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Requesting feedback on book burb - take #2Views: 388
Mar 13, 2006 9:08 pmRequesting feedback on book burb - take #2#

Glenda Watson Hyatt

Thanks to feedback from Steven and Farrukh, I have taken another stab at my book blurb. I have tried to incorporate their suggestions, while still putting my own spin on it. Hopefully I'm a little closer than my first attempt. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Thanks,
Glenda

Resulting from a lack of oxygen at birth, Glenda has cerebral palsy. This means she cannot walk, has limited hand function and her speech is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to understand. One medical professional suggested that her parents should institutionalize her and forget about her because she wouldn't amount to anything. Through determination, perseverance and sheer stubbornness, Glenda proved wrong that one expert and others who doubted her potential.

Raised without the word can't in her vocabulary, Glenda began her school years in a Special Ed class. She was then integrated into a regular classroom long before mainstream was a buzzword. Grade 8 found Glenda attending her neighbourhood high school, accompanied by a full-time aide who was shortly out of a job because of this I'll-do-it-myself girl. Along the way, she also earned her Canada Cord, the highest award in Girl Guides; won a gold medal in horseback riding; and was presented with the Outstanding Junior Student Award in Grade Ten.

Glenda is now married to a wonderful man Darrell who also has cerebral palsy, making life that much more interesting. Their ambitions are as normal as any couple's: pay off the mortgage, travel and save for retirement.

How did she do it? Read Glenda's inspiring autobiography I'll Do It Myself: A Collection of Memories from a Woman Living with Cerebral Palsy, due out later this year. Glenda intimately shares her life story to show others cerebral palsy is not a death sentence, but rather a life sentence.

Visit www.BooksbyGlenda.com for more information and to sign up to receive book excerpts monthly and pre-launch specials.

Private Reply to Glenda Watson Hyatt

Mar 14, 2006 10:05 pmre: Requesting feedback on book burb - take #2#

Murray Farrell
I am 'no copywirter' but here is my approach from some of the work, study and speech writing I have done for myself.

OPENING
What would you do if you could not walk, had limited hand function and your speech was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to understand?

This could happen to you tomorrow; but if you are Glenda, starved for oxygen at birth and left with cerebral palsy, you will know what to do and how to cope.

Glenda's story is amazing espcially when you consider one medical professional ....

I have attempted to : -
Grab attention in the opening
Sell the sizzle not the sausage.
Put the reader in Glenda's position - and how these circumstances could apply to them later today ...

My opinion only. There are millions of opinions on every topic and most of them are correct if/when they match your belief system.

Good Luck.

Regards,
Murray

Private Reply to Murray Farrell

Mar 14, 2006 10:17 pmre: re: Requesting feedback on book burb - take #2#

Steven Boaze
Hi Glenda,

Great job. I must say the motive behind your
expression creates the desire. The success of
a book is determined by the number of its
customers and how much they spend. And that's
determined by what they think, feel, and
believe about the book.

Steven

Private Reply to Steven Boaze

Mar 15, 2006 10:53 amFeedback on book burb - take #2 - by Farrukh#

farrukh_copywriter(at)yahoo.com
Hi Glenda,

Wonderfully rewritten! Must have taken quite some effort to tick all the boxes.

I'll just post in my comments (in brackets) on this:


(I really like what Murray has suggested to draw any reader in - beginning with a "What would YOU do..." angle is a good hook I think - you could use it as the opener)

Resulting from a lack of oxygen at birth, Glenda was diagnosed with (try to keep one tense, in this case, past tense, coz you're recounting your story) cerebral palsy. This meant she would not be able to walk, her hands wouldn't function well and her speech would be almost impossible to understand. Her parents were advised to institutionalize her. She wouldn't amount to anything, the experts said.

(Now Glenda, don't answer the question HOW she did it here... that's what your book should do for the reader)

Yet, Glenda integrated into a regular classroom long before mainstream was a buzzword. She went on to earn the Canada Cord, the highest award in Girl Guides and the Outstanding Junior Student Award. The lady who could not walk won a gold medal in horseback riding!

(Glenda - while you want to say that people with challenges have the same aspirations and hopes and struggles as everyone else, let your book 'demonstrate' that - but you need not say so while marketing your book, so the para that was here can go)

How did she do it? Read Glenda's inspiring autobiography "I'll Do It Myself: A Collection of Memories from a Woman Living with Cerebral Palsy", due out later this year. Glenda intimately shares her life story which proves that cerebral palsy is not a death sentence, but rather a life sentence. (Glenda - I love this line - beautiful really!)

Visit www.BooksbyGlenda.com for more information and to sign up to receive book excerpts monthly and pre-launch specials.

(so that's about it - the more I read about you Glenda, the more I would like to hear your story ;-)

farrukh
copywriter, journalist, potential blogging sensation


Private Reply to farrukh_copywriter(at)yahoo.com

Mar 18, 2006 4:23 pmre: Feedback on book burb - take #2 - by Farrukh#

bellascribe
Writing the blurb for one's own book is exceedingly hard, which is why, of course, usually it's someone other than the author who does it. It takes a whole different mindset or approach. Farrukh gets at this when he says not to answer the how question at one point. And his second paragraph especially seems spot on. The blurb is entirely different from the actually book's writing, (or even how you might talk about your book to someone else, describing cause and effect) in that you are not concerned with narrative flow as in the book's text, but are aiming to make the writing energetic as possible. So I'd argue for leaving out "Resulting from a lack of oxygen..." or at the very least not beginning this way. (Look to eliminate -ing words.) When finished, the blurb will not sound like your narrative author's voice.

Maybe the first paragraph could go something like this:

Glenda has cerebral palsy. A lack of oxygen at birth meant she would not be able to walk and her speech would be almost impossible to understand. Her parents were advised to institutionalize her. She wouldn't amount to anything, the experts said.

I'm still not sure that's terrific but hopefully gives you some more ideas. The blurb doesn't include a whole lot, as you can see by this whittling away that's gone on through the responses. The actual narrative fills in or gives the story.

Sorry if I've been too didactic, Glenda! One thing that occurs to me is that if the care you're taking with getting the blurb right is any indication of the attention you've paid to the rest of the writing, your book is surely good reading.

Private Reply to bellascribe

Mar 29, 2006 2:31 amre: re: Feedback on book burb - take #2#

Glenda Watson Hyatt
Hi everyone,

Just taking a break from writing and such to pop in here. It looks like I still have a bit of work to do on the book blurb, but that is okay. I truly appreciate all of yours wonderful and helpful feedback. I want to get this 'right'.

I think I'm having an Aha moment here. The less details, the better. Leave the reader with questions or wanting more so they have to read the book.

I guess I was trying to include an useful piece of information or tidbit so that the reader got something out of it. But perhaps the book blurb isn't the place for that.

I'll try again!

Thanks,
Glenda

Private Reply to Glenda Watson Hyatt

Mar 29, 2006 4:30 amre: re: re: Feedback on book burb - take #2#

Glenda Watson Hyatt
Hi everyone,

I think I'm getting closer. This attempt sounds more like what you would read on the backcover, which I was aiming for, I think.

Does this work?:

I'll Do It Myself: A Collection of Memories from a Woman Living with Cerebral Palsy
By Glenda Watson Hyatt

Glenda has cerebral palsy. A lack of oxygen at birth meant she would not be able to walk, her hands would not function well and her speech would be almost impossible to understand, except by a select few. Her parents were advised to institutionalize her. She wouldn't amount to anything, the experts said.

Yet, this gutsy redhead proved them wrong. Glenda was integrated into a regular classroom long before mainstream was a buzzword. She went on to earn the Canada Cord, the highest award in Girl Guides, and the Outstanding Junior Student Award. The girl who could not walk won a gold medal in horseback riding!

How did she do it? Read Glenda's inspiring autobiography I'll Do It Myself: A Collection of Memories from a Woman Living with Cerebral Palsy, due out later this year. Glenda intimately shares her life story to show others cerebral palsy is not a death sentence, but rather a life sentence.

Visit www.BooksbyGlenda.com for more information and to sign up to receive book excerpts monthly and pre-launch specials.

Thanks again.

Cheers,
Glenda

Private Reply to Glenda Watson Hyatt

Mar 29, 2006 5:48 amre: re: re: re: Feedback on book burb - take #2#

farrukh_copywriter(at)yahoo.com
I think it's ready to print, Glenda.

You could take out the "except for a selet few" for more impact.

Good work. And best of luck!

farrukh
copywriter, journalist, blogaholic

Private Reply to farrukh_copywriter(at)yahoo.com

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