Writing the Perfect Blurb for Your Novel

WritingWe don’t know who first said that you should never judge a book by its cover, but its safe to say that they were not in the bookselling business. A great cover is key to a successful novel, and getting the cover copy right is a vital part of this.
Cover copy, commonly known as the blurb, is the text on the back of your book. It is your “elevator pitch” to the reader, your twenty-second window grab their attention and convince them that they need to read your book. So how do you hook them?
Ideally you might want to start with a logline, a single sentence that sums up the entire novel. This might be an actual synopsis like:
She said she wouldn’t date him if he was the last man on earth…and now he is!
Another great option is to use a line from the book itself, assuming that you have one really succinct line that sums up the whole novel.
This logline is just a way to grab attention so that they will go on to read the rest of your cover copy. The ideal blurb is around 200 words broken up into three or four paragraphs, giving your reader a strong flavor of the book but leaving them curious to find out what’s inside. What to include is entirely up to you but remember you’ll need to convey the following:
Genre
Even if you think your genre is obvious from the cover design, don’t be afraid to explicitly state it in your cover copy. Also, try to write your copy in the same genre as your novel: for a thriller, use taut language focusing on action; for romance, use evocative language and focus on relationships.
Tone
The particular tone you use in the novel can play a big part in keeping your readers hooked, and the cover copy should give them a taste of that tone. This is especially important in a well-defined genre like crime, romance or sci-fi, where readers have a vague idea of the story you’re going to tell, but want to know how you’re going to tell it.
Character
The one thing that sells books in any genre is this: a terrific protagonist. Your hero or heroine is going to be your reader’s new best friend if they read this book, so you have to make it clear why they would want to meet this person. Who are they and what makes them unique?
Plot
Fitting your plot into the cover copy can be a real challenge. The best advice is to not try to summarize it as such, but to pick out a few key plot elements and include those. What challenges will your protagonist face? What dangers must be survived, what questions must be answered? In essence, what elements of the plot drive your hero on through the novel? Focus on those, and it should help drive potential readers to the cash register.
Praise
Any pre-publication praise you’ve received can go at the end of your cover copy and this can help sell novels. But the quality of the praise is important. Unless the praise is coming from a household name, try to state exactly what qualifies them to offer an expert opinion. For example, if the praise is from another author, be sure to put Author of… after their name. Reviews are even better and if you can include the name of the publication it lends a real legitimacy to your book.
Writing your cover copy might seem like a small job after you’ve completed an entire novel, but getting it right can take a long time. Be sure to show it to others for feedback and tweak every single word until it’s just perfect. Good luck!

New Book ‘The Joy of Ballpark Food’ is a Must-Read for Baseball Fans

The Joy of Ballpark Food Book CoverLOS ANGELES, CA (April 30, 2015) – Bennett Jacobstein announced today that the kindle version of his book The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine will be listed for free on Amazon from April 30th through May 4th, 2015. This book is a must read for baseball fans and foodies alike.
Part of the experience of going to the ballpark is what you can get to eat. During the 2014 baseball season, Bennett and his wife traveled to each of the major league stadiums to investigate the variety of food offerings.
From the early part of the twentieth century until the 1980s, classic baseball fare consisted mostly of hot dogs, ice cream, peanuts, and Cracker Jack. Then ballparks slowly began to sell new items.
Now, teams around the country sell a variety of exotic food. Some stadiums have gone all out to showcase unique, gourmet-style food. Many parks emphasize regional food as well as having offerings from well-known local restaurants.
“The new food era has brought such a wonderful gustatory experience at the ballparks with chef-prepared masterpieces, vegetarian and kosher delights, as well as amped up riffs on the hot dog and sausage,” says Bennett.
The Joy of Ballpark Food begins with the history of the first hot dog at a ball game and concludes with a culinary tour of all 30 major league ballparks.
“Safeco Field in Seattle offers vegan steamed buns with fillings such as black vinegar-glazed Portobello mushrooms, green chili and cucumber salad, basil, and siracha mayonnaise. Rogers Centre in Toronto has poutine. Pittsburgh has seaweed salad. Baltimore has The Birdland Hot Dog (smoked brisket, pepperoni hash, tomato jam, and frizzled onions on top of the hot dog. And Minnesota offers a crispy belly bacon sandwich with a vinegar slaw and jalapeno jelly,” says Bennett.
The Joy of Ballpark Food is available for sale on Amazon. All of the royalties from the sale of The Joy of Ballpark Food are being donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.
To learn more, go to http://www.ballparkfood.org.
For further information, to request a review copy of The Joy of Ballpark Food, or to interview Bennett Jacobstein, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.
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The Power of a Great Press Release

News websitesPress releases are important to get the word out about your book online and gain visibility. There are numerous benefits to a well-written press release. Most importantly is the potential for reaching new customers; millions of people get their news online, including major media outlets. Because major websites such as Yahoo and Google News pull results from press release sites like PRWeb or PR Newswire, it is possible to reach thousands of potential customers in a matter of hours.
Now the question is, should you do it yourself or hire a professional? Well that depends greatly on your skills and knowledge of press releases, in addition to the amount of funds that you may or may not have available.
It is a good investment to have a professional press release writer or publicist write your press release. A quality press release will get picked up by more outlets and have far greater distribution results. However, anyone can write a press release as long as a little work is put into it. While a traditional press release has many rules, an Internet based release does not have those same strict guidelines.
More important than anything is your headline.
To write a successful press release you must keep in mind that it is all about the headline. As with anything on the Internet, you must grab a reader’s attention immediately; there are so many other companies and websites competing that your headline needs to jump off the page.
Keep your headline to around 150 words and be sure to include keywords or phrases. Do not use so many keywords and phrases that your title does not make any sense, however. Remember that the headline you write is similar to a first impression. It must be good enough that the reader wants to learn more.
Here are some sample headlines you could use to promote your book:
Author Michael D. Dennis Announces Book Signing In West Hollywood, CA
New Young Adult eBook ‘Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic’ Will Be Free On Amazon June 20 – 24, 2014
 Author Elise Celine Releases Inspirational Young Adult Romance Novel ‘John Dreamer’
Adventures of Retirement Living Chronicled in New Novel Time to Retire by Jon Foyt
 Author Enrico Lamet Offers Unique Perspective of World War II in Newly Released “A Gift from the Enemy”
 Quirky Young Heroine Stars in New Young Adult Adventure Book Series by Iain Reading 
Teko Bernard’s Highly Anticipated Debut Novel Now Available for Sale on Amazon.com
 New Contemporary Romance Novel ‘An Incurable Insanity’ Explores Traditional Indian Culture Through Universally Appealing Love Story
Children Gain Better Understanding of Cystic Fibrosis Through New Picture Book Sticky Icky Booger Bugs by Sherry Frith 
Lifestyle Businesses Are an Easy Way to Work Less and Live More, Says Author and Business Owner Rasmus Lindgren
New Sports Fiction Book Helps Kids Exercise Their Minds 
Novelist Jerry Kaczmarowski Announces The Release Of His Latest Techno Thriller ‘Sapient’
Keep it short and to the point.
You want to write just enough to peak the reader’s interest so that they want to visit your website for more. Do not give away all of the information in your press release. This will defeat the purpose of driving relevant, targeted traffic to your website.
Include pictures with your press release.
Studies have shown that press releases containing images will get better results than those that do not. Not only do people notice pictures quicker, a press release containing visuals looks better and is ranked higher by top search engines. If you are distributing a press release to promote your book, you should include both your headshot and your book cover with the press release.
Include contact and/or company information.
In the last sentence of your press release, include your publicists contact information. If you don’t have a publicist, then you should include your contact information.
Research press releases to get a better idea of the format. Publicists will tell you that the format you use for your press releases makes quite a bit of difference in the way your book and/or website is perceived.
By following a few simple rules you can write a great press release and attract the attention of many possible customers. Depending on the press release distribution website you decide to use, the rules and guidelines may vary slightly. Be sure to read each website’s rules before submitting your press release.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite press release distribution sites: https://bookpublicityservices.com/list-press-release-distribution-websites/

How to Get Book Reviews

Isolated open bookAre you a new writer hoping to enjoy similar success to those big names in the publishing world? Sales may not come overnight, but you can make a start by promoting your own work.
Whether you’re a traditionally published author or an independent one, book reviews are critical to your success. They are the lifeblood of your sales. A good book review can be worth hours or even weeks, of social networking. This article looks at some of the methods you can use to increase your book’s profile and gain more reviews.
Thank Those Who Have Already Purchased Your Book.
Make sure you leave a thank you at the end of the book. Adding a polite request for a review, with a link to the book on Amazon and Goodreads, is one way to help increase your reviews.
Reach Out To Book Bloggers
You can search online for book bloggers that cover your genre and ask them if they would be interested in reviewing your book. Here are two great book blogger databases: BookBlogging.net and The Indie View. Keep in mind you would need to provide them with a complimentary copy of your book to review. Most book bloggers have a page on their site that explains their review policy, make sure to read this before contacting them. Book bloggers will provide an honest review of your work, so you can’t expect that just because you gave them a free copy of your book that they are going to give you a 5 star review. The more reviews you have, the better. And you have to take the good with the bad. Plus studies show that readers aren’t usually put off by reviews which have both good and bad points.
Offer Free Review Copies
On your website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook announce that you are willing to offer free copies of your book in exchange for a review. Let readers know you’re looking for feedback to help improve your work. People love to know their opinion is being sought and taken on board, or that they’ve had a hand in shaping a creative work. Once readers realize you’re not likely to be put off by their comments, they’re going to be more interested in reviewing your book.
Reach Out To Book Clubs
Reach out to your local book clubs and ask if they would be interested in reading your book or having you come speak. You will need to provide complimentary copies of your book, but the amount of reviews you will get from the book club members will make it a good return on your investment. Meetup is a great site to use to search for book clubs in your area.
Conscience Reviewing
Make sure that you thank each reviewer personally; it doesn’t matter how bad the review is. Sometimes you have to simply grit your teeth and look carefully at the points they’ve raised. Try to address their concerns as if you’ve written them yourself.
Acknowledge your reviewer and give it a few days for them to respond. Maybe they will even edit their review. And if they don’t respond, other potential readers will see your mature approach to the review which can’t hurt.
Bear in mind that ultimately, building reviews isn’t going to be an overnight process. It can take a reviewer any where from 1 week to 1 year to review your book. It takes time, but with some networking, a few freebies, and willingness to take critique on board, you should see a noticeable difference in your book sales and reviews!

Sapient by Jerry Kaczmarowski

Sapient Book CoverJerry Kaczmarowski released his latest thriller Sapient in April 2015. It is available for sale on Amazon.

 

Synopsis:
Abandoned by her husband after the birth of their child, Jane Dixon’s world is defined by her 12 year old autistic son, Robbie, and the research she does to find a cure for his condition. She knows her work on animal intelligence may hold the key. She also knows that the research will take decades to complete. None of it will ultimately benefit her son.   
All that changes when a lab rat named Einstein demonstrates that he can read and write. Just as her research yields results, the U.S. government discovers her program. The army wants to harness her research for its military potential.  The CDC wants to shut her down completely.  The implications of animal intelligence are too dangerous, particularly when the previously inert virus proves to be highly contagious.   
She steals the virus to cure her son, but the government discovers the theft. She must now escape to Canada before the authorities can replace her son’s mental prison with a physical one.  

 

Praise for Sapient:
“A timely, winning adventure that brings up serious questions about technology and medical research.” – Reviewed by Kirkus
“Sapient by Jerry Kaczmarowski is an intense, action-packed, suspenseful and thrilling read! The storyline is definitely unique and pulls readers in right away… The book was fast-paced, flowed nicely and provided a thought provoking message. I believe Sapient will really make readers wonder just how far and to what lengths they would go to save someone they love.” – Reviewed by Charity Tober for Readers’ Favorite
“The plot is fast-paced, thought provoking, funny at times, and kept me reading to find out what would happen next. I think that the YA audience will love it.” – Reviewed by Dana Bjornstad
“I loved this story and I especially liked its animal characters – Einstein the lab rat with the keen sense of humor and Bear, the one-eyed German Shepherd dog who seems to always be the butt of Einstein’s jokes. And the human characters aren’t half bad either.” – Reviewed by Cheryl Stout
“A timeless, engrossing and perfectly-paced techno thriller about the promise – and fear – of modern medical science.” – Reviewed by Best Thrillers

 

Read the first chapter in the book Sapient:
Chapter 1
A young research assistant poked his head through the laboratory door and said, “We’re heading out to grab some beers. Want to join us?”
Dr. Jane Dixon brushed aside a strand of dark hair that had fallen from her ponytail. She waved the offer off without turning to face him and gave a curt, “Too much work.” I need to get out of here at a decent time to see Robbie, or I’m going to need to find a new nanny.
“Come on, Dr. Dixon. One quick drink. It’s Friday.”
She sighed and faced him, removing her dark-rimmed glasses. “How about a rain check?” She gave the younger man her best smile, but Jane knew she sounded insincere.
“Sure, a rain check.” The research assistant gave a perfunctory nod and let the door swing shut. Jane wouldn’t receive another invitation anytime soon, which was fine with her.
She put her hands in the small of her back and stretched, yielding a satisfying pop. Not for the first time, she congratulated herself on the regularity of her yoga workouts. They were one of the few distractions she permitted herself. With forty in the not-too- distant future, it was one distraction she couldn’t afford to forgo. She pulled her stool closer to her computer and checked her maze for the final time. She chuckled to herself. After all her years of education, she was reduced to playing video games with rodents. Using a virtual maze allowed her to create a level of complexity unrealistic with traditional animal intelligence testing.
Jane walked into an adjoining room with rows of cages where her subjects spent most of their day. She approached a cage adorned with a garish blue first-place ribbon. Her assistant had put it on the door as a joke. At first, it migrated back and forth as different rats outperformed others. For the past two months, it hadn’t moved.
She opened the cage and made a coaxing motion. “Come here, Einstein.” A fat, white rat dashed out the door onto her hand and scrambled up her right shoulder. His neon-blue eyes gave off an icy intelligence. The change in eye color was one of many side effects of her tests Jane still couldn’t explain. The rat whipped its tail into her hair for balance, hopping from paw to paw.
“Settle down, boy,” she said. She carried Einstein back into the lab with its virtual maze and extended her hand. He raced down her arm to the large trackball and made little jumps in anticipation of the race. As Jane clamped him gently into the metal rig that held him in place, he stopped jumping. Einstein differed from the other rats—he never struggled when Jane locked him in place. The other rats fought against the harness, making it difficult to complete the test preparations.
A two-dimensional overview of a simple maze flashed on the screen. Without hesitating, Einstein rolled through the maze on his trackball, completing the challenge in seconds.
“Too easy,” Jane said. “You don’t even deserve a prize.” Despite this, she stroked the rat’s head and gave him a small piece of cheese. Einstein snapped it up in his front paws. As soon as he devoured it, he pulled against his harness and chattered at Jane.
“Relax, big fella.” She tapped on her keyboard to reconfigure the course before bending down to eye level with Einstein. “Now the real challenge begins.” He stared into her sea- green eyes. The small rodent had the intense focus of a fighter about to get in the ring.
A second maze flashed on the screen. There was a straightforward solution that was long and twisting. A second solution existed, but so far, none of the rats had figured it out. The second path had two tiny virtual teleportation pads. If the rats stepped onto one of the pads, they were transported to a corresponding location in a different part of the maze. For this test, the pads would save precious seconds.
“Go,” Jane shouted, starting the timer. Einstein didn’t budge. Instead, he looked back and forth between the obvious path and the first teleportation pad.
“Clock’s ticking,” Jane said to herself in frustration.
Einstein shrieked as he noticed the decreasing progress bar. A tentative paw step forward cleared the maze overview and put him in a six-inch-high virtual hallway. He waddled straight to the teleportation pad but stopped short. He turned his gaze to Jane as his whiskers moved back and forth, up and down. Jane stared back, willing him to make the right move.
The rat rolled forward on his trackball across the pad. The screen flashed, and he teleported to within a few steps of the exit. With a final glance at Jane, he spun through the gate with twenty seconds left on the clock.
Jane clapped her hands. “You did it.” She reached toward him. He clambered up her arm, slower now that he was out of the virtual world. She gave him a piece of cheese and returned him to the steel table.
“Impressive,” she said to the empty room. At times like this she wished someone could appreciate her triumphs. Her coworkers were at the bar. And Robbie? Robbie is Robbie. The warm smile of a mother flitted across her face as she thought about her son.
Einstein broke her reverie as he scratched and clawed at an iPad on the table. “It’s like having a second child,” Jane sighed to herself. She obliged Einstein’s pestering by starting an old episode of Sesame Street. The classic show was his favorite. Most other children’s programming bored him. His second-favorite genre was as far from the Children’s Television Workshop gang as you could get. One of Jane’s more unsavory assistants had decided to play Rated R comedies on the screen in the evening when the animals were alone in their cages. The crass movies entertained Einstein for hours despite the fact he couldn’t understand any of them.
Jane’s mobile phone vibrated. A message from her nanny read, “WHERE R U!!!” She glanced at the time in the lower right of her screen and gave a sharp intake of breath. I did it again, she chided herself.
“Leaving now. Sorry.” She almost typed a sad face emoticon but caught herself. It wouldn’t be well received. She pushed Send and dropped the phone on the lab table. She pounded the results of today’s tests into her computer, not bothering to correct spelling errors as she raced to enter her observations while they were still fresh.
The phone buzzed again. Jane gritted her teeth at the unnecessary back-and-forth. These nastygrams would only delay her departure. She reached for the phone in frustration, but Einstein was perched over it, staring at the screen. She nudged the little rodent back and set her jaw as she read the text.
The screen read, “Who is Einstein?” As she struggled to make sense of the nanny’s text, her eyes scanned back to the previous outbound message. She juggled her phone, almost dropping it on the floor.
The screen read, “I am Einstein.”

 


Author Jerry KaczmarowskiAbout the Author
:
Jerry Kaczmarowski lives in Seattle with his family. He writes techno-thrillers that explore the benefits and dangers of mankind’s scientific advancement. His first book, Moon Rising, was released in June 2014.  His second book, Sapient, was published in April 2015.
Jerry spent the first twenty years of his professional life in the consulting industry on the West Coast. His fascination with technology is matched only by his love of stories. His books intertwine action with a keen insight into how technology will shape our lives in the coming years.
To learn more, go to JerryKaczmarowski.com
Connect with Jerry on TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads.

 

5 Benefits of Reading

a good book and a cup of coffeeThere are many benefits of reading regularly. Here are a few good reasons why you should read every day:
Improves Vocabulary & Speaking Skills
A good vocabulary can make you a better writer and speaker. Make it a point to look up the meaning of new words you come across while reading. Keep your mind open and constantly try to learn new words and use them in written and spoken sentences. Literate people are able to articulate themselves much more proficiently. Reading can help you speak and converse more skillfully. This can boost your social life and professional career. Knowledgeable people with a rich vocabulary stand a better chance of getting promotions and moving ahead in their careers. Also, a regular reading habit can boost your creativity and help you feel more confident when speaking.
Improves Writing
The more you read, the better you will write. Reading a wide range of authors and genres helps you learn different writing styles. Whether you read classic literature, or today’s bestsellers, you will learn the art of crafting compelling prose that will hook readers. Read and write as much as possible and you are sure to become a better writer.
Reduces Stress
Many studies show that reading reduces stress. It slows your heart rate and it takes your mind off the stresses of work and every day life. Because reading is so relaxing, it’s a good activity to do before bed, rather than watch TV or play on your phone.
Good For Your Brain
Reading regularly helps keep your brain strong. Your brain is a muscle and reading is exercise for it. The mental stimulation you get from reading helps keep your brain healthy. Reading often, especially as you age, can help fight off dementia and alzheimer’s. It also improves your memory, critical thinking skills, and your ability to concentrate.
“On Friday night, I was reading my new book, but my brain got tired, so I decided to watch some television instead.”Stephen Chbosky
Boosts Knowledge
Good general knowledge is important for academic and professional success as it can help you excel in tests, interviews, etc. You can boost your knowledge about all things under the sun by reading. This knowledge will stay with you throughout your life. So, invest in an e-book reader or join a library or book club today.
Conclusion
We’ve only listed a few of the many benefits of regular reading. Books are a wonderful source of knowledge that can be tapped for professional success and personal fulfillment. Make it a point to read every day. It is good for your health and can improve many aspects of your life.