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Book Blurb Makeover!

Book-Blurb-MakeoverBook blurbs are the most important sales copy that you’ll write–yet authors often write them as an afterthought. Today we’re putting book blurbs first.

Think of your book blurb as an ad for your book. Do not summarize your story. Instead, arouse the reader’s curiosity with intriguing bits of information about your story.

Here’s how to write a book blurb that sells your book.

Step 1: The Headline

Your character’s job/place in life + a description + main plot action = Headline

Example:

A small town girl uncovers big time trouble.

Write down your headline and then play with a bit. Catchy headlines are great. Feel free to use familiar phrases with a twist. This creates familiarity and builds curiosity at the same time.

*Non-fiction writers should concentrate on the main benefit of reading the book:

Make $25,000 in 25 days with these 2 Things.

Step 2: Main Description

There’s a formula for this too:

Sentence 1: Character’s name + job + opening situation

Blythe Barnes is the new owner of Spin Me a Yarn, Bingo, North Dakota’s only combination book shop and yarn store.

Sentence 2: When + Inciting Incident

When she trips on a loose floorboard in the back of her shop, Blythe makes a disturbing discovery about the only home she’s ever known.

Sentence 3: Now + your character’s stakes/what she has to lose.

Now, with the help of a man she barely knows, Blythe must leave Bingo behind to right an ancient wrong and save the town she loves.

Once you have the basics down (like the above example,) you can spend some time reworking your sentences and adding to it until you have a compelling description. Many authors (even traditionally published ones) have mediocre blurbs at best, so this is your chance to shine.

*Non-fiction writers, here’s your structure:

Most important question + the answer

What does every self publishing author want to know? How to sell more books!

Then you need to tell the reader exactly how you are going to solve all of their problems. Lists with bullet points work best for this. If you want to see it in action, just check out the Self Publishing Toolkit on Amazon.

Step 3: The Proof

Follow the body of your description with a few (3 at most) review snippets that verify your awesome writing skills. After the reviews, you can put a short call to action like:  Scroll up and click buy to find out Blythe’s secret!

Calls to action are usually found on non-fiction pages but there is no reason why fiction writers can’t embrace the practice.

Head over to Amazon right now and spend a few minutes going over your book description. If sales have been slow, it’s an easy way to give your book a boost!

Seven Point Story Structure with Dan Wells

I was listening to Writing Excuses the other day and Dan Wells (Partials, John Cleaver Books) did a great break down of his take on the Seven Point Story Structure. With NaNoWriMo coming up quickly, I thought I’d share that info here.

He’s also got a presentation of the Seven Point Structure on YouTube, so I’m linking to those videos as well. ( Scroll down for the videos.) They are well worth watching, especially if you are struggling to come up with a plot.

He runs downs the plots of many books and movies as examples including Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice and The Matrix. I’ve also worked up a set of worksheets based on this structure (because after you know it, it is fun to find it in all of your favorite show and books.)

I’ll do a quick summary , give you some worksheets and a Scrivener Template* and you can watch the videos. It’s an awesome way to kick of NaNoWriMo with a strong start. (And increase the chances you’ll have something that you can eventually publish.)

*Please Note: The Scrivener Template must be imported. You cannot just double click on the file and have it open. If you don’t have Scrivener or want step by step instructions for using it, please download the free Author Toolkit.

Quick Notes

Here are a few quick notes on the presentation, so that you can get  jump on the information. The worksheet has a cover sheet that includes these notes:

The Hook

This is where your characters start from. You set up your character’s world and set their stakes (what they have to lose) in this part.

Plot Turn 1

This is the event that sets your story in motion.  It moves you from the beginning to the Midpoint. You character’s world changes here.

Pinch 1

Pinches are where you put pressure on your hero from your antagonist to force your hero into action.

Midpoint

The midpoint takes your character from reaction to action. At the midpoint, your character determines that she must do something.  (This can take place over a series of scenes.)

Pinch 2

Pinch 2 is where your story takes the ultimate dive. Your hero is literally sitting in the jaws of defeat. Everything has fallen apart.

Plot Turn 2

This point moves the story from the Midpoint to the Resolution. Plot Turn 2 is where you character receives the final piece of information that he needs to make it to the resolution. (No new information can be introduced after this point.) You character finally understands he has the power to achieve the resolution.

Resolution

Your hero completes what he sets out to do.

 

Download the Worksheets

7 point story structure worksheet - Self Publishing Toolkit

How to use the Worksheets: The first page contains the definition of each point and three examples. The second page is blank. Since your story will likely have more than one thread, you can assign each thread to a column and see how they weave together to form your story.

Watch the Videos

This is a 5-part series and they are listed in order. It’s worth watching all of them to get the concepts completely drilled it into your head.

The Indie Author Toolkit

I am super, unbelievably excited to announce the debut of the Self Publishing Toolkit’s first child: the Indie Author Toolkit!Download the SPTK Author Toolkit

The Self Publishing Toolkit’s Indie Author Toolkit has everything you need to write your next novel in one package–all you need to add is your imagination.

Inside the Toolkit, you’ll find:

  • Scrivener 30 day free trial (This is the only program you need to write a novel! It is the total package from start to finish.)
  • The Scrivener Quick-Start guide to get you up and running as fast as possible.
  • The Self Publishing Toolkit Scrivener Template – This template takes all of the best practices outlined in the Self Publishing Toolkit and puts them to work for you. It also includes tips inside the program to advise you as you work.
  • Grammar Matters – A quick reference quick to the most common grammatical mistakes and how to fix them. Also includes a complete guide to punctuation.

The Indie Author Toolkit is yours to download. Simply fill out the form below and get free instant access to this one of a kind toolkit.