Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Importance of Writing a Blurb

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A blurb is typically what is printed on the back cover your book. It’s purpose is to entice the reader into buying the book or taking it out of the library.  It’s got to be precise, well written and engaging. At two hundred words or less, it’s a quick glimpse into your story that’s probably 50k+ words.  

Why put so much emphasis on it? Well it’s for more reasons than you may think.

A well polished blurb can be pared-down even more and used in your query letters.  Think about it, the blurb was written to catch a reader’s attention and an agent or publishing house is who you want to read the book the most (at first anyhow!).  A blurb can be too long for a query letter but you should already have the good bones. You can work off that.

I belong to a writing group that meets weekly. We often have new people stopping in or people who can only make it on occasion. Several of our members give rambling ten minute long descriptions of their story before they read their pages. It’s repetitive for those of us who are there regularly and it takes up a lot of time.  If you have a blurb, you can read it and give them some info on the story without taking a whole lot of time.

Have you ever told someone you’ve written a novel and when they ask what it’s about, you find yourself with verbal diarrhea, telling them every piece of witty dialog you’ve written, every sex scene and all the plot twists? Not even your bestest friend or mom wants to sit through all that (and if they do, then they won’t need to read the book, you’ve given it all away!). While it would be unnatural to recite your blurb to them, you can use the blurb to give them a much more condensed version to pique their interest.

It may feel like a chore, trying to take your long story and explain it in a couple of paragraphs, but it will be well worth it in the long run and help you have a better handle on explaining your  work.

Share your blurbs with us!

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How Do You Measure Success?

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Ask this question to ten different people and you might very well get ten different answers.  Many may say success lies in the amount of money you make, while others will say it’s reaching your goals. Sometimes, it’s just not so easy a question to answer.

Is success selling a certain amount of books? I recently came across a quote that said: “The average U.S. book is now selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime”.  I’m not sure how true it is or where it came from, but if I used that to measure success, I have no doubt I’d be considered successful by year’s end.

Is it in the money you make?  Considering most authors I know work another job in conjunction with writing, I don’t think most of us are in it for the money.  Not to say that wouldn’t be nice, but I think most of us aren’t expecting to be able to live off our book royalties.

If your book gets picked up for movie, does that mean you’re a success? Probably! Hah except that they typical have to change the story to fit the different medium, so it doesn’t always end up as powerful as your writing, but I would definitely rank it up there high on the success ladder.

I think, for me, success lies in the reviews, both good and bad.  I think writing something that moves the reader enough to want to review it means your writing has touched them in some way.  Of course the good reviews make you feel better about your writing and it’s lovely to see people enjoying your story, feeling for your characters, etc. but I’ll take the bad as well and use it to better myself and my writing.

How do you measure your own success?

Help is available…

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In Heavyweight, Ian and his friends deal with a lot of issues: eating disorders, bullying,prejudice and the stress that comes along with school life.  Sadly, these are issues that many teens are dealing with these days. They aren’t to be taken lightly as these kinds of issues  can lead to hospitalization, depression and even possibly suicide.

Having the internet at one’s fingertips can assist someone in finding the help or support to get through these situations.  The Web allows for an anonymity that can help a teen or young adult feel more comfortable opening up and seeking assistant for their problems.

Here are some some websites and phone numbers that offer support:

Eating Disorders

  • Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention 1-800-931-2237
  • Eating Disorders Center 1-888-236-1188
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 1-847-831-3438
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Eating Disorders  630-577-1330, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday http://www.anad.org
  • Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline 800-USA-KIDS (800-872-5437) Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week http://www.thursdayschild.org

Bullying

Depression 

  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
  • National Hopeline Network 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE) http://www.hopeline.com/
  • The Trevor Project , 866-488-7386 (24/7) Live Chat  with the Trevor Project (Fridays 4pm- 5pm EST)
  • Crisis Call Center 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
    Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week http://crisiscallcenter.org/crisisservices.html

Stress and Anxiety

  • National Institute of Mental Health Information Center 866-615-6464
    8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
  • National Mental Health Association Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255)
    Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week http://www.nmha.org

LGBT Support

These are just a few of the many options out there.  Individual states also seem to have their own sites dedicated to school violence and bullying.

If you’re a parent, consider printing the list and hanging it somewhere your teen will see.  It could help them knowing the information is readily available and to know that you understand they may be going through difficult times.

If you’re a teen who is in over their heads, needs help but feel they have no where to turn, who is worried for a friend or wants to do something to help those suffering from any of these issues, do your research, join a forum, make a call or send an email.  You are not alone and there are others who understand what you’re going through and there is help out there.  Love yourself and know that you’re important and worthwhile.

Cover Reveal: After the Storm

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Yay! I’ve got this super pretty cover for a new book from a writing buddy of mine, Marie Landry, to share with you. Wait until you see, I bet you’ll want to run right out and pre-order it.

Ready?

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Should I leave you in suspense?

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Nahhh, I’m not that mean.

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Or am I?

Hahah!

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After-the-Storm-Marie-Landry-med

Ta-da!  Isn’t it really pretty? I love the softness of  it but the pop of color from the umbrella makes me think there’s hope.  I guess we’ll just have to read to find out for sure! (Go on, add it to your Goodread‘s list. You know you want to)

Synopsis:

For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying.

When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school.

Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…

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Since Valentine’s Day is later this week, I’ll share an excerpt from the book dubbed “First Kiss”

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~First Kiss~

River moves closer and wraps his arms around me. It’s exactly what I need, and I melt against him, putting my arms around him and holding on tight. His warm skin, soft shirt, and now-familiar scent combine to make me feel safe and…what? Happy? After what I went through with Sadie tonight, it feels selfish to be happy, but Mrs. Maracle’s words pop into my head. I deserve to be happy. My mom would want me to be happy, and she’d be glad that a boy like River could help me get there.

“Thank you,” I mumble against his neck.

“What for?” One hand moves is slow circles over my back before winding in my hair.

“For being here. I was going to apologize for making you come all this way when I can’t really hang out, but now I’m glad you’re here. I needed this.”

He eases away so he can look into my eyes, but his arms remain around me. He opens his mouth to say something but then closes it and shakes his head. His face is close to mine, and all I can think about is kissing him. I lick my lips involuntarily and his gaze moves to my mouth, lingering there. Blood rushes to my head, making me dizzy, and I rock forward on the step, gripping his arms tighter.

His eyes darken, and I know this is it. It feels like I’ve been waiting a lifetime for River to kiss me, even though it’s only been a few weeks. When his lips meet mine, I let out a soft moan that would normally embarrass me but I can’t bring myself to care. All I can think about is his lips on mine, his hands in my hair, the taste of his cinnamon gum on his tongue when it touches mine.

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Marie has a lot of great stuff going on to accompany this cover reveal.  She’s got a Rafflecopter giveaway going on, so be sure to click the link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

She’s also running a sale on Waiting for the Storm, a companion novel to After the Storm.

AmazonATS-CoverReveal-Celebration
*This is the US link, but it’s also on sale at Amazon Canada and UK
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

 

Marie-Landry-Author-PicBio:

Marie has always been a daydreamer; since early childhood she’s had a passion for words and a desire to create imaginary worlds, so it only seemed natural for her to become a writer. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece. She’s a hopeless romantic, an unapologetic eavesdropper (occupational hazard), an equally unapologetic squeeing fangirl, and a lover of swoonworthy book and TV characters. For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie any time!

 

 

 

Links:
Blog: http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieLandryAuthor?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SweetMarie83
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5188180.Marie_Landry

Lost in the shuffle

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With everything going on with the release of Heavyweight, another big change happened and I didn’t get to discuss it and share it with you all!

If you’ve been nosing around, you may have noticed one of my books has had a bit of a makeover. Thanks to winning second place in a “worst cover” contest (awww), Tears of a Clown was treated to a new cover by artist Mallory Rock.

We went back and forth  with ideas and possibilities.  It was hard, for me, to come up with a concept that represented the book but wouldn’t scare away readers (which I thought may have been possible with the old cover, even though I personally loved it).

Finally, after a lot of tweaking (I was picky and she was patient!), we settled on this colorful, graphic design:

tearsofaclown3DtransparentWe’ve got the tear, the heart for the romance and the pie for…well you’ll have to read the book to see where that fits in!

Right now only the digital version of the book has been changed, but eventually I will have her create the spine and back cover for the print version, so if you prefer the original cover, get it while you still can!

What’s your opinion on changing covers to books that have already released?