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Submissions Week Day Five: Blurbs and Summaries

Submissions Week

Welcome to our first submissions week – were we’ll talk about all things submissions. This is a great opportunity for our newer authors to learn things from our veterans – how to prepare your story (whether it’s a short story, a novella, a novel, poem etc) for submission to a publisher.

Today’s topic – writing blurbs and summaries.

Let me start by saying that every author I know hates writing these things, but especially they hate writing blurbs. Few things a writer has to do inspire more fear and loathing.

By their very nature, shortened versions of your story tend to suck all the life and color out of it. Consider this hastily assembled blurb for the Hobbit:

“A hobbit (ha kind of half-sized man” sets out with a group of dwarves and an old wizard he doesn’t know in search of gold, and ends up finding a magical ring that lets him disappear, but it turns out to be an evil ring. And then they kill a dragon.”

See how it loses all the wonder, nuance, and color of Tolkien’s work? Plus you know the ending, and I’m fairly sure you don’t wanna read it now.

And therein is the challenge. To craft a blurb that does three things:

–reflects the work itself
–makes the reader want to read it
–doesn’t give away too much

So our questions for today: How do you write a good blurb? Are there any tops or tricks for getting it right? And can you rescue a bad one your publisher may send you?

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