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GUEST POST: BJ Scott

January 20, 2013 23 comments

The author will award gifts of swag (including a canvas tote bag, a mouse pad, a pen, book thong, bookmark, can cooler, magnet, and key chain — US/Canada only) to randomly drawn commenters from this tour and her Virtual Book Tour, and a grand prize of one $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter from this tour and her Super Book Blast.

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Thanks for having me on your blog today.

I was asked to blog about something writing related and decided to talk about the three most important parts of a book, once the edits are done and the manuscript is ready to go to print.

Cover—Title—Blurb

These three things can make or break a book and must be given a great deal of consideration by the author and the publisher. An author puts months and sometimes years into creating their book so you want to give it the best chance for success right from the start.

There is an old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover” but in truth, a cover can make or break a book.

The first thing a prospective reader sees when they are shopping for a book is the cover. They may start out by searching by author name, but if you have yet established your brand, you best have a great cover that will catch their attention. People are visual by nature so a cover that is crisp, vibrant and easy to read is a bonus. The cover should immediately give the reader an idea of what the book is about. The Title and author should stand out so they don’t forget you. Personally, if I am reading a romance, I prefer to see a couple on the cover or something that says this is about two people who are meant to be together. Perhaps the most important thing about a good cover is that the picture on the cover matches the characters in the book. Cover vs. content is a pet peeve of mine. Too often I am reading a book about a dark haired warrior and his red-haired lover, only to look at the cover and see a blond hero and a brunette heroin. Or even worst, the picture on the cover has nothing to do with what the book is about. It might sound picky, but many readers go back to the cover and want to see the same people that fill the pages of the book.

If your book is put out by a publishing company, you might not have as much say in your cover as you like. Hopefully your editor will ask your opinion and based on their knowledge of your book and any cover art forms you may be asked to fill out, will work with you and the cover artist to find the perfect cover to grace your new release.

Title is equally important. You want it to be memorable and to reflect the content of the book. Choosing the right title can be easy for some books and for others very challenging.

Most books start out with a ‘working title’, that being subject to change by the author as the book takes on a life or by the editor in the final stages of the publishing process.

In most genres key words in a title often get the reader’s attention. Since I write historical romance, we will use that as an example. For those who love books set in Scotland using the word Highland or Highlander in you title tends to get more attention than those that don’t. Those words tell the reader what to expect when they purchase a book. Each genre has key words that generate sales. Do your research. Look at the books in you genre and see what kind of titles are on the best seller lists. If possible, incorporate similar wording in your title, while keeping it unique to your work. Check popular book sites like Amazon and key in the title you are considering. If a dozen books with the same title pop up, you might want to consider another one. While there are many books with the same or similar titles, you want yours to stand out. The more unique your title the better chance you have of being noticed.

Be sure your title is relevant to your story. You don’t want to deceive your readers. Again we will use historical romance as an example. If your book is entitled Highland Legacy, you better have a story about a Highlander. Otherwise you lose credibility with your readers and won’t get the best reviews either.

Short titles seem to work best. Too long and the reader gets lost or bored. If you need a longer title to get your message across, more than three or four words, try using the key words as the main title and in smaller letters finish it.

The third thing an author must consider is the book blurb—those few lines on the back of the book that give the reader a glimpse of your story and leave them wanting more. Again, this can be easier said than done.

Think of your book blurb as if it were a pitch to an editor or agent. You want to showcase your talent as a writer, dazzle them with your words, and hook them in a few short sentences. Three is common for a pitch. There is no difference between pitching to an editor or a reader. The end result is the same. You want them to contract/buy your book. If you get too wordy, include unnecessary details, colorful metaphors and bog it down with information that might be important in the book, but not the blurb, you will lose the reader in the first few lines.

Writing a pitch/blurb takes practice. Jot down the key events in your story as they occur, details that give the reader some insight as to the internal and external conflicts facing the hero and heroine. Incorporate an introduction to your hero and heroine in the information. Stick to the important details, avoid repetition and be sure to end with a hook. I can’t express enough that giving away the entire plot will lessen your chances of a sale.

Once you have written your pitch/blurb go over it again and eliminate things that are not needed. Then do it again. Your ultimate goal is a short concise description of your book and a hook to catch the reader’s attention. See if you can do it in three lines, four lines at most.

Hope you find this helpful.

Happy writing!

Cover_HighlandQuestBLURB:

No longer content in the shadows of his older brothers and on a quest to find his destiny, Bryce Fraser’s chosen path is fraught with danger, passion, and decisions. Can his unspoken love for spirited, beguiling Fallon be triumphant in a time of war and uncertainty, or will they both fall prey to the devious plans of a traitorous laird from a rival clan?

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Excerpt

Loch Ryan Scotland, 1307

“Wa . . . water,” Bryce mumbled, but there was no one there to listen.

His throat was parched and he ran his tongue over dry, cracked lips, but his action offered no relief. An entire loch lay only a few feet away, but he couldn’t muster the strength to drag himself to the bank and quench his thirst.

“Cold . . . so cold.”

Despite the sun beating down on him, he’d swear he was encased in ice. His life’s blood seeped from his wounds, soaking the ground beneath him. He tried to raise his head, but the excruciating pain radiating across his chest stole his breath away.

Was this what it felt like to die? If so, he prayed the Almighty would be merciful and take him now.

Bryce moaned, a shift in his position bringing on another nauseating wave of agony. He sucked in a short, sharp, gulp of air and stretched his arm out as far as he could, his fingers grappling in the dirt.

If only I could reach my sword.

Beads of perspiration dampened his brow. As the strength slowly drained from his body, drawing a simple breath became more difficult. The end grew near. No time to make amends for sins of the past, and he had committed his share.

Regrets? He had those, too. “Fallon.” He whispered her name then heaved a ragged sigh.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

With a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, B.J. always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life. A member of RWA, World Romance Writers, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Savvy Authors, B.J. also writes contemporary, paranormal, time travel, and romantic suspense.

C.S. Lewis first captivated B. J.’s imagination in the fourth grade, and her desire to write sprang from there. Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knight-in-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with three dogs and a cat. When she is not working at her childcare job, on her small business, or writing, you will find her reading, camping, or antique hunting.

https://www.facebook.com/authorbjscott

http://www.authorbjscott.com/

http://authorbjscott.wordpress.com/

 

Buy Links:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AQKYPU0

Soul Mate Publishing http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/highland-quest/

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/highland-quest-bj-scott/1114002946?ean=2940016110769&isbn=2940016110769

Kobo  http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Highland-Quest/book-3h45k9pPxkaA9JX__x0mRw/page1.html?s=W28tjCmTwESL-eKO_pW68A&r=1

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#Contest for Books and #Novels

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel award is open until January 27, 2013. No entry fee. Click here for details.