1. Leon Orwik
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    Leon Orwik New Member

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    Back Cover/Jacket Summary

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Leon Orwik, Jul 13, 2011.

    I've been working on a fantasy book for a while and I'm trying to think of a good summary for the back but I don't want to give away too much of the story, but at the same time want to draw people in to read the book. What's your idea of how to write a back cover summary? How long/short? How much of the plot?

    Thanks, and hopefully more than just myself can benefit from this!
     
  2. Ubrechor
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    Ubrechor Active Member

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    I would strive to accomplish these points:

    -Hook the reader. Make them interested.
    --Don't give away too much of the story.
    ---Make it as clear as possible. Don't put in loads of detail that doesn't make much sense to someone who doesn't know the plot.
    ----Try to accomplish the previous three aims using as few words as possible.

    Just my thoughts =]
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It should tell just a little about the story, what's at stake and maybe why. You don't want it too long as you'll want space for blurbs (other authors touting your novel's quality).

    Your publisher will help you with this. If you're published in harcover for example, and there is a dust jacket, the description will probably be longer.

    Go to the bookstore or library, check out what they have in your genre and study the content of those summaries. That should give you ideas on how to attack the issue.
     
  4. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Good idea. Great way to learn how to do this.
     
  5. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't mean to come off sounding harsh, and I certainly don't want to dampen your enthusiasm but ... perhaps there is a bit of the cart before the horse here? You say you have been 'working on' your story. Is it finished? Polished? Edited and re-edited? Is your query letter in tip-top shape? Do you have a clear, clean, concise synopsis should an agent request it? If you can answer an unequivocal yes to all of the above, then congratulations and you might be ready to start thinking about jacket blurbs. And then, as TWErvin2 already pointed out, your publisher and/or agent can help you with that once the time comes.
     
  6. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    ^ That was quite unnecessary.

    OP only asked for advice on writing a good summary. Who cares if he hasn't done all that other stuff- he can write whatever he wants whenever he wants. It's his novel after all. People can dream and they should.

    :)

    To Leon; I agree with Ervin. Go look at Fantasy book back covers in a book shop or online; you'll see the type of information you'll need to convey in order to grab people's attention. Look at the ones that you feel you'd want to read- ask yourself why. Similarly look at the ones you wouldn't want to read: what made you indifferent to it, etc.
     
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  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why not browse through a bookstore for books in your genre, and read some back covers?
     
  8. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I was thinking about doing the same thing. I was thinking about buying a good book that teaches you how to write a summary for a movie script. I'm not sure how many people these days write movie scripts. But I'm sure that there are many, many bookstores that sell books on how to write fantasy.
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to agree with some extent to thewordsmith's post, but on a different point of order...

    Don't summaries usually get written by copywriters (unsure if this is the right term) and such? So far as I know, it's pretty rare for an author to write their own blurb. That's why blurbs are usually so terrible. The person who writes it doesn't usually even read the book.
     
  10. Leon Orwik
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    Leon Orwik New Member

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    I'm seeing a common theme here, maybe I'll just run down to the bookstore tomorrow...

    PS Thanks for all the responses!
     
  11. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I agree that the jacket blurb is usually written later but I find it incredible helpful when writing to have a blurb written up about the story. It helps keep the story moving forward and keeps tangent thread from taking over. I love the focus that writing a blurb early in the writing process brings.
     
  12. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I thought blurbs were written by copywriters too.

    But otherwise I agree with what others have said about looking at existing blurbs in your chosen genre. It'd probably help if you read a few books and then look at the blurb, and see how much of the story they've given away and so forth.
     
  13. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Furthermore, perhaps writing a blurb before you get truly immersed in writing the actual story shows you how marketable your story concept really is. I know many people would shoot me down, saying the premise is only as good as the execution, but the truth is some ideas are much more appealing than others. And if you're going to try to get it published, you'll need to write a query eventually so you might as well be thinking along those lines from now.
     
  14. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first thing that came to my mind was, "Well, it looked good on paper." But, that's actually a great idea. I think it would play more as a synopsis or even a very loose outline of sorts but, if you have any vagueness at all about your story, playing it out like this should be a great way of seeing just what you've got and how it would play. It might also show you where your holes and pitfalls might be along the way.
     

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