Novel, Publish, Writing

Titles and covers and blurbs, oh my!

I did not intend to blog only once last month. September just disappeared while I was busy writing. If you’re a self-publisher trying to do it all yourself, like me, maybe you’ll relate to my current predicament. Actually, even if you have a team who decides on the title, cover, and back cover copy for your books, you might sympathize—and feel fortunate.

unkbookEven though I planned for my romantic comedy to be a shorter novel than my serious women’s fiction, the first draft missed the goal by a good bit. No surprise really. I write lean, so my first drafts always fall short of the word count goal. Still, I worried I wouldn’t be able to add enough in revision. Now, I’m no longer concerned.

A successful and busy writer friend graciously offered her time to read my first draft and make some excellent suggestions. Those comments inspired me to add over 5,000 words so far. By the time I finish the first revision, I expect the word count to grow a bit more.  So, that’s all good.

Unfortunately, I still don’t have a title. The scary thing is, when I think about titles, my mind goes blank. At this stage of writing my first two novels, I’d started compiling a list of possible titles, most of them terrible, still I had something. This time I have nothing except the working title, and even though this is a rom-com, I think the working title is too cutesy.

I’m getting impatient because I want to start working on the cover, and the title is an important factor in the design. Other than knowing the cover needs to announce the book as a fun read, I have no image visualized. I fall asleep every night hoping my subconscious will allow me to see the perfect cover in a dream—and let me retain it when I wake.

Also, I need to start work on the back cover blurb. Oh, joy! I suck at writing those. I’m still not satisfied with the blurbs for my first two novels. You’d think that since I wrote the books, describing them would be a cinch. Not so, for me. It doesn’t help knowing I’ll have to do this all for two more books in the next few months.

Dang. Where’s a good title, cover, and blurb fairy when you need one?



17 thoughts on “Titles and covers and blurbs, oh my!”

  1. I have a fairy in the form of a friend – she gave me the title for my first release, which was great because I was drawing blank! I hope you get a title soon, and good luck with the blurb. My advice would be, write one out, then send it to someone else to perfect, someone not so close to the story. Seems to work for everyone I know!!


      1. either someone who hasn’t, or someone who has read it works fine too – just someone who can see things from a different perspective than you and can jazz it up a bit.


  2. This means you are going strong with your writing. The titles will come to you. The other two were brilliant. No one likes writing the blurb. How do you summarize take all those pages onto the back cover? It’s cruel and inhumane to expect us to do that.


  3. Whenever it comes to anything other than the actual writing, I’m sure I suck. In fact, my husband’s cut me off mid-sentence trying to explain my book to friends and explained it himself. Blurb and synopsis writing are separate talents for sure. 🙂


      1. I did write it down and played with it a bit–hopefully making it better and not ruining by over-editing. 🙂 Good luck with your blurb! You will probably find someone who’s able to do it–especially if you have a couple betas. For me, I stink at summaries, but I’m also too far inside the book to be able to summarize it properly. All I see are trees.


      2. Good idea! Hopefully one of mind is good at blurb writing too. Which do you think is more helpful, having your MS critiqued in a writers’ group or read by a beta readers?


        1. I think, ideally, you should do both, LaTanya. Critique groups, which are made up of other writers, should be able to give you the help to get your first or second draft revised and polished enough to send to beta readers, which should be a combination of writers and non-writing readers.


  4. Blurbs. Indeed, a challenge. As a reader, I usually find blurbs to sound corny, sappy, too dramatic, or they otherwise don’t do an excellent book justice. So, I often tend to skim blurbs, forget what they said two seconds after reading them, or skip reading them altogether if I already have a strong sense that I want to read a book. Not being a big fan of blurbs makes them harder to write, I suppose. 😀 However, as long as a blurb doesn’t indicate that the book itself may be poorly written by having grammatical errors or typos or sounding like a book report (“This book is about.. The main character thinks…”), the blurb doesn’t have to wow me. Might be weird of me, as a reader!


    1. Hi, Nadine. Thanks for sharing your perspective on blurbs. I’ve read some of those “book report” blurbs and always cringe. If you already have a strong sense that you want to read a book, was that sense formed by word of mouth or reading an interview or what?


      1. Sometimes it may be an intriguing title; other times it may be because I met and like the author as a person, so I’m game to read the author’s work. If I’ve read and loved an author before, I’ll likely read another book by him/her even if I don’t know what the book’s about beforehand. And, oftentimes, it’s bookish aesthetics and my mood: how does the book look, feel, smell (if I’m shopping in a brick-and-mortar store or at a library sale), or how does the cover look (if I’m shopping online.) For instance, if I’m in the mood for an old-fashioned, homey read, I’m prone to buy a book based on its old-fashioned, homey-looking cover art or the cover itself, if it’s a hardback with no cover art or dust jacket.

        Also, online, I don’t read many author interviews, but I do check out an author’s bio or his/her website. Even if I quickly forget the blurb of a book by an author I’ve not read before, if I relate to something in the author’s bio, it makes me want to read the book.


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