What’s in a Blurb? Meet Carol – She knows!

I recently ran across Carol Ann Eastman, who writes as Angelisa Stone, on a Facebook group for authors, and it turns out she offers a blurb-writing service. Since I have struggled with writing catchy blurbs, I decided to give her a try.

Before I reveal the results of her magic (and I DO mean magic), Carol Ann, tell me how you got started offering this service for writers.

Fellow author, Christine Zolendz and I quickly became “author besties.”  We actually wrote a laugh-your-ass-off chick-lit book together.  It’s basically Thelma & Louise meets Bridesmaids.  It’s called #TripleX.  If you are annoyed by your husband, want to throttle your kids, and puke a little in your mouth when you see your naked body in the mirror as you chomp down on M&Ms, then #TripleX is the humorous story for you.

But anyway, while we spent the year working on the book together, Christine discovered that BLURBS were my forte.  She basically FORCED me into doing this.  She got my name out there in her writing groups and then BAM!  My email starts filling up with people who want help with their blurbs.  I am THRILLED and totally indebted to my lifelong writing friend, Christine Zolendz.

What elements do you focus on to create the perfect blurb? 

I actually think:  “What would make me want to read this book?”  I search for the hook that would drag a nonreader into wanting to read it.

Carol Ann markets herself under the moniker the Blurb Bitch, but she wasn’t bitchy at all. She was very professional and easy to work with. She gave me a sample and I liked it so much that I asked her to do all FOUR of my books.

Carol Ann is also a writer under several pen names. Why did you choose to go with separate pen names, and what would you tell readers who are interested in finding you? Where should they start? 

I am going to try to tell this story as quickly as I can in easy, bullet points!

  • I wrote an erotic, raunchy, vulgar novel, SCHOOLED as Deena Bright.  It is hot!
  • I was a high school teacher. It was about a high school teacher sleeping with TWO male students–who were   OUT OF COLLEGE.
  • My school district fired me.  SO TRUE.  Look it up!
  • I hired a BADASS federal attorney and got my job back.  THE FIRST AMENDMENT ROCKS!
  • I still wanted to write, but “Deena Bright” was sick of the yucky publicity.
  • I became Angelisa Stone.  (Such a sexy name!) I wrote three books as Angelisa.
  • I also wrote a book as me, Carol Eastman, about my mom dying of Cancer.  Total tear-jerker.
  • Then, I quit my stupid teaching job after they started screwing with my schedule and all kinds of other bull crap.
  • So Deena came back. Angelisa still lives on.  And Carol is who I love being!

If anyone is interested in reading my books or chatting with me, then all of my names have Facebook accounts.  If anyone is interested in getting some blurbs rewritten, then check out my website:  www.blurbbitch.com2556555

Thank you Lily for this opportunity.  It really means a lot to me.

Now, let me say that I have re-written the blurb for my first book, No Strings Attached, at least twenty times, and published at least five versions. This book was a lot of things to me, and it was rewritten so much, it was hard for me to summarize it. In fact, the summary that I gave Carol was very very long…

Here was my last attempt, we’ll call it BC, or before Carol…

A steamy story of a woman torn between duty and desire, truth and betrayal— After a summer fling in Vegas, now Fox Thornton and Laura Todd must work together. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t add up, and all signs point to embezzlement. Fox vows to bring the thief to justice, but Laura is his main suspect. Can he follow his heart while making sure that justice is served?

And this is what she gave me…

There’s a fine line between truth and deception.

When Laura Todd discovers that her new boss is Fox Thornton, the sexy, blue-eyed man that she wowed in Las Vegas, she realizes that there’s more at stake than a “no strings attached” fling. After all, strings can weave a tangled web of deceit and betrayal. Fox knows how crafty and clever Laura is, but he was hired to find out why her company is losing money. He can’t deny that all evidence points to Laura. Fox’s reputation as a fixer is on the line, and he vows to find the truth–even if it means taking down the one woman he’s wanted all along.

I fell in love all over again! So, authors, if you’re struggling, get in touch with Carol. I mean it. She’s a gem, and she’s reasonable.

Welcome Jan Romes, Romance Author

I am pleased to welcome Jan Romes to my blog this morning. It seems like every time I open Twitter she’s releasing a new book. I was determined to find out how she does it.

Jan RomesHow is it that you have released so many titles this year and last year? Do you work on multiple stories at a time?

Lily, while it seems like I’ve had a lot of books published all at once, they were actually written over a period of time. My first book came out in 2011. I had six in 2012 (one of those was an anthology with two other authors). And so far, one in 2013. Stories have germinated in my mind forever and I finally have the time to put them down on paper (well, on the computer). My life seems to revolve around writing these days. It’s a joy and blessing that I’ll always be grateful for.

I don’t write multiple stories at a time. I know there are authors capable of writing two stories at once; I’m not one of them. I have a folder with a ton of story ideas that I find myself wanting to get busy on. When I have those restless days, I have to remind myself to finish the story I’m working on. I think I have a tiny bit of OCD too and it won’t allow me to focus on more than one book at a time.

You’ve had three books published with The Wild Rose Press, one with Champagne Books, four independently, and even published two short stories in a magazine. Do you have any thoughts to share about the publishing process or industry?

I have a lot to share, but keep in mind, I’m no expert. First of all, once you’ve written your story, have faith in your work and go for it. Don’t be afraid to contact publishers and agents. Chances are you will receive some rejections. Don’t be disheartened; even some well-known authors received multiple rejections before they were accepted. (Google ‘best known authors who received rejections’ you will be amazed – and if you receive rejections, knowing it took others awhile will help you keep things in perspective) The wheels of publishing turn slowly.

Also, whether you are traditionally published or independently published, a lot of your exposure as an author will depend on you. Your publisher will get your name out there but it will be up to you to keep it there via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.

You will meet some incredible people along the way. I’ve made some great friends, both authors and fans alike and I’ve discovered that they have just as much to offer you as you have to offer them.

Regarding the mechanics of publishing (if you publish independently), you will need to have your books properly formatted for each venue that you plan to upload to. (Each venue has certain requirements – check their sites for details) As far as cover art, you can use your own or there are many creative folks who are willing to help. Don’t forget editing, that’s a biggie. Comb over your work with an eagle eye and then have someone else do it too. A fresh set of eyes will pick up on things you may have missed. We are so close to our work that we inadvertently skim over things because we’ve seen that same line or paragraph a hundred times. Finally, when your work is uploaded and ready for sale, shout it from the rooftops!!

Do you have any new books forthcoming?

Happy to say, yes I do! Mr. August is currently with The Wild Rose Press. I’ve been through two rounds of edits so far. I’ve not been given a release date, but I’m sure it will be in the near distant future.

I also am seventy pages into my WIP (work-in-progress). I know everything that I will put my hero and heroine through. Their story is going slow at the moment as I enjoy all that comes with summer.

I live in South Carolina, so I loved the fact that Stay Close, Novac! was set in Myrtle Beach. Tell us a little about the story.

Book Cover Stay Close, Novac!Jessi Novac leads the quiet life of a romance author until someone leaves a series of explicit notes under her windshield wipers and heavy breathing on her answering machine.

Until NYPD can track down the culprit who’s trying to scare the bejesus out of her, Jessi hides out at her grandmother’s beach house in Myrtle Beach where she hopes to get her bearings. Instead, her life takes an even bigger tilt toward crazy when she meets her clumsy neighbor. She’s suspicious of Ian Alexander, and attracted to him at the same time. Their relationship becomes a calamity of errors until strange things start happening at the beach house. Jessi clings to Ian for protection, but she soon discovers her heart may be in more danger than her life.

I have read One Small Fib, Three Days With Molly, and Stay Close, Novak!, and you are definitely one of my authors that I look for. I also just downloaded Stella in Stilettos, and can’t wait to start it. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Thanks for having me, Lily. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about something I’m so passionate about!

Below are links that you can use to find Jan:

Contact information:

Website – www.authorjanromes.com

Blog – www.jantheromancewriter.blogspot.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jan.romes.5

Twitter – @janromes

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5240156.Jan_Romes