. You can't know what their connection is from the beggining. It would ruin too much of what the story is about.
The story my wife is telling is highly character driven. And these three are the central cast, but how they become relevant to each other is part of the fun.

And if we told you who the villain was exactly, that'd ruin some of the truly artful things my wife has done that make you wonder about that as the story begins. :)

But again, I'm biased.

I am amused because you said it's like saying "A thief, a soldier, and a student...". Glancing back at Sanderson's blurb (which I never read before I read his book), it says, basically "A slave, a soldier, and a student..."
I noticed this blurb doesn't say anything about what the conflict of the story is about either. Or the villain.
So I don't suppose that's a hard rule?

Either way, if the blurb has made you interested in the characters, it's done its job. The characters drive this series, so if you don't like the sound of them, you wouldn't like it. And vice versa. :)
 

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Arshness said:
My opinion may not count since I'm biased and love the story already (and the characters)... But I'm your opposite I think. I LOVE the italicized parts.
They give a peek at the character. The bold parts tell us a little more. :)
The italicized parts do nothing for me, because I don't know who's speaking, nor do I know who they're speaking to.

Arshness said:
I mentioned putting in something to tie them together, but part of the book is seeing what becomes of otherwise disparate people who have been mentioned in the first few chapters.
It's again, similar to The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson's blurb.

And if we told you who the villain was exactly, that'd ruin some of the truly artful things my wife has done that make you wonder about that as the story begins. :)

But again, I'm biased.

I noticed this blurb doesn't say anything about what the conflict of the story is about either. Or the villain.
So I don't suppose that's a hard rule?

Either way, if the blurb has made you interested in the characters, it's done its job. The characters drive this series, so if you don't like the sound of them, you wouldn't like it. And vice versa. :)
As a reader, I prefer to know what kind of a conflict is going on, because that determines what kind of story it is. The blurb sounds interesting, but I have no concept of the throughline of the story. I don't even know if all three of these characters are supposed to be protagonists, or if Prisoner 286 is going to be a bad guy. For me, it would be important to have a hint, because I buy books based on if the blurb/characters sounds interesting, but I choose when to read a book based on the kind of book I'm in the mood for.
 

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I agree with cvannatta and Shane. The italicized parts add nothing. In fact, they detract. The rest of the blurb is wordy. Here's a pared-down version to demonstrate how you can convey the same messages without all those words.

Prisoner 286 is notorious for her spectacular escapes from Altairan. The government has a plan to bring her under control, but they doubt its potential for success and for the survival of those who attempt it.

Branwen Hawke has survived campaigns across a pre-industrial world, violating her culture's taboos and seeking refuge in the stars as captain of her own starship. But destiny forces her back toward the conflicts she has tried to escape.

Merlo is a pilot and student in an experimental, advanced training program. But she is lost, the only one from her distant planet, and she searches for allies, all the while battling self-doubts about her past and those who stranded her.
I would add here in as few words as are needed what's at stake in the story and the consequences if the MCs fail.

This is just a rough hack at it, but you get the idea. Fewer words. Less is more. The story sounds compelling.
 

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Arshness said:
Oh wow thank you! We'll definitely try to chop it down a bit and see what we can come up with. It's REALLY hard to remove some parts because they are perhaps more vital than anyone knows to create the feel we want to give for the book. But we will definitely try to trim it down a little.

And that's awesome! We'd really appreciate that.
Sci fi, Fantasy, and horror. Does that include Urban Fantasy? If so, could I submit my book to it too when it's ready?
And regardless, thank you for letting me know about it and taking the time to respond on my wife's blurb!
Yes, we take urban fantasy and have featured quite a few UF books to date.
 

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Just my two cents, and I'm not a blurb expert by any means, but this feels more like some character sketches than a cohesive blurb.

First reaction: I was interested in Prisoner 286, but then was tempted to start skimming because we kept switching topics/characters, and it felt disjointed.

They sound like interesting characters, but with an ensemble cast, where it truly isn't about any one or two characters, I'd probably focus on the plot/conflict and work in mentions of the unique characters, but not spend a paragraph focusing on any of them. Either that or I'd pick someone to focus on and just accept that the blurb is designed to get someone to buy the book, not necessarily portray exactly what's going on in the whole novel.

If you haven't picked up Libbie Hawker's ebook on blurbs, I think it's only 99 cents. She also has videos up on her site that explain the gist for free.

Lastly, I'd look at the Top 20 space opera books on Amazon and see what they're doing (hey, maybe I'm totally wrong, and 3-person blurbs are all the rage now), since it's obviously effective. Brandon Sanderson's blurb could be, "Some dudes go on a quest" and people would buy it. At this point in his career, he's in such a different position from most of the rest of us that what he (and his publisher) does for marketing is honestly kind of irrelevant.
 

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I've never seen a blurb with quotes threaded through it before. In it's way, that's intriguing. But it's also complex. Shifting between three characters adds to the complexity. So does flipping between bold and italics. In addition, the blurb is 305 words long, and (running it through Word) the sentences per paragraph are 19, words per sentence 16 and its flesch readability score is 65%.

What I'm trying to say is that the blurb is complex.

I'm not saying the blurb is bad, or good. I'm not saying it will or won't work in the market place. I think it'll resonate with a certain market segment, but the market segment for simplicity is always going to be bigger than the market segment for complex.

I liked several aspects of the blurb. This is the part that I liked most: "Tell me, traveller, have you heard of the sacking of Scavenger's Rest? I was there. I saw the gleam of armor, the shadow of arrows raining from the sky - and let me tell you, I barely survived to speak of it."

But I like high style prose. Others will be more attracted by character elements, or plot elements.

There are enough elements for half a dozen or more blurbs though. My suggestion is to focus on just a few of them and drive them home with clarity and simplicity.

Hope that helps.
 

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I like it.  But I can't tell if it's one story or three short stories in an anthology of some sort.  The length doesn't bother me, I just hope you have a cover that's eye catching enough that people make it to the blurb. 
 

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SBJones said:
I like it. But I can't tell if it's one story or three short stories in an anthology of some sort. The length doesn't bother me, I just hope you have a cover that's eye catching enough that people make it to the blurb.
this. and i couldn't tell if the prisoner was the same as one of the other characters....
 

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When I'm looking for a book to read, the wordiness of the blurb is the last thing I worry about.  Unless it's multiple pages long, it doesn't bother me.  If it's good, it's good no matter the length.  But ..... that's just ME.

So, I really liked the original blurb.  It is, as someone aptly described, "complex."  But, I like that because I like some complexity.  I do understand where they came from as it is difficult to understand, but it grabbed me from the beginning and I put a few extra seconds into it.

Now, I will admit, I also liked what Al Stevens did.  It also grabbed me. 

I think the issue is, the shorter blurb has the potential to "grab" more people.  Because, like I said, if it's good, it's good no matter the length (within reason).  And more people (apparently : ) will read shorter blurbs.

Of course, take the above with a grain of salt.  Maybe I just say I like longer blurbs because I cannot for the life of me get my own blurb anywhere within spitting distance of what Al created : ) 

Okay.  I've been gentle with my blurb up to now.  Where's my chainsaw ........

GeoffW
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you all for your feedback! I've spoken with my wife about it and we're going to try to make an alternate version with shorter, more direct angles.
I still love the way this blurb reads, and I am really pleased that a large number of you have said you were intrigued with the story regardless of the complexity or length of the blurb.
It seemed most people, even if they didn't like the unusual format of the blurb, found the content to be compelling, and I think the story speaks for itself with that.
But I also see some points of confusion coming through that tell me we need to rework this to some degree at least.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond! Any further feedback will totally be appreciated.
I looked up the Libbie Hawker book that was mentioned and we'll see what we can do with that!
Thanks guys! You're all the best!
 
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