…Written in the Style of Shakespeare and Sylvia Plath.
Let’s face it. Blurbs can make or break a book’s sales, especially if the reader hasn’t heard about the author before. The list of my own impulse reads that are based solely on pretty covers and nifty blurbs stretches a mile and a half long. A strong blurb is a must for query letters and getting the book read.
Authors inspire new and upcoming authors, and books inspire books. When trying to entice a reader, it’s tempting to talk about your influences–and to compare your novel favorably to other recent hits.
Resist the temptation.
Don’t name drop. Sure, you might be writing in the tradition of Bill Bryson, Tolkien, or William Gibson, and you want to reach people who love those authors too. The problem? By citing authors, you risk…
- Sounding conceited. Let’s face it: no one is JK Rowling except Rowling.
- Creating unmet expectations. Your story will differ from what your role model writes (or it should) and fans won’t be happy to see originality where they wanted another Zalazny.
- Turning off those readers who like the premise, but had bad experiences with the authors you cite.
So save it for the author interviews.
Let the story summary speak to your target fans, instead:
NO: ”Written like JK Rowling.”
YES: “A world of magic and wizardry.”
NO: “These aren’t Meyer’s glittery vampires from Twilight.”
YES: “Fierce, predatory creatures that don’t stop to chat with their food.”
NO: “A Tolkienesque journey through a Douglas Adams-type universe with a walloping of Stephen King!”
YES: “…an epic fantasy with elements of absurdism and suspense?”
And if you really must compare your book or cite your influences, use the acknowledgement section. Or better yet, wait until a reviewer says it for you, and then quote liberally.
Caveat: It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “May appeal to fans of [author name], [author name], and [author name].” though.
Do you have a pitch or synopsis that you’d like to send to the sacrificial altar? Email it our way with the subject “Pitch Article Submission” at firstname.lastname@example.org.