Blurbs: Your Opinion, Please!

After the helpful feedback I garnered from my last appeal for opinions (#2 is looking like a winner), I am moved to ask again. This time, your opinion is sought on the matter of blurbs.

The blurb text will appear on the back cover of the hardcopy, and in the online sales pages for both hardcopy and ebook. It’s the first thing after the cover that has the chance to pique a reader’s interest in the book. It’s gotta be good, and it’s gotta be short. Brevity is the soul of wit, Polonius informs us, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes. Brief, therefore, let me be.

There are two groups of people I want to hear from in particular:

  1. People who have read the book.
  2. People who have not read the book.

Adrien Jean Madiol Peeling potatoes 1873
Read book or peel potatoes? Tough choice…
If you fall into the former category, let me know which of the following blurbs you think best fits the content and tone of the book (always bearing in mind that Some Changes Have Been Made).

If you fall into the latter category, your task is simple: say which of the following blurbs you find most intriguing; which most piques your interest in reading the book.

Feel free to make your feedback as detailed as you like – approve some sentences, denounce others, critique the commas, substitute the shoutlines – all feedback is welcomed. Bear in mind that the illustrations are provided purely for, er, illustrative purposes, and won’t actually be involved in the end product.

Now, with no further ado, let us bring on the contestants!

Contestant Number One:

It should have been a fairytale…

Lily was born to be queen of Arcelia, where the land itself has life and magic growing in it. The royal rite of Restoration Day renews that life, restoring every family to their ancestral lands.
A quest for the Restoration Requisites is Lily’s chance to leave her enchanted castle for the world beyond, taking her rightful place at last. Her fairytale is finally coming true. Or so she thought…
But Arcelia has changed in ways she never imagined possible. Lily’s quest soon turns deadly serious: if she doesn’t find the Requisites in time, the life of the land will be lost – and so will hers.

Restoration Day is coming…


Contestant Number Two:

Princess, pawn – or queen?

Princess Lily was born to be queen, but she lives like a pawn in the shadow of her aunt’s control. She dreams of the day when she will take her place in the world. At last her chance arrives, with a quest for the three Requisites of Restoration Day, the royal rite which renews the life of the land.
But she’s been hidden away too long, and Arcelia has changed. Stripped of everything but the identity which has become a life-threatening liability, Lily will need to do more than cross the board if she is to emerge triumphant as the queen she knows she must be.
The land she thought was hers becomes the field for a gripping game of chess – and this time she’s playing for her life.


Contestant Number Three:

When the people are divided
from each other and the land…

So runs the Fate, a warning of dark times for the land of Arcelia, where the land itself has life and magic growing in it. Arcelia’s Princess Lily escapes the confines of her sequestered childhood to seek the Requisites for Restoration Day, a once in a lifetime rite that restores ancestral lands and renews the land’s own life.
But Lily soon finds that being a princess in a magic land is nothing like a fairytale. Stripped of all she thought was hers, and running for her life, she must see through her quest before the Fate falls on her land and they both are lost forever.

…to a foreigner’s dominion
shall the land at last be lost.

book world

So what will it be? Contestant Number One, Contestant Number Two, Contestant Number Three, or Other? Have your say below!

12 Replies to “Blurbs: Your Opinion, Please!”

      1. I think because all the allusion that comes before puts you so clearly on the board – it’s almost a show vs tell moment: you’ve shown the reader she’s playing a game of chess, you don’t also need to explicitly tell them.

  1. I liked #1 best. (I have read the book.) It captured the problem with that alluring will she survive it ending.
    But I don’t like the heading very much (is that a shoutline or is it only a shoutline if it is in the middle of the text?). Of the three I think the ‘pawn or queen’ one is better, but … I didn’t get the feeling that this was about her becoming queen (I know it was but it didn’t feel like that to me) but rather getting recognition of her legitimate princessiosity, (which does, at the end make her queen admittedly). Are Queens really appealing compared to princesses?
    I felt the others had too many disparate details – they didn’t form a picture in my mind, though they are all accurate enough by blurb standards.
    I thought the Aunt didn’t make up enough of the story to get into the blurb.
    I’m glad you don’t mention the him and her relationship – that would be telling too much.

    1. Shoutlines are anything that’s in bigger text, usually at the beginning.
      If I understand you aright, you liked #1 best but you think #2 is better, subject to the mentioned issues?
      Princesses have rather more appeal to the popular imagination than queens, to be sure, but I think the difference between the roles is part of the story – being raised as one but needing to become the other. And of course, there are no princesses on a chess board.
      Ta for the feedback!

  2. I have not read the book.
    I prefer the second, but the specific use of the word ‘chess’ makes it sound less like an analogy and more like it is the overarching theme of the book.
    Otherwise, I preferred the third. It just dragged me in more.

  3. #2 is the winner but… I agree with Sara that the game of chess does not need a specific mention.
    #3 is Ok but “the Fate” is not a good way to express whatever you are trying to say. Possibly remove the 1st one and replace the 2nd one with “the inevitable”.
    #1 is just clunky. (with apologies to Des Carter). Possibly a rewrite would help it. But wait, that is what #2 and # 3 are.
    I haven’t read the book.

    1. Thanks, “Grandpapa”!
      Note to those who have read the book: “the Fate” is the name of a poem which was not in the draft you read 🙂 And the shoutlines are quotes from the poem. Sorry for the confusion!

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