“Nice” Blurb – Plea for Help

PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover

 

As some of you may know, I have been working in an increasingly desultory fashion on the publication of a new novel, called Nice. (I say, “increasingly desultory” as it has become harder to work on this project the closer it is to completion.)

Unlike my first published novel, Nose Dive, which is a comical young adult mystery (and a lot of fun!), this is a serious novel, with an intense and, I hope, emotionally affecting, story.  It is about child sexual abuse; it represents years of work.

I think it really is a good novel, though I’ve worked on it so long it is hard for me to still look at it.  I am super happy with the cover picture, which I did myself.

Here’s my quandary–the sales information!  The little blurb that goes on Amazon and elsewhere!  This kind of thing is so darn hard for me that I  can hardly squeeze something out.

So what I am asking for–I don’t know–ideas==approval==is the below horribly embarrassing?

 

It is summer, 1968–Martin Luther King Jr. shot in April, Bobby Kennedy in June–“what in the world is happening to this country?” Americans wonder. 

It is summer, 1968, the civil rights movement in turmoil, the Vietnam War escalating, but Les, a ten year old suburban girl, has been trained to be nice.

Her teenage brother, Arne, on the other hand, aims for rebellion.

But they are kids, it is summer, it is 1968, and what they both truly want–aside from world peace–is to be a little more cool.

Then a distant relative visits, a cool cat, rebel of sorts, childhood favorite. 

“What in the world is happening?” Les wonders, as the unthinkable does.  

“What in the world is happening?” Arne wonders, as his sister changes, as he too is faced with a darker picture of growing up–

Their story traverses the landscape of country, family, heart.

Since posting – B. Young made some very useful suggestions and here’s a whole other approach:

Nice is a story of child sexual abuse and its aftermath.  It takes place in the summer of 1968, the U.S. reeling from the April assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the June assassination of Bobby Kennedy, the escalating Vietnam War.  It is told from the points of view of a ten year old girl and her teenage brother, each separately finding a voice in the face of personal and political disillusionment.  

 

Better?  Too terse?  (I was going to add in here a very horrible joke, but cannot in the face of the terrible loss of Robin Williams this week.)

Any ideas?  Should it be more direct?  Less direct?  Should I just press approve/publish!?

The book will be issued by my own imprint, by the way, which is BackStroke Books, and when I do press publish, it will be available on Kindle and in paper.  I will let you know when.  I am aiming for cheap pricing so I do hope you’ll be able to read.

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23 Comments on ““Nice” Blurb – Plea for Help”

  1. grammalynn Says:

    “Trained” or raised to be nice? Children aren’t dogs! But then I don’t know the content.

    It’s fine! I grew up then. It makes sense!

  2. b_young Says:

    Maybe more direct in movement. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Like a sonnet.

    The repeated “1968” phrase splits the focus, misdirects. The date is secondary, a symbol for the same chaos we have still. Add the braided “what in the world”, and you have two competing frame motifs in a small space. (I do like the second one, though).

    This sentence isn’t doing its job:
    “What in the world is happening?” Les wonders, as the unthinkable does.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. I should probably just be more direct. You are right.

      >

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      PS – I do believe that 1968 was a particularly pivotal year in terms of disillusionment and change. That said, I think you are absolutely right–it splits the focus here to go on about it so much. Maybe I should use some excerpt from the book–I am much better at writing that than blurbs! Anyway, thanks much. k.

      • b_young Says:

        It amazes me that anyone can write the things without making a book sound derivative at best. But they do. Read the back of any Romance: you know exactly what you’re getting, but somehow you suspect that there is something different in this one. A puzzle.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Well, here’s another shot:

        “Nice is a story of child sexual abuse and its aftermath. It takes place in the summer of 1968, the U.S. reeling from the April assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the June assassination of Bobby Kennedy, the escalating Vietnam War. It is told from the points of view of a ten year old girl and her teenage brother, each separately finding a voice in the face of personal and political disillusionment.”


  3. I like B. Young’s suggestion Karin. It is clear and concise–and for me, that wins points when I am trying to figure out whether to read a book or not

  4. ds Says:

    Not sure it is my place to say….but, I agree with you about 1968 having been a pivotal year. Perhaps the answer to your dilemma lies between the two versions of the blurb that you have presented: the original, more poetic queries, and the final concise paragraph that leaves no doubt as to the book’s subject. Why did you choose to call the book “Nice”? Because ’68 was the year that “nice” was stripped away on so many levels?

    Just some thoughts…I’ll be excited to see the paper version. Congratulations!

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks for saying something! That is a good suggestion–combining blurbs. Honestly, I’ve been a bit reluctant to flat out refer to abuse in the blurb, but, of course, it’s the major topic of the book, which makes it a rather adult book, and without mentioning it, it could almost come across as a YA book since the characters are young.

      The book is definitely also about the disillusionment of 1968, but I called it “Nice” in part because that was a time when girls were raised very much to be “nice,” which meant a bunch of particular things, so the book also has to do with that. Thanks again. k.


  5. Karin, I’m at the same stage with my novel and so appreciate what you are going through. I’m also going with my own imprint but can’t settle on a name.

    As for your blurb–this one phrase didn’t quite work for me:” as the unthinkable does.” The “does” seems a little weak. Maybe a more active verb. Maybe I’d like to get a bit more of a hint about the abuse.

    I remember that year so well. The only time I ever marched in a protest singing “We shall overcome…” (with the very few African Americans in Scranton at that point in history.) I was in college.

    I for one will look forward to reading it. Oh, and I love the cover.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Victoria. These aspects of a novel that are really pretty tangential are so difficult. Good luck! And thanks. k.

      On Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:

      >

  6. Steve King Says:

    Hi Karin, Does the line about the distant relative need a more ominous or edgy tone? “Cool cat” “of sorts” “Childhood favorite” soften the line. I don’t know what the character does, but his appearance and description seems to give him importance, if not centrality, in what ensues. Forgive me if I’m assuming too much.
    Steve K.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thank you, Steve. He is a major character, who has a certain ambiguity about him (though my sense is that modern readers, younger than me, for example, may not see the ambiguities.) I don’t really want to give away the story such as it is, although honestly, most of the movement in the book is psychological–though, of course, there are real events between the characters and there is the background of what is happening in the world–the assassinations, the Chicago convention, the 1968 election campaign (Humphrey-Nixon), and of course the Vietnam War.

      I just have to come up with something on the blurb side and finally get it done. This part of the process–all those last bits involved in finalizing–are kind of discouraging as it is hard to imagine the book actually selling. Yet, of course, the blurb could also have a negative impact. I am just much better at writing real text and I probably shouldn’t have such a dim view of the prospects of audience. It is a good book that I think is well-written and in which I feel genuine pride. k.

      On Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 4:35 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:

      >


  7. Your cover art is SUPERB! It will definitely attract people to open the cover……the story line is topical and being set in the late 60’s interesting…..so much scope there, and ass sexual abuse and girls being trained to be nice and you have a really good structure………now I am not much help as when I read your description I thought it was perfect. Then I read your friend’s and thought IT was perfect. I like that sexual abuse is spelled out in his, as “the unthinkable” doesnt lead all minds there……..and good for you working to completion……..maybe you are loathe to finish and let it go…..soon, out of your subconscious, will come the perfect paragraph or line with which to end, and then your fingers wont be able to type fast enough. That happened when I was writing my book about my son – didnt know how it wouid end until one day he wrote the coolest letter and that was the ending.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Both are mine–I think you are right in terms of just waiting a bit and it will be clearer. It’s sort of silly as the book has been ready to go for some time and rather stupid things have been obstacles. Thanks for liking the cover. I did it as a combination of drawing, collage and iPad and was very pleased that it worked out. I happened to have a huge stack of old magazines that my parents had given me. k.

  8. Brendan Says:

    I’m just excited that the novel is coming out, congrats! AFA the intro, I much prefer yours but maybe there’s an intro sentence that better announces the wallop to come, like, “1968 was a brutal time to come of age. No more so than for Les, a nice 10-year-old suburban girl who wanted to be cool like the rest of us but got far more when a hipster distant relative showed up at her family’s door.” Or something. Congrats.

  9. Polly Says:

    k, my suggestion would be to join para’s 2 and 3 thus:
    _____

    In that summer of 1968, the civil rights movement was in turmoil, the Vietnam War escalating, but Les, a ten year old suburban girl, has been trained to be nice. Her teenage brother, Arne, on the other hand, aims for rebellion.
    _____

    I think the rest of it reads well.

  10. brian miller Says:

    i like the condensed version…its tight and gives just enough to get the hook in…i do like the question from the first…perhaps it is a stand alone above the blurb on the back?


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