The Jane Doe Novel Experiment

Creating Two New Novels. Writing One Chapter Weekly. Podcasting As I Go. Welcome to The Experiment.

Ask Jane: Blurbs…Can You Expound?

These questions are in response to my post yesterday, “Give Me the Skinny: How to Write a Blurb“. Thanks for the questions everyone! If I didn’t answer yours directly, it’s because I think it is included in one of the ones below. If you feel these don’t quite cover what you asked, please feel free to send it again. 

Question 1

Hey Jane!

Is it really possible to get a whole story in one line like your example?

Yes! My example, “Aliens try to take over the world by pretending to be the second coming of Christ,” is actually a tagline that made nearly a dozen studio’s request the script. (Not my writing. ^.^) However, the script itself wasn’t well written, so the movie was never produced.

I understand how hard and frustrating it can be, but try it. When we submit screenplays to agents/studios, a tagline – a one sentence summary of the entire script – is required. It’s that elevator pitch. You are in the elevator with the person who can get your script/story produced! You’re on floor 1 and only going to floor 2. What do you say? Say the one thing that counts: the heart of your story. That one line that sums it up, but leaves them wanting more.


Question 2

Good morning Jane,

I’m not sure if I’m writing the right thing for the blurb. How do I know?

It sounds like you need to build your confidence. Please, try Steps 1 – 4 suggested in “Give Me the Skinny: How to Write a Blurb“. It will both build your blurb writing skills and confidence.

Why? You will have a real life example to compare your blurb to. You will be able to see if what you thought was “important” enough to make your chosen movie’s summary actually was important. If so, great! If not, you’ll be able to see what was. And soon, you’ll be able to start picking out the truly important details of the movies you love. Once you’ve got that down, you’ll have the confidence to know you’re choosing the right points in your own writing!

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!


Questions 3 & 4


My blurb is perfect and I still can’t get people to read it. Why?


As you know, I struggle with this. How am I supposed to know what the reader likes or wants to hear or what will make them interested?

Believe it or not, these two questions are the same. They both deal with getting people interested.  There are two reasons a “perfect” blurb still won’t catch people’s interest or even if you didn’t struggle, you still wouldn’t deliver what the reader likes.

Reason 1: (I really wish I could hold your virtual hands as I say this, because it may sting.) Sometimes, people simply are not interested in the story you wrote.

Wait! That’s not as bad as it sounds. (Keep a hold of my hand! ^.^)

I’m not a sci-fi girl. No matter what that blurb says, I’m skipping the sci-fi section.  It’s not my genre. That clearly does not mean sci-fi should stop existing.  Two specific examples: The Help and Shades of Grey. Those blurbs say exactly what the books are about. I still did not want to read them. I don’t like reading about racism and prejudice. And a book on bdsm does not appeal to me. (Though, I do not envy its success. Good job!) So, don’t be discouraged if your romance book doesn’t appeal to an action junkie. Your blurb more than likely won’t change their preference.

*Occasionally, it can. Like I said, I’m not a sci-fi girl, but aliens taking over the world by pretending to be the second coming of Christ…the sound of that puts a smile on my face.  But either that is actually your story or it isn’t. I happen to like it, but you’re not focusing on the people who don’t read your genre, you’re focusing on the people who do.

Reason 2: You’re not marketing. (Enough? At all?)

I read, The Help. I even saw the movie! Wait. Didn’t I say I usually stay away from racism? Then why did I read it?  Because they marketed that story until I couldn’t avoid it any more. (And I loved it!) Are you marketing your story? To get people interested you have to get it in front of them! Social media, blog tours, book tours, coffee shops, get creative!

“A little match can set a whole forest on fire.”

Find your match!  Get your book in front of your audience and let the word spread.

No, this does not always work. Again, I’m happy for its success, and even though I can’t walk through a park without seeing one of the three Shades of Grey on someone’s Kindle, I simply am not interested….but look how many people are!

Leave that blurb alone and Market, market, market!


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This entry was posted on July 6, 2012 by in Ask Jane and tagged , , , , .

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