04 August 2012

To Blurb or Not to Blurb...Which is Better?

My attempt at a suitable cover.
The actual cover will likely be done by a real artist.
Oh, dear! It's almost that time. I've been hesitant for the longest time but it seems the planets are about to align. Hell is also growing much colder, so ice is possible. Therefore, the launch of my sci-fi trilogy, THE DREAM LAND, Book I: Long Distance Voyager, appears imminent--that is to say, slightly more real than a mirage on the twisted lip of some monstrous sand dune!

I need some help picking an appropriate blurb. Something to get people to put down everything else in their lives and read this sci-fi adventure tale cover to cover over the course of, say, a week. But NOT give away any spoilers, of course. Enough but not too much. Get the idea? I knew you would understand.

Let me present for your head-scratching pleasure, these two candidates:


(This was used in Amazon.com's Breakthrough Novel Award competition and it got me through the first round.)

Sebastian, that quiet tax examiner at the corner desk in the IRS service center, carries a dark secret: once upon a time he and his high school sweetheart Gina found a rip in the universe and stepped through it to a strange world of magical beauty.  
Far from being a Disney-esque playground, the world of Ghoupallesz bursts with cosmopolitan elegance, alien perversions, and political strife. Gina, the adventurous one, falls in love with the adventurous possibilities. Not Sebastian; always practical, he insists they return to Earth. Gina refuses so he goes back alone, vowing never to return. Yet he finds himself drawn back repeatedly--he calls it “research”--and often crosses paths with Gina. Sometimes he saves her, sometimes she saves him, forever soul mates. 
Now years later, life on Earth hasn’t gone well for Sebastian. Then the headaches revisit him, with flashes of memories from Ghoupallesz. Gina is in trouble again, he senses, and he must, as always, save her. Meanwhile, a pair of too-curious IRS co-workers have accidently overdosed on the Elixir of Love he brought back on his last trip and the antidote exists only on Ghoupallesz. With these co-workers in tow, Sebastian returns through the interdimensional portal, fearing it may be his final adventure. He must gather his old comrades from the war, cross the towering Zet mountains, and free Gina from the Zetin warlord’s castle before her execution. Perhaps then she will stay with him.  
But are his adventures to the other side real? Or are they just the dreams of a psychotic killer? That’s what the police want to know when Sebastian returns without his co-workers.  
THE DREAM LAND is a genre-mashing epic of interdimensional intrigue and police procedural, a psychological thriller marbled with twisted humor, steampunk pathos, and time/space conundrums.



How far would you go to save the love of your life? Through a portal to another world?

High school sweethearts Sebastian and Gina discover a portal and step through to a world of magical beauty. Gina falls in love with it and stays while Sebastian fears losing touch with Earth and returns. Even so, he is repeatedly drawn back for nefarious adventures, like an addiction, often to save Gina from sordid relationships. Their relationship as soul mates evolves over the hundreds of years spent playing on their adopted home of Ghoupallesz.

From the I.R.S. service center’s night shift, Sebastian feels the pull of Gina in trouble once more. It’s been a while, so he is hesitant to step through that portal, his head still filled with the traumas of previous journeys: his relationship with a Ghoupalle woman andhis role in a military invasion force as regimental commander. So this time, he enlists two co-workers, themselves needing a place to escape thanks to drinking the Ghoupalle “elixir of love” he accidentally left out.

Sebastian must save Gina—again. Perhaps this time, he hopes, they can remain together, finally be a family. Returning through the portal, he must first gather his old comrades from the war, cross the Zet mountains, and free Gina from the Zetin warlord’s castle. Unfortunately, Sebastian finds more questions to be answered. Is his adventure to the other side real, or is it just the dream of a psychotic killer? That’s what the police want to know when he returns without his co-workers.

THE DREAM LAND is an epic of interdimensional intrigue and world domination by a pair of well-meaning hedonists, marbled through with twisted humor andsteampunk pathos, a patina of psychological thriller,and the quirky conundrums of time and space.

Now it's time for you to weigh in on which blurb you prefer. Or perhaps a hybrid is your choice; if so, please advise. Many thanks for your vote!


(C) Copyright 2010-2012 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. I prefer #2 - but I am a fan of shorter is better. Long blurbs don't get read in our short-attention span society, so I think under 300 words is a best case scenario.

  2. Having read none of this before--not even a snippet of the blurb, I was struck by the first one, Stephen. Based on that blurb, I will buy your book when it's released. The second one included more information, but it seemed confusing--or distracting.

    Door number #1 for me.

    I thought I'd visited here before, but never saw this: " Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off." Love it! Too funny. :-)

    1. This was the selling para for me. "But are his adventures to the other side real? Or are they just the dreams of a psychotic killer? That’s what the police want to know when Sebastian returns without his co-workers."

  3. When I read the first one, I thought Gina fell in love with adventures, but not with Sebastian. When I went back over the sentences, it meant that Sebastian didn't fall in love with adventures. I like number 2 also.

  4. Thanks everyone for giving me some advice!

    First, I admit these longer blurbs are more for querying. I will need to trim them for a book cover.

    It is helpful to know which blurb approach seems to draw readers better: more a sci-fi romance angle or a possible-psycho thriller angle.

    Will the sci-fi readers follow the "ordinary"/Earth parts of the story? Will the police procedural/psycho-thriller readers put up with the sci-fi aspects (perhaps better called "magical realism")?

    I will put up short forms soon!