Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Blurb

As promised yesterday when I was bigging up new books by Maria Zanini and Inky Fool,  here's the blurb I'll be shortly sending to potential agents about my novel. I welcome comments.

It's the first in a series planned in the same general location with the same main characters:

The (Un)Dead Residents Association

A rom-com with added zom!

Conscientious but accident-prone, Laura Moon* – the council’s new community engagement officer - has discovered shifty goings-on at the Town Hall, but where’s the proof? The planning officer and his files have vanished, one of the Councillors is a little tied up just now – literally – and Laura's efforts at damage limitation have started an escalating cycle of disasters: leaks to the press, community unrest and some residents not being quite as deceased as they used to be.

It's going to take all her witand tenacity to sort out friend from foe and find out what’s really goingon.  Who is the mysterious figure lurkingin the cemetery? What ingredients didthe library users put in their ‘special’ recipe? Why do all those builders look so hungry? And how do you get a dead person to hold apress conference?

* I'm still struggling with name for main character - she's about thirty, British lower middle class, bright, quirky, not too 'girlie'. Do we like Laura Moon? What about Julie Moon? Noon? I know I went into all this with you in Naming the fish but I got some very silly answers then... Cressida Trout, Anna NotherMess, Donna Hatt... although The Invisible Woman's suggestion is still in the offing - Liz Pelling (Miss Spelling to you!)

p.s. Although this isn't a horror book - it's more a comic satire - yes there are zombies in it - it was sort of an accident but took the book in a really interesting direction. However it raises the thorny issue of genre. Am I digging a hole for myself here?


  1. I think that's brilliant. Your book sounds fascinating. Blurb is incredibly hard to get right, and this seems spot on. My only suggestion would be that you end the first paragraph at "disasters". It increases the sense of mystery.

    (The last time I made a suggestion on a blog - requested, I might add - the writer - the blogger loftily withdrew her blog-friendship, so I make this suggestion in all humility!).

  2. Hmm, this has some tasty ingredients, BB. Thanks for whetting my appetite.

  3. I like the blurb, most definitely.

    What about Nia Midnight for your heroine?!

    Good luck with the book! Fhina x

  4. I think you have all the right elements, but I'm not sure they're in the right order.

    The first paragraph is too long and fussy. You might try starting off with short, punchier lines like you did with the second paragraph.

    Also, while I like the feel of the blurb, it could be funnier if you say right off the bat that Laura is running from zombies intent on making her their next meal.

    I would start with this line: Some residents are not quite as dead as they used to be.

    This will immediately identify the book as funny, zombie and quirky.

    Ref: name
    I like Laura Noon, or how about Laura Noonish?

    All in all, I really like the concept of this story. And Laura sounds like an immensely likable MC strong enough to carry her own series.

    Hope this is useful.

  5. Frances - Thanks for the encouragement and the suggestion! I would far rather have constructive criticism than people not saying what they think.

    Martin - Probably too many ingredients - I'm already straddling genres and there's a lot more ingredients not mentioned here!

    Fhina - Like the name! (But it's a wee bit 'genre' - the other books in the series don't have anything ghoulish about them... yet!)

    Maria - Thanks so much for taking the time to comment - really useful advice there and it makes perfect sense. I've been struggling because it isn't really a zombie book - or it didn't set out to be! - but maybe I should just go with it now they're there!

  6. Hi Clare. Sounds fantastic and definitely in the 'would read more' category for me. But this feels to me like a blurb (that would eventually go on the back cover of the book to pique the reader's interest), which, so I'm told, isn't what agents want. What they want is a synopsis (that tells all of the story - including the ending - so they can tell whether you can tell a story). They'll also want a covering letter, which will include something like your blurb, but without all the rhetorical questions.
    And while I quite like 'rom-com with added zom', be aware that this was used quite extensively for the film Shaun of the Dead...
    I'm coming across as all knowledgeable here, when I'm not, but if you don't know about it already, I'd recommend Nicola Morgan's Write To Be Published, which gives sensible but scary advice about the whole bloomin' process.
    Good luck!

  7. Lev - Thanks so much for taking the trouble to respond. This is actually the blurb from the letter to agents - I didn't know about the rhetorical questions so that's useful. I'm really grateful you mentioned the Shaun of the Dead thing - I hadn't heard it used elsewhere and am gutted! 8-(

    I've got a couple of books on novel-writing which give wildly varying advice and am trying to distill what they agree on - will look up Nicola Morgan, cheers for the tip off!

  8. Love it you mentalist! Only you could write a book with a blurb like that, but it sounds fab.

    I would help you with a name for your main character, but I am rubbish with names. I have only ever chosen one name for someone else and that was for my daughter .... I chose Olive. And everyone promptly over-ruled me. So, for reasons beyond my control, she is now called Isabella. Fussy or what?

  9. I like Laura Noon. And like someone else says, the Nicola Morgan website is great for stuff like this. If your novel is as good as your poetry, you're onto a winner there.