I Need Some Blurbin’ Help!

Let me save you some time and have you stop reading right now unless you fall into one of these two categories:

  1. You are someone who DID read my novel when it was released as Hearts Left Behind
  2. You are someone who DID NOT read my novel when it was released as Hearts Left Behind

Yes, truthfully I need input from both crowds.  I am working on updating the back-of-the-book blurb (aka the BOtBB to those of us in the publishing game) and I am struggling a little.  Not the favorite part of the job for many writers.

Anyway, if you are in the first category, I’d love to know if you feel the blurb at the bottom of the page accurately describes the story you read.

Is it accurate?

Is it accurate?

Keep in mind that the blurb isn’t necessarily meant to cover all of the elements of the plot, but rather to spark some level of interest in potential readers.

 If you are in the second category….does the below spark your interest.

After the tragic death of his son Ethan, Tucker Gaines returns to his childhood home of Willow Grove to stay with his grandparents. In the comforting womb of this small Midwestern town, Tucker can grieve.  In the safe haven of memory, he hopes to heal.

Soon after arriving, Tucker hears of a former schoolmate who has also recently lost a child and he is moved to leave an anonymous note of sympathy and comfort at the child’s grave.  And with this simple kindness, Tucker has unwittingly kicked-off the phenomenon that comes to be known around town as The Grave Letters.  Soon the Willow Grove cemetery is decorated with Grave Letters – one of which is left at the headstone of the man convicted of having killed Tucker’s childhood love Katie Cooper. 

That short letter sends Tucker down a path that he comes to believe will lead to him to peace.  If he can solve the mystery of Katie’s death, Tucker will find purpose in Ethan’s.

Or so he thinks.

I’ll end with this… When you are an unknown author (as I am) and a new blogger (as I am), your blog readership is, well, minuscule.

BelindaBlurbSo you are essentially begging for blogoshame (™ Derek Rempfer 2014) when your post specifically requests user comments and you are confident (as I am) that you will only get comments from Laurie Hopkins Farrell (God bless your heart, Laurie) and, if your lucky, maybe two other people (YOU could be one of them!)

My fate is in your hands, people.

Say hi to Tony and the girls for me, Laurie.



Filed under Hearts Left Behind, Uncategorized, Where The Broken Lie

13 responses to “I Need Some Blurbin’ Help!

  1. Angela Male

    Derek….firstly, I will always have an interest in reading whatever you write because I’ve known you since kindergarten and I love your way with words because I can easily hear your voice reading them to me!
    Opinions are your request so here is mine….Hearts Left Behind had me “in” based solely on the title and the cover photo….I’m more of a ‘Hallmark Movie’ junkie. Reading the blurb on the back then was simply like reading page 1; I was already captured. The change of the title, which I have already shared my opinion on, just doesn’t have the same effect on me and while the cover photo is similar it too has lost the haunting dramatic feel…so I’m left with just the blurb.
    As a drama enthusiast I’m still ‘in’, but I wonder if in the interest of wanting to capture mystery readers you might want to consider moving the topic of the third paragraph to that of the first so that the mystery reader is intrigued enough to continue on.
    Just my thoughts in the interest of wanting you on the best seller list!


  2. Thanks, Angie! Very interesting suggestion and something I will definitely explore. Appreciate the support as always.

    Say hi to Brad and the boys for me. 🙂


  3. Michelle Ferrell

    I loved the story. Very well written. I think the middle paragraph of the blurb loses me. It’s a great summary, but not as concise as the first and third. More of a summary and less of a ‘hook’, which I think is what you’re going for.


  4. Thanks, Michelle. Appreciate all the feedback I can get. “Concise” isn’t necessarily my strong-suit. I’ll revisit that paragraph.


    • Michelle Ferrell

      I think instead of explaining how the letters started, maybe just ‘anonymous letters start appearing at the cemetery’. Don’t want to reveal too much, right?


      • Aurelia

        I agree with Michelle here, don’t explain the letters in the blurb. Leave a bit of mystery about how they appear. Also I like the old title but actually think the new title is better.


  5. Aurelia

    Never read your book or even heard of it. Saw this on a friends wall. Want to read it now. Not sure if that helps at all.


  6. Jessica Valencia

    Seems a bit wordy. For example, I don’t think you need to say he’s staying with his grandparents. I think you could also shorten the second paragraph. Seems like your spelling out the plot too much. Leave ’em guessing. Intrigue is what gets me to buy a book. If I feel like I may be able to deduce the plot I’m much less likely to buy. I like a tease.


  7. You know who

    Hi Derek- this would be a tough part of the job. I mean another tough part. I agree with the others that the second paragraph leaks too much info without adding intrigue. You will distill that in no time!! The grave letters are super bait!

    The Katie piece is a great point of intrigue. You didn’t go into cliche’ hidden family secrets or dark family past which would feel like just another messed up family novel. There is, in my head, a bit of discordance though, with “safe haven of childhood memory”–(warm fuzzy childhood) “killed childhood love” (not feeling like a safe haven) esp when she is given so much weight in the third paragraph to “find purpose in Ethan’s”

    “Or so he thinks” neutralizes Katie’s power and is a good “tease”

    Two words Tumbling in my head are salve and redemption.

    solving the mystery of Katie’s death may give purpose to Ethan’s.

    What is the price of redemption?

    — brain dead! Good night! Tony and girls are great. Cannot wait to read the book!!!!!


    • Laurie Farrell

      PS-Note to self-never write a long reply with phone texting while half asleep! Does what I said make any sense? Does it matter? : )

      To be more coherent(?) my hesitant ‘like’ of the line “If he can solve the mystery of Katie’s death, Tucker will find purpose in Ethan’s.” may be clouded by having already read the book(and knowing Tucker isn’t simple) so the idea that solving Katie’s death mystery “will” help Tucker find purpose in Ethan’s death think ‘wow this Tucker character is pretty ‘simple’. I think the suggestion that there is a “purpose” to be found makes me squirm in my seat. I feel like there is another word out there. guess that is why the words salve and balm came into my head b/c it feels more realistic that solving her painful death mystery could be an initial step in Tucker’s healing. The statement, “Or so he thinks” DOES imply that, well, Tucker’s healing isn’t so easy but, I was mentally stuck on the word “purpose” so by the time the line “Or so he thinks” is delivered, super judgey, uber- mature (not) me is thinking “Uhh, hello?!?! Of course not! Think again.”

      –What is the price of redemption–popped into my head mulling over the reality of what Tucker does come to find. Redemption may not be the point, either but Tucker hangs out in church some…

      This is why I’m glad you are the author and I’m the fly on the wall watching you make it happen!!


  8. Invaluable feedback as usual, Laurie. A heartfelt thank you to you and all who are helping to “make it happen.”

    In the meantime, I guess it’s…back to the blurb lab for me. 🙂


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