Wednesday, 3 November 2021

IWSG November 2021

It's time for the first Wednesday of the month and time for our monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers of all kinds can share fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today's co-hosts are Kim LajevardiVictoria Marie LeesJoylene Nowell ButlerErika Beebe and Lee Lowery.


Let's have a look at this month's optional IWSG question. I think it's a good one: What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

This is pretty pertinent for me as I embark on querying small publishers for the very first time. I always thought the title was the hardest thing to do but weirdly for my last couple of books, the title was basically there from the beginning. For the project I'm querying, the title is a one-word description of the main character's special ability so it was always pretty obvious. I'm sure next time I'll go back to struggling for a pithy title. 

The blurb is really hard to do well, I think. Summing up tens of thousands of words of story in a couple of paragraphs that must grab the reader's attention in a couple of seconds? Mm... Before, I've gone for the approach of starting with a question - what would you do in xxx situation - which hopefully pulls the reader in right from the start, but it's hard to gauge if the approach is successful. I'm trying to transfer this blurb-writing style to the hook in a query letter. I figure they must be similar because they both have to rise above a sea of other stuff to hook the reader. A daunting task, but I suppose the key is to pack in as much stakes and conflict as possible. How easy that is probably depends on how strong those aspects are in the book itself. So, that must mean the key to writing a good blurb is to write a good book in the first place.

I'm sure more profound answers can be found with the rest of the IWSG list, which you can find here!

17 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

You're lucky that your latest titles have come to you easily. Good luck with your querying.

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

Blurbs are the trickiest for me, even with a template outline that asks questions to help me figure it out.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Nick, same pinch, I too get titles easily. But blurbs nearly kill me. Good luck querying small publishers. Hope you get some good news soon.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad the title was easy at least. Starting with a question for the blurb is a good idea.

Helen said...

I seem to have the title or at least a working one, but as you say summing up in a few paragraphs that grab, arrrrgh!

cleemckenzie said...

Here's to getting those queries out, Nick! I know you can do it, and I know you'll master those mini synopses. Let us know what happens. Love to keep up with what authors are up to.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Blurbs are so hard.

Good luck with your querying!

Lee Lowery said...

That's about as profound as I can get, as well. I think squeezing a couple of pithy, descriptive paragraphs out of 90,000+ words is more work than writing the damn book. 😆

Loni Townsend said...

Blurbs are definitely the devil for me. Glad your titles are coming easier as of late!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Well, trust me, I see enough really bad blurbs - it's not easy to write one that a publisher will like.

Jennifer Hawes said...

You are soooo right. They must rise above the rest of the book blurbs out there. I've entered some query contests before. It helps to tighten them!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Those blurbs are so difficult. I redo mine so many times and still am unsatisfied. Good luck with your queries. I've been with a small press for years and have no regrets.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

At this stage, especially if you want to go traditional, titles aren't so important. Publishers will change it anyway if they so desire. It's hooking them in the first place that's the challenge.
Good luck with querying publishers.

Liz A. said...

Blurb seems to be the popular answer today. But it sounds like you have a game plan there.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - either can cause challenges can't they - I struggle with blog post titles sometimes; and when I chat about something I've written up - I then struggle with summarising it/them. Good luck and all the best with your approaches - cheers Hilary

Diane Burton said...

Titles usually come easier for me, too. Blurbs are a pain. LOL Good luck with your queries.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Blurbs are truly difficult, Nick. All the luck, sir, with your querying to small publishers. Which small publishers are you sending to and how did you discover them? I'm always interested as, God willing, I may eventually get there with my memoir. All best to you!