Yesterday, I met with several members of Guelph Write Now at Lucie’s Restaurant in south Guelph.
Organizer Cindy Carroll suggested we draft two bios—a short bio (50 words or less) and a longer bio (100 to 150 words)—and a blurb (100 to 200 words).
Why are blurbs so important?
While book covers attract attention, most readers spend only a few seconds glancing at the artwork and graphics. The rest of the time is devoted to the promotional copy on the back cover.
Those few sentences or paragraphs carry the power of the book.
As I analyzed the blurbs of several novels on my bookshelves, I quickly realized what had attracted me to each book. The opening sentences of each blurb contained an unusual or provocative element that enticed me to continue reading.
It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself. (The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls)
New York, 1845. Mr. Poe’s “The Raven” is all the literary rage–the success of which a struggling poet like Frances Osgood can only dream. (Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen)
It’s a rainy evening in a Stockholm suburb, and five-year-old Tilde is hiding under the kitchen table playing with her crayons, when a man enters and beats her mother to death in cold blood. (More Bitter Than Death by Camilla Grebe and Asa Traff)
This September, Soul Mate Publishing will release my debut novel, Between Land and Sea.
Here’s my blurb…
After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged, weathered, and abandoned on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England. She faces her human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman.
With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, she reinvents herself as a career counselor, motivational speaker and writer of self-help books. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers. As Isabella evolves into Barbara Davies, she embraces her middle aged body and heals her bruised heart.
This contemporary version of The Little Mermaid can offer hope and inspiration to anyone who has been dumped, deceived or demoted. It may also appeal to mermaid enthusiasts.
As for the bio…
When it comes to fiction, the author’s bio many not be that important. While researching my favorite authors, I noted that many of them simply listed previous novels and awards. I did linger on those bios that described a non-linear path.
One of my favorites from Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry…
“Rachel Joyce is an award-winning writer of more than twenty plays for BBC Radio 4. She moved to writing after a twenty-year acting career performing leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and also winning multiple awards. Joyce lives in Gloucestershire on a farm with her family and is at work on her second novel.”