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Chasing the Blurb

The blurb. Books have been written about it, Facebook groups review and argue about it, and you better get it “right.”

What is It?

Per the dictionary, the blurb is a noun: “a short description of a book, movie, or other product written for promotional purposes and appearing on the cover of a book or in an advertisement.”

If you look at Forgive Us on Amazon, you’ll find the blurb here:

The Perfect Blurb

To authors, the blurb becomes a mythical creature that you chase to “get right.” Soon, you’ll find yourself in several Facebook groups discussing whether your blurb will work, what’s wrong with it, and whether it’s causing your book to sell less. You’ll try and try to incorporate input just to get another set of opinions of what works and what doesn’t. Still, you’ll have no idea whether the blurb is actually working because you can’t tell whether someone is choosing not to buy your book and move on. Is it the cover? The blurb? The price? Mismatch in interest? And so on…

Like most everyone else, I’ve gone through several versions of the blurb for Forgive Us before settling on the current blurb. This post shows the early attempts up to the current one. 

Please shoot me a message on Facebook or Instagram to tell me what you think!

Original Blurb

I had no idea how important the blurb was when first publishing the book. So, I wrote a description that made sense to me:

Earth ended slowly, asphyxiated by man’s drive for energy and silenced by fire and brimstone. In the hopeless remnants, there is only the struggle to survive and endure.

Oliver, a lone rider bearing the scars of the old world, flees east into the untamed lands beyond the Rocky Mountains. He spearheads the frontier and carries the burden of civilization into the new world, destined to rebuild from the ruins. He has to survive the wasteland where the earth is toxic, and the very air itself is a corrosive poison.

London, a veteran of the wasteland, shields his adopted daughter Rose from an unforgiving world.  They live in a new age that’ll soon draw them into the bitter feuds between fledgling nations. No matter what, London will sacrifice anything for Rose. Unbeknownst to London, they are about to be drawn right into the scourge of war. 

Simon, a man born and raised on the great Arcadis space station, faces suppressive pressure from The Peacekeepers and The Leaders. Ever the tinkerer, Simon needs to be careful as he breaks the dystopian rules in the world he has to live in. 

Reminiscent of The Gunslinger and The Stand, E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us provides an action-packed intro for those wanting to explore adult horror dystopian fiction.

The book was published in December 2020 and I started to get feedback from other authors: YOUR BLURB IS NO GOOD!

Show the Timelines

A few weeks later and after the pretty blunt feedback on the blurb, a new blurb came alive, this time focusing on showcasing the timelines in the book.

“SILENT, EMPTY, AND CRUEL. THIS WAS THE NATURE OF THE WASTELAND.”

The war between nature and humanity has no winner. Humanity’s drive for energy and technology was its downfall. 

In an Ignium-polluted world, survivors fight on and endure the world caused by their ancestors. From what was left, they will rebuild and struggle to make a better place for their descendants.

December 31, 2099. Oliver, a lone rider bearing the scars of the old world, flees east into the untamed lands beyond the Rocky Mountains. He spearheads the frontier. He carries the burden of civilization into the new world, destined to rebuild from the ruins.

May 13, 2154. London, a veteran of the wasteland, shields his adopted daughter Rose from an unforgiving world. They live in a new age that’ll soon draw them into the bitter feuds between fledgling nations. No matter what, London will sacrifice anything for Rose. His struggle will determine who she will become and if she survives in the new world.

April 13, 2185. Simon, a man born and raised on a great space station called the Arcadis Station, faces the onset of revolution. In the shadows, he will fuel the flames of freedom.

In three time periods, four characters fight for their futures in the harsh reality of the new post-Ignium wasteland

Reminiscent of The Gunslinger and The Stand, E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us provides an action-packed intro for those wanting to explore adult horror dystopian fiction.

More feedback, more “no good” from some while others thought it was pretty good.

Skip the Bulleted List

Some feedback said to not use a bulleted list and end the blurb with a question. Here’s another attempt.

SILENT, EMPTY, AND CRUEL. THIS WAS THE NATURE OF THE WASTELAND.

The war between nature and humanity has no winner. Humanity’s drive for energy and technology was its downfall. Forgive Us is a thrilling, unpredictable, and wonderfully complex story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. As the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life after a set of apocalyptic events caused by human waste and consumption, it shows brutal examples of human violence, hate, and apathy depicting how anyone can be turned into an unfeeling monster, and that dehumanization is the easiest way to allow the mind to kill.

Oliver, a lone rider bearing the scars of the old world, flees east into the untamed lands beyond the Rocky Mountains. He spearheads the frontier and carries the burden of civilization into the new world, destined to rebuild from the ruins.

London, a veteran of the wasteland, shields his adopted daughter Rose from an unforgiving world. They live in a new age that’ll soon draw them into the bitter feuds between fledgling nations. No matter what, London will sacrifice anything for Rose. His struggle will determine who she will become and if she survives in the new world.

Simon, a man born and raised on a great space station called the Arcadis Station, faces the onset of revolution. In the shadows, he will fuel the flames of freedom.

Reminiscent of The Gunslinger and The Stand, E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us provides an action-packed intro for those wanting to explore adult horror dystopian fiction.

Perseverance drives the remnants of humanity who have survived the collapse of civilization, along with the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem and climate. As civilization is slowly being rebuilt, can the people who live in those societies survive the wars and trials to build a better tomorrow?

Short and Sweet?

More feedback, another try after just four days. This time, an attempt to keep the blurb short and sweet.

“SILENT, EMPTY, AND CRUEL. THIS WAS THE NATURE OF THE WASTELAND.

Forgive Us is a thrilling, unpredictable, and wonderfully complex story that moves back and forth in time. Oliver, a lone rider bearing the scars of the old world, flees east into the untamed lands beyond the Rocky Mountains. He spearheads the frontier and carries the burden of civilization into the new world, destined to rebuild from the ruins.

London, a veteran of the wasteland, shields his adopted daughter Rose from an unforgiving world. They live in a new age that’ll soon draw them into the bitter feuds between fledgling nations. No matter what, London will sacrifice anything for Rose. Simon, a man born and raised on the great Arcadis space station, faces the suppressive pressure from The Peacekeepers and The Leaders.

Reminiscent of The Gunslinger and The Stand, E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us provides an action-packed intro for those wanting to explore adult horror dystopian fiction.

Will This Ever End?

Trying a different approach to help with Amazon book description. It ain’t easy, is it?

SILENT, EMPTY, AND CRUEL. THIS WAS THE NATURE OF THE WASTELAND. Forgive Us is a thrilling, unpredictable, and wonderfully complex story that moves back and forth in time in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by Ignium, energy designed to be the ultimate power source.

Oliver, a lone rider bearing the scars of the old world, flees east into the untamed lands beyond the Rocky Mountains. He spearheads the frontier and carries the burden of civilization into the new world, destined to rebuild from the ruins. He has to survive the wasteland where the earth is toxic, and the very air itself is a corrosive poison.

London, a veteran of the wasteland, shields his adopted daughter Rose from an unforgiving world. They live in a new age that’ll soon draw them into the bitter feuds between fledgling nations. No matter what, London will sacrifice anything for Rose. Unbeknownst to London, they are about to be drawn right into the scourge of war.

Simon, a man born and raised on the great Arcadis space station, faces suppressive pressure from The Peacekeepers and The Leaders. Ever the tinkerer, Simon needs to be careful as he breaks the dystopian rules in the world he has to live in.

Reminiscent of The Gunslinger and The Stand, E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us provides an action-packed intro for those wanting to explore adult horror dystopian fiction.

Skip the Intro Line

Perhaps it’s a mistake to lead with the opening line of the book? Here’s another try.

Earth ended slowly, asphyxiated by man’s drive for energy and silenced by fire and brimstone. In the hopeless remnants, there is only the struggle to survive and endure.

Oliver, a lone rider bearing the scars of the old world, flees east into the untamed lands beyond the Rocky Mountains. He spearheads the frontier and carries the burden of civilization into the new world, destined to rebuild from the ruins. He has to survive the wasteland where the earth is toxic, and the very air itself is a corrosive poison.

London, a veteran of the wasteland, shields his adopted daughter Rose from an unforgiving world. They live in a new age that’ll soon draw them into the bitter feuds between fledgling nations. No matter what, London will sacrifice anything for Rose. Unbeknownst to London, they are about to be drawn right into the scourge of war.

Simon, a man born and raised on the great Arcadis space station, faces suppressive pressure from The Peacekeepers and The Leaders. Ever the tinkerer, Simon needs to be careful as he breaks the dystopian rules in the world he has to live in.

Reminiscent of The Gunslinger and The Stand, E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us provides an action-packed intro for those wanting to explore adult horror dystopian fiction.

Another Rewrite

Let’s throw in some more search keywords in the blurb! Can you spot them?

The Earth ended slowly, asphyxiated by man’s drive for energy and silenced by fire and brimstone. In the hopeless dystopian remnants, there is only the struggle to survive and endure.

Oliver, a lone rider bearing the scars of the old world, flees east into the untamed lands beyond the Rocky Mountains. He spearheads the frontier and carries the burden of civilization into the new world, destined to rebuild from the ruins. He has to survive the wasteland where the earth is toxic, and the very air itself is a corrosive poison.

London, a veteran of the wasteland, shields his adopted daughter Rose from an unforgiving world. They live in a new age that’ll soon draw them into the bitter feuds between fledgling nations. No matter what, London will sacrifice anything for Rose. Unbeknownst to London, they are about to be drawn right into the scourge of war.

Simon, a man born and raised on the great Arcadis space station, faces suppressive pressure from The Peacekeepers and The Leaders. Ever the tinkerer, Simon needs to be careful as he breaks the authoritarian rules in the world he has to live in.

Reminiscent of The Gunslinger and The Stand, E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us provides an action-packed intro for those wanting to explore adult horror dystopian fiction.

Adding a Review

Maybe it’s better to lead with a review to gain interest? The book editor Alison got the honors. Let’s add some visual interest using bold text, too.

“This is the book I want to hand to my friends and family when they ask what kind of work I do.” – Alison Rolf, Alison Rachel Editing

The Earth ended slowly, asphyxiated by man’s drive for energy and silenced by fire and brimstone. 

Oliver, a lone rider bearing the scars of the old world, flees east into the untamed lands beyond the Rocky Mountains. He spearheads the frontier and carries the burden of civilization into the new world, destined to rebuild from the ruins. He has to survive the wasteland where the earth is toxic, and the very air itself is a corrosive poison.

In the hopeless dystopian remnants, there is only the struggle to survive and endure. 

London, a veteran of the wasteland, shields his adopted daughter Rose from an unforgiving world. They live in a new age that’ll soon draw them into the bitter feuds between fledgling nations. No matter what, London will sacrifice anything for Rose. Unbeknownst to London, they are about to be drawn right into the scourge of war. 

In heaven above are the Raptured, orbiting in their grand space stations until the day of their return.

Simon, a man born and raised on the great Arcadis space station, faces suppressive pressure from The Peacekeepers and The Leaders. Ever the tinkerer, Simon needs to be careful as he breaks the authoritarian rules in the world he has to live in.

Reminiscent of The Gunslinger and The Stand, E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us provides an action-packed post-apocalyptic survival thriller for those wanting to explore adult horror dystopian fiction. 

Getting Some Help

Clearly, it was time to get some professional help. Off to fiverr.com to find someone with good reviews and more blurb experience. Here’s the result. I’m not a fan of using “epic novel” because it sounds more like fantasy but whom am I to argue with a pro?

Three timelines. One dark future…

A new form of energy has poisoned the earth, leaving civilization in ruins. As decades go by, the inheritors of this devastation struggle to survive and reconquer a broken planet…

In 2099: Mankind emerges from the darkness. A lone rider named Oliver journeys east, seeking civilization beyond the Rocky Mountains. Braving the toxic earth and poison air, Oliver must battle a horde of deadly mutants as he unites a band of refugees into the first nation of this new world…

In 2153: Fledging nations clash over land and resources. London, a veteran of the wasteland, struggles to protect his adopted daughter Rose as the world decays around them. But little does he know, both he and his adopted daughter will soon find themselves drawn into a coming war…

In 2184: Simon, a descendent of those who fled the earth, lives on the great Arcadis Station. A gifted technician, he works vigilantly against those who rule his society with an iron fist. In the shadows, he will be the difference between enslavement or liberty…

Fans of The Gunslinger and The Stand will love Forgive Us. This epic novel takes readers on a post-apocalyptic thrill ride, spanning three generations of a ravaged earth…

Book Reviews, Again

I received fantastic book reviews that shouldn’t be wasted, right? There’s ample of space and other more successful authors interleave reviews in their blurbs so why not?

“Author E. T. Gunnarsson delivers a powerhouse of post-apocalyptic prose in this highly engrossing and cinematically styled novel.” – K.C. Finn, Reader’s Favorite ★★★★★

Three timelines. One dark future…

The Earth ended slowly, asphyxiated by man’s drive for energy and silenced by fire and brimstone. Civilization is left in ruins. The inheritors are left to struggle to survive and reconquer a broken planet.

In 2099, mankind emerges from the darkness. A lone rider named Oliver journeys east, seeking civilization beyond the Rocky Mountains. Braving the toxic earth and poison air, Oliver must battle a horde of deadly mutants as he unites a band of refugees into the first nation of this new world…

In 2153, fledgling nations clash over land and resources. London, a veteran of the wasteland, struggles to protect his adopted daughter Rose as the world decays around them. But little does he know, both he and his adopted daughter will soon find themselves drawn into a coming war…

In 2184, Simon, a descendent of those who fled the earth, lives on the great Arcadis Station. A gifted technician, he works vigilantly against those who rule his society with an iron fist. In the shadows, he will be the difference between enslavement or liberty…

Fans of The Gunslinger and The Stand will love Forgive Us. This epic novel takes readers on a post-apocalyptic thrill ride, spanning three generations of a ravaged earth…

See what readers are saying about Forgive Us

“E.T. Gunnarsson paints a grim picture of humanity’s self-inflicted future in Forgive Us, a dystopian thriller that will leave readers gasping, as though they too are on the toxic, Ignium-ruined surface of the Earth.” – Self-Publishing Review ★★★★★ “…

The novel is as rich in its characterisation as in its worldbuilding, delivering a story which develops over time and gives us generations of heroes and villains forged from dire circumstance. For its edge-of-your-seat thrills, inviting character work and deep conceptual realism, I would highly recommend Forgive Us to fans of dystopian worlds, suspenseful horror and for survival fiction fans everywhere.” – K.C. Finn for Reader’s Favorite ★★★★★

“The progressive buildup of tension and history is excellent, leading to an unpredictable conclusion that comes full circle in a surprising way.” – Diane Donovan, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Reviews ★★★★★

“The world-building was phenomenal in this brilliant and entertaining novel. The author gave readers exceptional characters that drove the story forward and allowed them to form a relationship with each of them.” – Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite ★★★★★

“This is an incredible freshman debut for the author, I sincerely hope he continues writing and will be on the outlook for any other work he has published.” – Jonathan Nikitas, NetGalley Reviewer ★★★★★

“Simply put, an excellent read.” – Lit Amri for Reader’s Favorite ★★★★★

Today

Amazon already has a section for reviews and it seemed that the blurb became too long for today’s consumer. Here’s the blurb version I have settled on. There’s a subtle change in this version. Can you spot it?

Three timelines. One dark future…

The Earth ended slowly, asphyxiated by man’s drive for energy and silenced by fire and brimstone. Civilization is left in ruins. The inheritors are left to struggle to survive and reconquer a broken planet.

In 2099, mankind emerges from the darkness. A lone rider named Oliver journeys east, seeking civilization beyond the Rocky Mountains. Braving the toxic earth and poison air, Oliver must battle a horde of deadly mutants as he unites a band of refugees into the first nation of this new world…

In 2153, fledgling nations clash over land and resources. London, a veteran of the wasteland, struggles to protect his adopted daughter Rose as the world decays around them. But little does he know, both he and his adopted daughter will soon find themselves drawn into a coming war…

In 2184, Simon, a descendent of those who fled the earth, lives on the great Arcadis Station. A gifted technician, he works vigilantly against those who rule his society with an iron fist. In the shadows, he will be the difference between enslavement or liberty…

Fans of The Gunslinger and Mad Max will love Forgive Us. This epic novel takes readers on a post-apocalyptic thrill ride, spanning three generations of a ravaged earth…

In Conclusion…

Which blurb did you like the best and why? I’d love to get your feedback to learn more about what my readers think. Please shoot me a message on Facebook or Instagram to chat about the blurb used for Forgive Us.

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