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WOTD: Blurb

Today's word of the day is: Blurb

noun. 1. The brief description of a book which appears on the back of a paperback or on the inside front flap of a hardback; 2. A series of lies, half-truths, exaggerations, and simplifications designed to trick people into reading something they otherwise never would.

Example: "Everybody run! A giant alien blurb is destroying downtown Tokyo!"

I'm just back from a weekend SCBWI conference in New York City, newly-inspired, energized, and renewed--and also greatly humbled by the many brilliant books being created by many brilliant people.

The main difference for me between this conference and others I've attended was that finally, finally, finally, I had a little something to brag about. "Yup, I just signed a contract for my middle-grade humor book. That's right, it's coming out from Blooming Tree Press in 2007ish. Yeah, it's going to be awesome."

"What's it about, you ask? Hoom..."

I hate being put on the spot, having to boil a book down to a single sentence. I'd rather write a whole book than a short summary. "Well, there's this girl, and weird stuff happens to her, and her sister disappears, and she meets a mad scientist, and she writes a bunch of letters, and did I mention it was a humor book?" Yuck. That doesn't even make me want to read the thing.

So I was surprised when I got home and had an email waiting from the new Marketing Director at Blooming Tree about an author survey I'd filled out for her.

I just read your author form and loved, loved, loved your summary of the book. We'll use it maybe for the back cover. We'll use it in PR's. We'll use it everywhere. We'll drop flyers from a helicopter and it will be on that. We'll see that it gets stuffed in every Thanksgiving turkey in 2007. Ok, that's an exaggeration, but we'll try.

I couldn't remember what I'd written, except that I'd ended with an apology for how bad my description was and a promise to rewrite it completely before the book came out. Here's my first attempt at a blurb:

Septina Nash is a 7th grade seventh child with purple hair and a knack for popping up in music videos. After her triplet-sister mysteriously disappears, Septina finds herself stalked by penguins, pursued by a mad scientist, and on the fast track to an Olympic medal in freestyle skateboarding. Along with her more reality-minded triplet-brother, Quinn, Septina hurdles from one adventure to the next: surviving for ten minutes in the worldâ™s most dangerous truck stop, launching a polar expedition, and collecting an enormous amount of empty yogurt containers.

Is it any wonder why she canâ™t complete her math homework on time?

I can do better, but maybe it's not as hopeless as I'd thought. I sure wish I'd brought a copy with me to New York.

Comments

tem2
Feb. 7th, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
An interview would rock!
d_michiko_f
Feb. 7th, 2006 01:23 am (UTC)
Excellent! Email me when you get the chance (I don't think I have your email address): debbi at debbimichikoflorence dot com