Thursday, March 29, 2007

Will this back cover entice you?


Dear all, need to pick your brilliant brains again :)

Would this blurb on the back cover entice you? Naturally, Kenny is designing something to portray all the authors' names as well as part of the back cover. Please comment on what you like about the blurb, and which sentences you would change. Are the sypnoses of some of the stories compelling enough to make you pick up the book? Should I change them?


BLURB

A youth is imprisoned in a swinging crate above the ground, the first obstacle in a Chinese box of puzzles he has to solve.

A 15th century boy meets the Angel of Death.

An attractive nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A football gambling addict is captured by his creditors and made to go through a ‘Payback Chamber’.


14 different authors from Malaysia, US, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Switzerland come together to weave you 16 diabolically entertaining tales. Every tale has a twist, and every twist, a tale. See if you can spot the ending coming.


Praise for Dark City

"Why you should read this book: It's really good, that's why.”
The Malay Mail


“….Wow, what a read (Dark City) turned out to be….” Borneo Post


43 comments:

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Ling said...

I believe you need to eliminate some of the adjectives and adverbs. Tighten everything; make it snappier and more active. For instance:

A youth is imprisoned in a crate swinging above the ground, with puzzles he must solve.

A 15th century boy encounters the Angel of Death.

An attractive nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A gambling addict is made to go through a ‘Payback Chamber’.

14 authors from Malaysia and around the world come together to weave 16 diabolical tales. Every tale has a twist, and every twist, a tale. See if you can spot the ending coming.



As for the Praise for Dark City, perhaps you need to go for edgier quotes:

My suggestions:

"Laced with local superstition, anecdotes and spiked with twists and deception." - FHM

"This is the KL you fear to imagine." - THE SUN

"Xeus has tapped into urban paranoia." - THE MALAY MAIL

Xeus said...

Thanks John. Will take it into consideration.

I avoided the FHM one because that's off the blurb for the first book. Will incorporate the Sun one.

I also tend to avoid the ones with Xeus in the comment because DC2 is not about me alone.

Lydia Teh said...

Good job, Xeus. The cover is really dark and foreboding.

Kenny Mah said...

Your last comment about avoiding quotes with 'Xeus' because DC2 is not about you alone really struck me. Having now known you personally and worked with you, you fit part of the profile of an author - professional, disciplined, creative, ambitious - and yet, this stereotype I have in my mind of egoistic and highly-demanding writers, well, let's just say you've banished the myth completely.

If I had known writers and editors could be such friendly people, I'd have ventured into writing earlier, haha.

But, back to your topic, I like John's take: it does feel cleaner and punchier. Design-wise, this means the text is less messy and clearer to the reader.

Xeus said...

Lydia, back cover hasn't been inked by Kenny yet. What do you think of the blurb that will go in? You like?

Kenny, you praise me so much already I pai seh la! Cannot come out of house already.

I'll show you the latest after I've collected more comments. Received one from Eric Forbes via email as well.

Anonymous said...

Kenny - Not all writers or editors are nice people. Lynette and Lydia are just some of the exceptions. However, I did find all the foreign writers at the LitFest down-to-earth and humble people, some of the nicest people I have ever met. Malaysian writers, on the other hand, are egoistic and primadonna-ish even though they haven't been published. Well, life's like that, I guess.

Xeus said...

Dear Anon, I'm going to faint soon :) But you are right. I know plenty of writers and editors who are not nice people too. And I suppose some of us go out of our way to NOT be like them. Great to hear everyone at the Litfest was so nice. I wish I could have gone now, but the times were not so friendly to working people like me.

John Ling said...

Anon, it's really a matter of environment. In Malaysia, you are more likely to be bombarded with nasty and discouraging comments just because you want to write.

Writers, for the most part, are not seen as productive people; we are hopeless romantics with our heads stuck in the clouds. That doesn't fit well with a culture that fixates on profits and productivity.

So many writers/editors shield themselves against such negativity by being egoistic. Yes, especially those who have not been published.

It's all too easy to fall into the trap of being nasty just because others have been nasty to you. A tit-for-tat, if you will.

Xeus said...

You are a pretty nice down to earth published writer yourself, John :)

JY said...

"... has tapped into urban paranoia." - The Malay Mail

That's how you can make use of extracts from reviews, Xeus, without mentioning the author's name.

I like John's pick from The Sun review. It gives me goosebumps just reading it. Heh.

How about one more blurb? For e.g.:
"An ordinary man learns how to be a killer. His motive and whom he wants to murder are paramount. The consequences mean nothing to him."

Tunku Halim said...

Xeus, I agree with John's comments: the blurbs needs to be tighter and more active.

How about:

replacing "made to go through" with "forced to go through",

replacing "attractive" with "gorgeous"



A youth is imprisoned in a swinging crate above the ground, the first obstacle in a Chinese box of puzzles he has to solve.

A 15th century boy meets the Angel of Death.

An attractive nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A football gambling addict is captured by his creditors and made to go through a ‘Payback Chamber’.

John Ling said...

Xeus - Thank you! It means a lot.

jy - Ooo... that's my story!

th - aha, you have a point there. =)

Xeus said...

OK, everyone...look at this. How about this going in?

A youth is imprisoned in a swinging crate above the ground ─ the first in a series of obstacles he has to solve.

A gorgeous nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A 15th century boy meets the Angel of Death.

An ordinary man learns how to be a killer. His motive and whom he wants to murder are paramount. The consequences mean nothing to him.


Fourteen authors from Malaysia, US, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Switzerland come together to weave you sixteen diabolically entertaining tales. Every tale has a twist, and every twist, a tale. See if you can spot the ending coming.



Praise for Dark City

"Why you should read this book: It's really good, that's why.”

The Malay Mail


“….Wow, what a read (Dark City) turned out to be….” Borneo Post


"This is the KL you fear to imagine." – The Sun

Anonymous said...

Ahhh..Xeus, you took my story out of the blurb!

Hahaha.. it's ok! i dont really mind.

I dunno abt the others, but this being my first soon-to-be published work, i m blaaardyyy excited!!!! :)

-kokyee-

Xeus said...

Sorry Kok Yee, you should have commented earlier! We just want the most attractive blurbs. What matters is that people pick up the book and read your story inside.

I'm glad you are excited. Just remember to work on everything I've told you to, and you're on your way to getting your own book.

Tunku Halim said...

Xeus - just a few suggested changes to further tighten it:

A youth is imprisoned in a crate swinging high above ─ one of many obstacles he has to solve.

A gorgeous nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A 15th century boy meets the Angel of Death.

An ordinary man learns to heartlessly kill. His motive and victim are vital. Consequences mean nothing.


Fourteen authors from Malaysia, US, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Switzerland come together to weave you 16 diabolically entertaining tales. Every tale has a twist, and every twist, a tale. See if you can spot the ending coming.

John Ling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Ling said...

Hmmm... some of the synopses feel very clunky. Perhaps what might work better is turning them into one-sentence punchlines. Cleaner and more fluid.

They shouldn't attempt to over-explain the stories. They are simply teasers to entice potential readers. This way, we have the benefit of extra space, and we can include Kok Yee's synopsis:




A youth is imprisoned in a crate swinging above the ground.

A gorgeous nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A 15th century boy meets the Angel of Death.

An ordinary man learns how to kill.

A gambling addict is forced to go through a 'Payback Chamber’.




What do you guys think?

Argus Lou said...

Yes, I agree. "An ordinary man learns how to kill in cold blood" and "every twist a tale" (no comma) and we don't need to mention all the other countries ("Malaysia and elsewhere" will do).

John Ling said...

Also, I'm thinking about cleanliness of layout.

If we limit the synopses to one-sentence punchlines, it'll be easier for Kenny to fit them all on the back cover, with each only taking up one line.

Does that make sense?

Argus Lou said...

Not to forget:
"Including a brand-new story each from Tunku Halim and Lydia Teh"

It's time to drop names - a bit!
^_^

Xeus said...

TH and John, what marvellous ideas. I shall definitely incorporate those. Argus can edit.

Argus, Kenny and I wanted the Malaysia and all the other countries mentioned because that's a selling point for the book.

But your idea about TH and Lydia's name dropping is also a good selling point.

Lydia Teh said...

John's idea of one-liners is very good. Wished I'd thought of it.

But no need to name-droplah. After all, the names of the writers will be listed at the back right?

Anonymous said...

I like John's one-liners. Crisp and to-the-point.

I think mentioning the name dropping make sense in term of marketing.

"Including new stories from Tunku Halim and Lydia Teh!"

Potential readers would be intrigued by this, and seek for TH and LT books if they had not heard of them before. Good promo for their books!

And it would elevate the perceived quality of this book once the potential realized that the contributors are established writers.

So it's win-win for everyone.

-kokyee-

arguslou said...

Xeus, I'm not sure if mentioning the names of the other countries is a big selling point. One would rather have Malaysian authors or stories set in M'sian cities as the main thing.

Now, on another matter (a light one!), will you dear folk come and play a word game on my so-called blog, shamelessly revived to keep up with T Hal's requirements to get into his 'Bloggers Are Liars' book?

www.argusworld.blogspot.com

John Ling said...

Perhaps Kenny's idea of incorporating the contributors' names into the back cover might be best.

Tunku Halim and Lydia Teh can have top billing, of course, but this way we wouldn't have to leave anyone out.

This was done for the recently released Thriller Anthology, and I think it works quite well. Take a look here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/0778322998/sr=8-1/qid=1175775560/ref=dp_image_0/103-6126070-5529412?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books&qid=1175775560&sr=8-1

John Ling said...

I have to agree with Argus Lou. Including all the countries is too clunky.

Perhaps something along the lines of "14 Malaysian authors from around the globe..." will suffice.

After all, the anthology is made up of Malaysian-born writers, right?

Xeus said...

Dear all,

Kenny will incorporate all the writers' names in the back as part of the book's art, it's true. Tunku Halim, Lydia Teh and John Ling will get top billing. Ha ha ha.

This is how it looks like now:

A youth is imprisoned in a crate swinging above the ground.

A gorgeous nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A 15th century boy meets the Angel of Death.

An ordinary man learns how to kill.

A gambling addict is forced to go through a 'Payback Chamber’.


Fourteen authors from Malaysia, US, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Switzerland come together to weave you sixteen diabolically entertaining tales. Every tale has a twist, and every twist, a tale. See if you can spot the ending coming.



Praise for Dark City

"Why you should read this book: It's really good, that's why.”

The Malay Mail


“….Wow, what a read (Dark City) turned out to be….” Borneo Post


"This is the KL you fear to imagine." – The Sun

Xeus said...

John, not all of the writers are Malaysians. How? Because my criteria did not specify they had to be Malaysian, so I had 2 writing in from Europe.

John Ling said...

We could rearrange the synopses, where the shortest comes first, and the longest comes last. For instance:

An ordinary man learns how to kill.

A 15th century boy meets the Angel of Death.

A gorgeous nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A youth is imprisoned in a crate swinging above the ground.

A gambling addict is forced to go through a 'Payback Chamber’.



This gives a feeling of gradual escalation. Plus, it will look much neater on the back cover. Just a thought.

Xeus said...

John, that's a very good book cover too.

John Ling said...

What if you word it like this: "Fourteen authors from Malaysia, UK, and Switzerland come together..."

Because, technically, if you are Malaysian-born, you are from Malaysia. This way, we can be inclusive, without being clunky.

What do you think?

Xeus said...

OK, everyone, this is how it looks like now:

An ordinary man learns how to kill.

A 15th century boy meets the Angel of Death.

A gorgeous nurse accepts an indecent proposal.

A gambling addict is forced to go through a 'Payback Chamber’.

A handsome youth is imprisoned in a crate swinging above the ground.


Fourteen authors from Malaysia, UK and Switzerland come together to weave you sixteen diabolically entertaining tales. Every tale has a twist, and every twist, a tale. See if you can spot the ending coming.



Praise for Dark City

"Why you should read this book: It's really good, that's why.”

The Malay Mail


“….Wow, what a read (Dark City) turned out to be….” Borneo Post


"This is the KL you fear to imagine." – The Sun

Argus Lou said...

"... every twist a tale."

Even though you pause in speaking the above phrase, you need not use a comma in writing.

^_^ (working overtime)

Rodney said...

Am excited about your second book.

Xeus said...

Argus, we need you to edit even the blurbs and foreword! And do you think I should put a little note about each author and story before each story? Or should I just leave it all for the Bibiliography at the back?

Xeus said...

Rodney, if you are who I think you are :), please contribute a story to Dark City 3. I've been told you write very well.

Also, please give it a great display, along with the first book!

Rodney said...

You have more faith than me. When is book 2 out?

Rodney said...

You have more faith than me. When is book 2 out?

Xeus said...

Rodney, we're now in the stage of grammar editing and getting some writers to rewrite certain stories. We target hopefully July.

A lot of people have faith in your writing!

JY said...

Hi, Xeus. Didn't check this thread for a while. Sorry. Yes, do leave the bits about the contributors toward the end of the book.