There's a lot of discussion as to what grabs a reader's attention about a book. Is it the title? Cover? Blurb? Excerpt?
This week I spent some time thinking about several of those things. I officially signed a contract for a Thanksgiving novella with The Wild Rose Press. The title I came up with even before I started writing the story: An Unexpected Blessing. So that's all good to go.
The trickiest things on this form were deciding on an excerpt and writing the backcover blurb. I worked on finding the excerpt first as technically this was already written and all I had to do was find the 'perfect' portion of the mss. Usually I go with a kissing scene for my excerpts, but this time I was undecided. I found several other passages that I liked as well. So, I copied and pasted them into an e-mail and took a poll of several of my friends, my sister, and my mom. Ultimately we decided on this:
“Are you going to dance with me or not?”
“Yes, ma’am, I am.” Joe stood and offered his hand.
Katy slid hers into his warm grasp. As always, his touch caused a little shock in her heart. The weight of a hundred pairs of eyes followed them out onto the floor. The dirt was packed smooth, and a ring of hay bales marked the area. Her tummy quivered with a combination of nerves and anticipation.
He found an open spot, which wasn’t difficult with the other couples affording them a wide berth, and then curved his arm around her waist to draw her close. Her body fit perfectly against him. A shiver tingled through her. She rested her free hand on his shoulder.
His thigh brushed hers as he rhythmically shuffled his feet to the music. His gaze captured and held hers. The rest of the room faded as she stared into the warm, melted chocolate brown of his eyes.
She didn’t care that people whispered. Snuck glances. Or outright gaped. All she cared about was swaying to a soft, slow beat. The quicker thud of her heart. Strong arms wrapped around her. And the desire to stay right where she was. Maybe forever.
Finally I turned my attention to writing the blurb. When I write a blurb, I start by going back to my synopsis. I take a couple of lines from the first two paragraphs about each character, focusing on goal, motivation, and conflict. Then I peruse the rest of the two page summary and try to narrow those seven or eight paragraphs into a few succinct sentences that will hopefully grab a reader's attention and make her want to read the book. Here's what I came up with:
Single mom Katy Roth thinks life can't get any worse. As Thanksgiving approaches, she finds little to be thankful for in a life that is quickly spinning out of control. To make matters worse, her parents have hired a new handyman.
Joe Mason is the town's bad boy. Literally. He's just returned from a four year stint in prison. He wants to put the past behind him and get on with his life. Trouble is, most folks aren't too thrilled he's back.
Especially Katy. Joe's had a crush on her since junior high, but she wants nothing to do with him. Until through her young son's eyes she discovers the good in him. Can they get beyond a small town's prejudice to hold onto a love neither expected?
One of the things I love best about TWRP is the amount of control and input we as authors have over these very important attention grabbers. So, what do you think? If you came across that blurb and that excerpt, would it pique your interest enough to want to read more?
Until next time,