Friday, March 05, 2010

Blurbs: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Technique is noticed most markedly in the case of those who have not mastered it." (Leon Trotsky)

I see a lot of blurbs on a daily basis... we post them with every review on LASR/WC/Aurora -- to the tune of about 60+ a week. And here's what I think:

Blurbs can make or break a sale.

If someone is looking to buy for the first time, a well-written blurb can really give them that extra 'bump'. For instance, I'm absolutely certain that my "warning" on "Kitchen Matches" was one of the reasons it sold so well. Here it is:
Warning: This story contains flying poultry, annoying older brothers, the occasional quote from Shakespeare, and enough sexual tension to overheat ovens—and engines.

So, a good blurb can help sell a book -- but conversely, a poorly written or poorly edited blurb can kill a sale, don't you think?

It's bad enough when a blurb is dull, but what about those riddled with grammatical errors, or those that don't actually say what the author thinks it says. I can't help but think if the author and editor take so little time with a 100 word blurb, what does the rest of the book look like?

Here are some I've seen recently (please note, I've changed them all slightly -- I've retained the errors, but have rearranged the rest so they're *hopefully* pretty unrecognizable). Can you find the errors?

1. Marine Core Sniper Bill Smith's attitude...

2. Can she be saved from the hoards of evil demons...

3. (Note: This one is from a time travel romance)... Events lead Mary to believe that John is from another time zone.

4. Joy and John Benning have lost their mittens. The Benning's can't seem to find them...

I could go on... and on... and on... but I won't.

What do YOU think? Would you buy a book with errors in the blurb?


You Are Wiley and Smart

You're the type of person who can get out of any jam. You always have your wits about you.

Other people find you to be a little dangerous! They know what you're capable of.

You are always planning and scheming. You can't help it - your mind never stops going.

You tend to outfox everyone standing in your way. You don't like to play dirty, but you will if you have to.

LOL... scared?



jmberrygirl said...

That's a big, fat NO! I know I'd be reading with a pen in my hand and marking the book up. Don't have the time or money to waste at this point in my life! =)

J.A. Saare said...

I've seen them before too...Can't say if I'd purchase or not. Depends on the author and interest, I suppose. ;)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I've been looking at blurbs recently, too. And my own. Mine do seem to be getting better. :)

But I just looked at one AFTER I read the book and was kind of ticked because the blurb led me to buy the book on false pretenses. Grrr....

Maria Zannini said...

Probably not. I'm the same one who is a stickler for good writing skills in blogs. I'm even tougher on blurbs.

Brandy said...

If the blurb has grammatical errors, I would be led to believe the book would as well. No sale from me. I dislike when the blurb's description is actually different from the book.

I hope you're having a good day.

Tori Lennox said...

Those blurbs are hysterical! And not in a good way!