The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud is LIVE … ish. The page is up but it’s not available for sale yet. I’ve spent the morning being assaulted by the usual massive waves of doubt and second-guessing, but I think at this point I just have to push my book out of the nest and let it do what it must.
Meanwhile, I distract myself with my LibraryThing giveaway, which has totally exceeded my expectations. 26 people have already signed up for a free copy! I should’ve just made it a one week limit–but we live and learn. I’m tempted to do another one right now, but I’ll wait until this one’s finished. I think it’s best to do these things one at a time, after it’s done I’m going to have 25 people to email, that’s enough work. These people putting 200 copies up for grabs are nuts! Just thinking about writing 200 emails makes me shiver. I think it’s better to keep it small, manageable, and more personal. One thing I probably should have done is put a link to the Amazon page, so interested people could try a sample. Next time. Speaking of that, I think I’ll do a giveaway of Birds Of Passage next, it’s the book I have out now that’s gathered the most generally positive feedback, and the only one of my books with reviews, even though (aside from The Boy & Little Witch) it’s my lowest-seller (I actually think that says a lot about it; not for everyone, but those who like it really like it). I actually got a critique about the blurb today, basically saying it’s too long and too odd. But it’s a long and slightly odd book, so I think people who enjoy the blurb, who are intrigued enough to try a sample, will more likely be the sorts of people who’ll enjoy the book.
Actually, let’s talk about that for a moment. There seems to be a general trend towards imposing these rules on blurbs–make it short, make it punchy, and generally I think these are good ideas. Certainly Imogen Shroud’s blurb is very short and fairly punchy, but it’s a short(ish), punchy book, fast-paced with a lot of external conflict (it’s a zombie story, so, well, yes). But sometimes a book isn’t short or punchy, sometimes a book is more of a slowburn kind of thing, and when that’s the case, my (unqualified) feeling is that a short, punchy blurb is almost like false advertising. I could write something for Birds Of Passage that presented it as, I don’t know–a blurb that focused on the more exciting aspects of the story, the powers, the external conflicts, the ‘quest’. But the book is more about relationships, the powers are important and interesting, yes, but the characters form the core of the book. Characters, and mysteries.
Another point that was brought up was that potential readers wouldn’t read a blurb that long (it’s not THAT long, actually, I think less than four hundred words, I’ve seen far longer), but really … if you’re not even going to read a slightly-longer-than-usual blurb, you’re not going to read this book. And for me personally, it’s not the length of a blurb that puts me off, it’s the content. I stop reading when I start getting bored–which could be in the first sentence. But I’ll read a thousand-word blurb if it keeps my interest–or more often I’ll stop halfway through to grab the sample, because it’s convinced me to give the book a try.
Still, it’s good to think about these things. And yes, full disclosure, it hurt to have my blurb challenged. But the pain fades, and the usefulness of external opinions remains.
Even so, I’m not going to change the blurb. I guess what it comes down to is this: I believe that it accurately reflects the book. It’s not the punchiest or hookiest in the world, but neither is the book the punchiest or hookiest–Birds of Passage is a hard sell, I accept this, and not for everyone, so I think ‘intrigue’ is a good angle. If I read that blurb, I’d be interested enough to grab a sample. Others won’t be. But that’s fine. What’s the second rule for indie authors? “Your book isn’t for everyone.” Birds of Passage will never be, I predict, a huge hit. But I think out of all my books, it’s the one that certain people will like the most. My ‘cultiest’ book, if you will.
Time for a lovely bit of muffin?