Blurb Critique Thread

Discussion in 'Works in Progress' started by Paul Bellow, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I see what you're saying and I think this change is for the better. It definitely helps keep the comedic overtures going while focusing it. Thanks Man.
     
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  2. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Alright I wanted to get get some thoughts on this. I'm thinking of a bit of a rebrand for my Digital Sorcery Series because I feel like there are still some people reading it that are surprised by the humor in it. Most of the feedback I've heard on the series is that it is good and that what sets it apart from the rest of the LitRPG field is the bawdy, over-the-top offensive humor. I know in book two and the 1st draft of book three (which is about 85% complete) the humor is probably ramped up so I want to be very clear to readers and potential readers about what the series is at this point and I get the feeling that my current blurbs (maybe the cover too, but thats not as easy to change) don't completely convey this and I'll admit when i set up I didn't intend to write it as a comedy litrpg but hey it happened. This doesn't mean that the plot sucks or that there isn't one (I've heard the plot through book 2 is pretty solid actually). Anyways with this in mind I was looking at the blurb to book 1 and trying to rework it. Here's the original that is currently live:

    Old and about to die, Christopher Ryland is digitized in the new beta program offered by the Everlast Corporation. The beta promises eternal life in a video game, but as Ryland is soon to discover, he should’ve read the instruction manual first.

    The corporation failed to mention that it populated his new world with slavers, sadists, supremacists, and one very trollish elf. All right, that last one isn’t really their fault.

    Sure, he might live forever but with a serious lack of RPG knowledge this isn’t going to be the fun and relaxing retirement he imagined. He might not be the world’s greatest gamer, but he won’t let anything keep him down-not even fish herpes.



    And here is what I've worked up for the "rebrand":


    Dive in to the Comedy LitRPG seres for terrible people!

    Old and dying, Ryland is ready to start a new life in game so naturally he studies night and day for his new life. He’ll exploit every weakness, get all the legendary loot, and rise to be the most powerful being in all of Alderoth. Just kidding! He’s not even going to read the instruction manual before jumping in and bumbling around.

    He’ll be joined by a racist NPC, a black man from Mississippi, and the world’s biggest online troll. With such an exceptional group of people and a level of competence to match what could possibly go wrong?

    Yep he’s probably getting fish herpes…

    This book is rated M for Mature and the author would like to remind readers that he is not responsible when your boss gets mad at you for giggling yourself stupid over this book. Read at your own risk.



    Anyways what are your guys thoughts on all of this? Looking for feedback and what people think. I just feel like I need to emphasize the comedic elements more in selling it since that really is what sets this series apart from pretty much all the other LitRPGs. I could be wrong though.
     
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  3. Herko Kerghans

    Herko Kerghans Biased Survivor LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Not having read your book, and noting that I find humor very, very hard to pull of myself (in other words: if folks find your book funny, you sure as hell are better at it than me! =), I'd say that the new blurb is a bit too much in-your-face.

    I kinda think that what would work better is a bit of dead-pan humor of sorts, at least at first. Like, starting the first paragrah serious, adding a subtle joke in the second, and ramping from there. Kinda somewhere between blurbs #1 and #2, if that makes any sense?

    Sorry I can't offer any constructive examples! Personally, the first blurb already signals to me that there's comedy (I mean, really: fish herpes!? =); not sure I'd increase it much more. Just my 2 coppers! =)
     
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  4. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I think you are going in the right direction for the second blurb. When doing comedy, setup and punchline are as important as plot. Take a look at the blurbs for Terry Pratchet books for example (and then add a dose of bawdy to them.)

    Btw- you should really consider a recover. Your current covers are photorealistic and book 1 has a pair of hot girls. Imo that screams seriousness and/or harem litrpg to me.

    That said wow I am having a hard time coming up with a cover. Normally comedy fantasy goes for whimsical art. That's tricky here as it also needs to be mature/sexy but not romance/erotic... talk about a balancing act.

    Comedic PNR like Dakota's works are the first examples of style and tone which come to mind. Also, strangely, rom-com movie posters. Like a doofus guy clearly trapped in the crossfire of two female leads. That kinda stuff.

    My two cents.
     
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  5. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Alright I'm going to give the new blurb a try and add the "Comedy LitRPG for terrible people" branding to book two's description as well. I got mixed feed back on this from my testers (3 who liked it, 2 who didn't) If it doesn't work I can always change it back right, so i might as well test this out. It's a bit in your face, but I really think it will help find the right readers if I emphasize the kind of humor to expect in the book and that its not just a regular action/adventure litrpg.

    I agree with you about the covers but I can't change em right now, I just can't justify the cost of that at the moment. (Two new e-book covers, two new paperback covers, two new audible covers, and marketing materials) so for now I'm going to keep em. They at least say professional and look good even if they don't match the comedic element. I also don't want to pay for it if this is the wrong idea. (Marketing, my least favorite part of authoring). The series is profitable (well it will be when i get paid again because that god damn delayed kdp royalty payment schedule sucks lol) but not so profitable that I can justify redoing them at the moment. If the new branding increasing sales them maybe I'll be able to.

    Now I need to go find some more people to post reviews of book 2 on amazon because it's lagging well behind book 1 in that regard. I definately know why some people like publishers. It would be nice just to be able to focus on the writing aspect haha.
     
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  6. Alexis Keane

    Alexis Keane Level 14 (Defender) Roleplaying Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I get that you're trying to go for the whole Cards Against Humanity sort of addition there, however, if 40% of your testers are getting put off by it, it might not be quite right.
     
  7. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    A fair point, I just think it's worth testing it out at this point, but honestly the whole marketing/selling part of this thing is definately always going to be a work in progress for me. Haha.
     
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  8. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I'm about done with the first draft of Digital Sorcery 3 so that means it's about time to get working on the blurb. Here's what I've got so far, please let me know how you all would improve it:

    Red Snatch: Digital Sorcery Book 3

    Sail away with this third installment of the Comedy LitRPG for terrible people!

    Something suspicious is happening on the Saunora Isles. The governor is up to no good and there’s clearly only one group that can stop him. No I’m not talking about the Immoral Exiles. I’m talking about the Pirate Empress Red Snatch and her loyal crew of Butt Pirates.

    Escorting an undercover Katarina Amarion was supposed to be an easy straight forward mission ,but with Eldertits taking the reigns as a notorious pirate captain it threatens to be anything but. Conflicts appear everywhere as Elaria struggles with her feelings towards a certain human, Ryland discovers the joys of opium, and Rondo fights against not just a warrior of good but of social justice.

    With a crew like this what could possible go wrong? Oh right. Everything.

    Note: The author takes no responsibility if you get in trouble for laughing yourself stupid.
     
  9. Katastrophe

    Katastrophe Level 9 (Burgler) LitRPG Author Fantasy Author Citizen

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    FWIW I really like the "for terrible people" tagline and I laughed myself stupid during the first book. Also said, multiple times to my husband when he asked why I was laughing, "Because I'm a horrible person."

    (I'm really sorry I haven't read the second yet; work and adulting have kicked my ass this month. It's downloaded to my phone though!)
     
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  10. Maikel Yarimizu

    Maikel Yarimizu Level 9 (Burgler) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Swords Against Humanity?
     
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  11. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Glad you like it, I thought it would help to set it apart more from the pack.
     
  12. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Sorta, I would say the humor is probably somewhat similar lol.
     
  13. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Alright, here goes everything. Hey, @TravisBach, how's this suit you and your proper noun hating ways?

    A world doesn’t revolve around just one heroic act, and Athos isn't the only story on Incipere.

    Slaying monsters? Easy.

    Bringing foes to their knees? Satisfying.

    Harnessing the powers of fame and epic loot? Essential.

    Defeating a world-ending program stronger than the gods themselves? On the to-do list.

    When Incipere is put at risk by a glitched program beyond the law of the world, who else can you turn to but the heroes of a god? Ascended to the highest ranks possible by Unum itself, how far are the blade wielding River Hexi and the magically inclined Dante Rior willing to go to keep their home safe from cascading crashes and an impending system failure? With the blessings of their patron, their days of dungeon diving and arena combat have been set aside in favor of serving the greater good and winning just a little bit of fame.

    With the fate of the world on the line, what more could someone ask for?

    Updates always bring fun, interesting new features. Don’t they?
     
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  14. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    FWIW, I like it. Short and punchy. I did like the word Despite in the other version because it kinda gave an indicator you were about to describe the problem needed to be solved. HTH.
     
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  15. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I did too, but I think this is much more fluid. Spent two days reworking it. How's it look grammatically.
     
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  16. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Didn't see any problems. The "despite" could just be a personal preference. Looks good.
     
  17. Maikel Yarimizu

    Maikel Yarimizu Level 9 (Burgler) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Trying to come up with a blurb for a new episode:

    "The six kids around the gaming table thought their game couldn't get crazier after the mass riot in the last session. The uncle running the show decided to prove them wrong. Because there's more to the game than just battles...
    So now six princesses are let loose on high society in the Rose City of Baragoczy, navigating the still waters of courtesy where one misstep can drag you under. After all the fights, ambushes, and near-death experiences so far, a wedding banquet seems like the easiest encounter to be had. They'll learn otherwise soon enough."
     
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  18. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    ToT blurb:

    Vash Daniels was born without arms or legs, and his family is a dysfunctional mess of outcasts in a post-war authoritarian society. However, he loves life and living, and uses this optimism to win a high-end VR cortical modem in a contest. With it, he is able to enter the Metaverse and have fun with his otaku father.
    But when tragedy strikes and his already precarious life falls apart, Vash must enter a guerrilla battle royale-style eSports tournament known as the Tournament of Titans just to survive. As a first-timer, he must progress through the Noob's Tournament: the lowest tier, but one which still rewards the winning 3-person teams with $10 million, more than enough for Vash to save his family and himself.

    This won't be easy, for ToT requires all entrants to be Level 80— and he had only started playing a few hours prior. Even worse, he has less than a month to meet the challenge, which will require him to sacrifice all his time and energy during a time when his mother is weakest and the corporate-run State hounds them for every last penny. And even if he achieves this titanic goal, he will face off against players who have spent years practicing to pass the Noob's Tournament, who have mastered the ways of the game and are just as eager to stake their claim to riches.

    To the world, he says, "Bring it on."


    Walpurgisnacht blurb:

    Paul Chain seeks adventure in Tarranta, a steampunk city-state that seems to exude an air of progress and industry. His plans to join a major guild & go raiding are soon derailed, however, when he is framed for the triple-murder of the realm's grand duchesses and finds himself tagging along with a dark goddess and a murderous automaton for protection. He runs, fights, and even flies aboard a ghost ship in the sky to escape from the city— only to uncover a sinister truth festering just out of this city's sight, one which moves him to act against the same city he was once so eager to explore.

    But dark forces amass beyond his view and seek to complicate his just cause: Nazi vampires, aristocratic werewolves, social Darwinist elves, undercity gangs, and a mysterious witchcult of which he is falsely claimed to be a part. Even worse, he's the only member of his party who isn't a morally bankrupt lunatic.

    In his situation, you take whatever help you can get.
     
  19. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I also have a potential blurb for Pyramids: Big Brother Online, but I haven't started work on that one yet and it's possible it could change.


    During the day, Emery is an average guy living a mundane life in the suburbs. When he gets home and loads up an advanced world-building video game called 'YourWorld', he tries to be a decent leader to his many artificially intelligent underlings and citizens.
    But every man has his darker dreams, and Emery is no different, for in his attempt to maintain order in an increasingly chaotic simulation, circumstances require him to wield the heavy hand of tyranny. In doing so, Emery first tastes the electric rush of absolute, unrestrained power and chooses to take things to an ever-devolving extreme all to see how far a man can go when there are no consequences.

    His nation of Panamerica becomes a urine-soaked hellhole populated by only the most savage and meek. No one remembers what came before. All the population knows now is perpetual war, wanton brutality by their superiors, vicious class divides enforced by the most ruthless methods, and pyramid-shaped chimneys spewing acrid black smoke...

    All for the love of an anonymous tyrant known only as Brother Number One.
     
  20. HunterLegacyUniverse

    HunterLegacyUniverse Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    At the risk of being stoned....

    Too many blurbs contain plot and backstory.

    Blurbs should be about:

    Who is the main character?
    What are the challenges?
    What are the stakes?

    Plot is why you read the book. To find it out.
    Backstory is what you discover along the way.

    If you put it in the blurb, people don't need to read the book. Or they will react by not buying, because enough of the plot was given to know most of what was likely to happen, so why bother reading? Or this sounds exactly like....., why bother?

    The cover is what gets people's attention. The blurb is about seducing the potential reader into the book. And I use the word 'seduce' deliberately. You entice a reader into the sample. The sample sells the book by making them want to find out what's happening next.

    The blurb needs enough to make a connection with the potential reader, but they want to find out everything by reading it. And you want it read.

    Blurb writing is a different skill, one all Indie authors have to master.

    Most do it badly, and wonder why their books dont sell.

    Edit: As an example, I once helped someone with a blurb, and finally asked to read the story. The blurb was long winded about the Empire and its history, and had me wondering if it was too much.

    Turned out the story was a love story set on a ship, and had nothing at all to do with the empire the blurb was talking about, except being in that setting. Yet the author was so lost in his empire, he couldn't see what his story was actually about. The blurb promised EMPIRE, and delivered romance on a ship.

    When the blurb oversells the backstory, and fails to adequately prepare the reader for the real story, you end up with 2 things. 1. No sales. 2 1-star reviews.

    When the blurb oversells the plot, people decide they don't want to read it after all.

    The blurb needs to give the potential reader a reason for reading, not tell them what they'll be reading.

    If all else fails in writing a blurb, do what I do: Get cryptic. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019




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