The Power of the Blurb

ab_28 - abn~ By Alana Albertson

The blurb. The mere thought of writing a blurb used to send me into a full-blown anxiety attack. I would stay up late at night, scour the internet, looking for tips on how to write a blurb that would make readers one-click with abandon. I bought writing craft books, took classes, studied the backs of best sellers. But I had lost my voice.

My blurbs seemed formulaic and uninspired.

Until one night.

A book blogger friend was lamenting the struggle of an author to break through as a new writer.  Another author had told her that with the dearth of books, it was impossible to get noticed.

I was knee deep writing another book. Something to appease my long-suffering agent. Something that would fit in with a hot-selling trend. But a story that had been brewing in my head for years over took me. Within five minutes, I typed out these words.

I’ll be honest with you—I’m no hero. Sure, the media tries to brand every Navy SEAL as some kind of Batman dressed in cammies. There’s even a line in one of our cadences: Superman is the man of steel, he ain’t no match for Navy SEAL. You’ve seen the movies—we’re infallible, invaluable, invincible. But that night, the one you read about in the papers … all I really wanted to do was get laid.

One harmless screw with an Aruban whore, no strings attached. I picked her out of a lineup—wild, dark hair, long legs and a crooked smile. After she sucked me off, I relaxed back onto the creaky, cum-stained cot, thankful for the blissful moments she gave me when I actually forgot for a second the faces of my buddies who died because I made the wrong call, the tears of the children I couldn’t save, and the eyes of the enemies I slaughtered during their last seconds of life.

But before I left, her hazel eyes peered into my soul. She whispered in a distinct Californian accent, “My name is Annie Hamilton. I’m an American citizen. I was kidnapped on spring break five years ago. You’re my last hope. Please save me.”

One desperate plea. This wasn’t a Hollywood blockbuster or a New York Times best-selling thriller. I knew this time there was no room for excuses, no margin for errors. I had one chance to put on the cape and be her hero.

My friend read my blurb. After a pause she wrote – whoa – who wrote that book?

She sent the blurb to another blogger, who sent it to another. By morning, I had gone viral. With three huge book bloggers (Aestas, Maryse, Totally Booked) posting about me. Agents emailed, Goodreads blew up.

A few months later, Invincible debuted at #1 on Amazon Movers and Shakers. I sold over 1000 copies the first day at full price with no promo, no ads, no previous sales numbers.

Why? I finally freed my voice. I broke the rules. I followed my heart, not some blurb template. I took a deep breath, and let my character speak.

So take all the classes you want, read the writing manuals, study the best sellers. But never forget to be yourself and let your voice soar.

Alana Albertson is the author of the best-selling New Adult Romantic Suspense novel, Invincible(The Trident Code Book 1). She is the former president of RWA Contemporary Romance Chapter (in its previous incarnation as the Chick Lit Chapter).  When she’s not running after her two young sons, she can be found binge watching Homeland and House Hunters with her husband.

Keep up with her at www.alanaalbertson.com

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