Friday, March 15, 2013

The Blurb

King by Right of Blood and Might

I would like to present you with my first endeavor, a book that I have written titled King by Right of Blood and Might. It is a story about a young prince who must learn how to run a country from sources other than his father. His father, the king, had been a paranoid recluse ever since his own father died and he ran his family accordingly. During that time, the infrastructure of the country collapsed and many of its citizens were enslaved and taken away.

Knowing that he couldn't teach his son the things he wanted and needed to know, King Aidyn sent his son to foster with the neighboring king to the south.

After my young hero learned the things he needed to learn, he had to assemble an army and return home to reclaim and rebuild his own country. His unique friendships afforded him an unprecedented opportunity to do that. All that remained to be seen is if he can hold it all together long enough to achieve his goals.

During this time, we watch his mother descend into insanity and his love for his betrothed grow. We also learn more about how things in the country reached this state and more about his family.

written by Anna L. Walls

Prince in Hiding; Book 1 of The Making of a Mage-King series

What would happen to you if you lost your parents at 17? And then...

what if they weren't your parents at all? When Sean loses his parents within a year of each other he can't see past the tragedy...

until he finds out his father isn't really his father...

and Sean isn't who he thinks he is. Follow Sean through his journey to a magical world where he is royalty and his powers are only beginning to bloom...

and family is a relative concept - evil uncles and all.

Prince in Hiding by Anna Walls is the first in the Making of a Mage King series that follows young Sean from boy to Mage King!

written by Bruce Sarte

The Fortunes of Magic

Liam moved with his parents to a planet that had yet to become a full-fledged member of the empire; in fact, it was so new that it had yet to earn a name, still being classified as Planet 663-457. They came to study the people and their society, and judge their readiness to enter the empire.

The people of Planet 663-457 were happily lodged between the Iron Age and the Machine Age. The only, and by far biggest, difference between these people and the people of Earth was the fact that they were about four times the mass of the normal Earth human. This, however, didn’t stop twelve-year-old Liam from making fast friends with three local boys and they were soon inseparable.

There was one aspect about the planet and its people that Liam’s parents didn’t find out about until their son was irretrievably submerged in it - magic. Many people of Planet 663-457 had some modicum of magic, but few were strong enough to be able to access it. Those that were strong enough were brought to the masters for testing, and if they passed the test, the masters took on their training.

Join Liam as he tries to lead a normal life while those around him try to control or regulate the magic that is as much a part of him as the very air he breathes.

written by Anna L. Walls

The Speed of Dreams (kindle only so far - working to rectify that)

When all hopes of peace were shattered, Pilot Aaitt'Kaz was assigned to a new style of ship. It was built for speed and maneuverability, but Kaz had no time for admirations. Everyone was scattering, scrambling to get back to their command before being shot out of the sky. The ship had coordinates for him and then she had sleep for him - a very very long sleep.

A hundred thousand years later, after leaving his refugees to their best devices on a green and blue miracle of a world, Kaz woke again. The last thing he expected to do was fight to protect the descendants of his refugees from the carefully-cultivated warlike nature that had led to the destruction of his home world. The only way he could protect them was to prevent the military scientists from learning the hidden secrets of his DNA.

written by Anna L. Walls

White Star; Book 2 of The Making of a Mage-King series (when it makes it that far)

 When the long dead kings gave Sean their approval to wear the crown, they also gave him a mission.

...the thing is, they didn't tell him what it was.

Feeling like a giant hand was pushing him between his shoulder blades and pulling all his nerves and muscles into a hard fist in the process, Sean is driven... accomplish what?

All he knew was that he had his dear uncle's mess to clean up and he only had until the snow flew to accomplish it all.

written by Anna L. Walls

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These are mine and in the order they hit the stands, or Amazon actually. Forgive me for a little shameless self promotion; I did add links to Amazon. Yeah, I'm hanging my head is chagrin.

But that was not the point behind this post. The point is, what is it about a blurb that might make you pick up a book? Oh sure, first your reader will need to pick it up, and that's the responsibility of your cover and title - and eye-catcher of a picture as well as a hooker of a title, but what do they find when they turn the book over.

See my first book? Isn't it embarrassing? "Here, this is my very first book." That right there will likely cause 90% of readers to put the book right back down. Most first books are truly cringe-worthy, I know - I've struggled through quite a few of them since I published that book. Sadly, I can honestly claim ignorance on the matter. Me, an avid reader, but yeah. Once I made it past the subliminal cover-title hook, I'd look at the back and then the first page or so. As soon as the price was paid and I started reading, I was doing good to remember anything about the cover and title, and certainly not the author, and the back - long forgotten. They all did their thing though, and my reward was the story between the covers - that was the cream on top of the (insert favorite) pie.

Should by some slim chance, a reader make it past that shameful intro on the back of my book, the rest might not be so bad, but it is still amateurish. Imagine my surprise when reviews started showing up, and they were pretty darn good reviews. Now, some of those reviews were solicited after a fashion but none of them were paid for, and there's even a few left there by people I didn't even know bought the book. So, all things considered, I'm kinda proud of that book. It's not bad for a first. But even so, it's going to get a facelift one of these days.

Blurbs can be hard to put together. Prince in Hiding's blurb was written by my publisher. It's okay, and frankly I can't think of anything better. It does kinda grab your curiosity though.

The Fortunes of Magic was the easiest because I didn't have a word restriction. Well, I did, but it wasn't something I worried about until after I had a cover and it turned out my blurb fit.

The Speed of Dreams, I was given a word limit to stay within. Now that was a hard one. Expressing the dilemma in just so many words is hard. I ended up going pretty much sentence by sentence and judging each one. How vital - can it be shorter - is it already said - you all know the questions we ask. We tend to do it all through our manuscripts, but the blurb is intense, or can be.

White Star was kinda different. This version here might not be the last version, but it's been submitted so maybe it will be - we'll see. What I was aiming for was the same feel as the first book, and I'll try to do the same for book 3.

Am I getting better at book blurbs? I don't know. I was kinda hoping, seeing them all lined up here together, I'd be able to tell, but each one had their issues and differences (not counting my first one). If I go by sales, they'd be ranked like this:
Prince in Hiding - first place by a land slide
King by Right - second place merely due to longevity, though sales of eBooks have really picked up
The Fortunes of Magic and
The Speed of Dreams are both tied for 0 sales and so are tied for last place. But then they both only came out last month, so we'll see.

Well darn. This project ended up being something of a bummer, but no worries. I'm not worrying about it. It is what it is. I'm doing what I can, and can do no more. My books are there, and more will come one day soon (yeah that's plural). So my publishing future is bright.

So - Just curious - how do you handle your book blurbs? Do you do them yourself? Do you leave them up to your agent or publisher?


Willow Drake said...

Your work is amazing!!! King by Right of Blood and Might is one of my favorite books!!! I can't wait to read your others!

Anna L. Walls said...

You will, just as soon as I have all four of them in one place, I'll be mailing them out to you. Looks like it's going to be later than I anticipated.

William Kendall said...

I find myself thinking that sometimes the book blurb can hinge on as little as a single word; the wrong word can throw the whole thing out of whack.

Anna L. Walls said...

Sometimes all it takes is a single word or phrase to make or break a blurb, for sure.