Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blurb Writing 101 - Part 1 - Study The Experts by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Blurb Writing 101
Part 1
Study The Experts  

I put the following into a Facebook post on the Sime~Gen Group as we were wrestling with creating the back cover copy for the upcoming Sime~Gen release, an anthology of stories by 11 writers edited by 2 other writers, not Jean Lorrah or Jacqueline Lichtenberg.   

The Facebook Group is centered on the Sime~Gen novels, but that encompasses so many topics (as a "built" world, it contains everything - and we're still building), that there is hardly anything that isn't being discussed.


The video below is about the Middle East mess, but the subject of the Facebook post is the creation of a SHORT explanation of the world I have built around the Sime~Gen Characters (which just gets more complicated as Jean Lorrah adds to it all).

To accomplish the creation of this blurb, I've been trying to teach a whole profession (which I have never mastered) to a beginner who didn't realize it is an entire profession. 

The profession is called copywriting, and/or advertising copywriting, and is the skill set needed to write cover copy blurbs for novels.

The task is to write the blurb for the back of the Sime~Gen Anthology, and that blurb will go on Amazon and other e-book distributors pitch page. 

The stories span a huge swatch of the Sime~Gen Chronology
and have an enormous cast of characters. 

This task requires summarizing Sime~Gen, boiling it down, making it easy to understand. 

SHORT has never-ever-never been my forte! 

Another task on our do-list requiring "short" is the creation of a YouTube Video explaining "What Is Sime~Gen." 

So I found this video on YouTube. 


Do not get caught up in the subject of the Middle East Mess, but focus on the technique behind making this video.

This is the sort of image-based explanation with clear narrative that you need when you create the cover copy for your novel.

As the writer, the worldbuilder, you know too much about your world -- just as you know too much about the Middle East Conflict, about Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Liberia, Sudan, Iran, -- the list of countries is huge!

Copywriting is indeed an entire profession -- people sit at desks, pluck a folder out of their in-box, find an assignment and after briefly scanning the essential facts, they write the cover copy, or the press release, or the packaging or pitching or whatever elevator-pitch style summary of "why you should be interested in this" message.

Copywriters get paid a lot for that skill - just not enough to afford to live in Manhattan unless they work for an ad agency on a top floor corner office.

Sime~Gen is far more complex than the Middle East!  Many copywriters have tried and failed to explain it.  The one who comes the closest works for Loreful, the company that owns the rights to the Sime~Gen videogame.

The author of a "world" has to master the boil-down technique and presentation technique you can see in this video and adapt it to their blurb problem.

This 5 minute video takes an enormously complex, sprawling, multi-layered, millions of people with trillions of opinions, and explains to "outsiders" what they are doing and why, just as if explaining the Middle East to UFO denizens from Arcturus. 

We all know more than we want to know about the Middle East criss-crossing-conflicts.  And we all harbor half a dozen or more contradictory opinions about it at once.  But who among us can visualize a graphic explanation of our own novel or series that is this succinct?

Nevermind if you think it is a correct description of the Middle East Conflict! 
SUCCINCT is what We are looking for when describing the Main Conflict of a novel or series of novels.

Here are some previous posts on conflict:





Now watch this 5 minute video and imagine it is explaining the Sime Territories being forged in Killing, in Pens, in Secret Pens, in Violence, in desperation, in Zelerod's Doom to produce a situation that can pass for "peace" in the History Books.  \

Here's a handy source of Sime~Gen books in an Amazon store -- you can click through the titles to read the Amazon blurbs, many of which I wrote.


Be sure not to focus on the content or veracity of this video's opinionated and one-sided explanation.  Re-post it on your own Facebook Wall and intro with your opinion of the content, but here focus on the technique used to distill a situation you understand into a simple, 5 minute graphic. 

Focus on how the "stock" images in the video are used to make a point, and how that one point is sifted out of the background and brought into focus then repeated. 

You know how complicated that real-world background is.  Focus on the technique required to simplify it into this video -- and on how the video was scripted and made. 

Yes, we will need 2 videos for Sime~Gen if we use this technique! One from the Sime point of view, and one from the Gen point of view!

Maybe more: from the junct point of view, from the disjunct point of view, from the non-junct point of view, from the towner point of view, from the Householder point of view, from the "converts" to Householding lifestyle point of view. 

Point of view is what makes this YouTube video SIMPLE.  Study how narrow that view is, and how sharply the point is made because of that.  You can tell easily because you will react strongly to what this video does not say. 

As in music, SILENCE is the most powerful element, the element that structures the art.  In narrative fiction, what is not said is often far more powerful than what is said.


Jacqueline Lichtenberg

No comments:

Post a Comment