The YA Section of Amazon

Today, I hung out in the YA section of Amazon. It's not quite the same as hanging out in the YA section of Barnes & Nobles or Half-Price Books or BookPeople, but this is the 21st century. I browsed through the top free books and the top paid books and copied down the blurbs to find things I liked or didn't like.

  • Stories not involving awkward girls who meet new, mysterious, attractive guys at school that they've a) been dreaming about, b) can't stay away from, or c) both. {I say that tongue-in-cheek, but I was shocked by the disproportionate number of paranormal romances. Question: Is this what everyone wants to read? Or what everyone wants to write? Just curious.} Anyway, I'll be straight-up honest: any book that didn't have to do with vampires/angels/demons/werewolves/mysterious family curses instantly caught my attention, even if it wasn't something I would normally read.
  • Unique first lines. Anything that felt different, something I hadn't thought of before. Sometimes it had to do with the story:
    "Welcome to Oakmont Academy. Study hard, make friends, and whatever you do, don't get lost in the Metaverse." -- The Reintegrators, by Will Weisser
     Sometimes it had to do with the characters:
    "After being killed in WW2, Lt. Danny Walsh arrives in Purgatory..." -- The Transylvania Flying Squad of Detectives, by M. L. Dunn
  • Information. The blurbs that told me what the book was about and who the book was about and what genre it belonged in {more or less} and how much language/violence/sex to expect were my favorite. I'm browsing through 100 free e-books! Just the facts, please...
Didn't Like:
  • Those weird, bold headers. There were a few good ones--The Reintegrators being one of them--but most of them were pointless, and they distracted my eye from the information. {Apparently these things are called shoutlines, and a Harlequin blurb writer talks about them--and other blurb things--in this post.}
  • Descriptions made up of reviews. While I care what other people have to say about the book, reviews and quotes from reviews should be brief, few, and preferably below the description of the story. {If you have to put one above the summary, make it one...and make it count.}
  • Same thing goes for awards and the bestseller lists the book has graced. Choose a good one and stick it up top, if you must. All the rest go beneath.
  • Long descriptions. If it takes up more than my screen, I start skimming. And I don't think that was the goal.
What about you? What catches your eye when you're browsing book descriptions? What turns you off?

Other blurb-writing links:
Self-Publishing: How to Write a Blurb
5 Tips on How To Write a Blurb For Your Book
SELF PUBLISHING AN EBOOK - PART 2 - Writing A Catchy Book Blurb
The 5 core elements of a book blurb (and why you should know them)
How to Write a Book Blurb for Your Fiction Book {and there is a difference between non-fic and fic blurbs}
How to Write Good Blurbs and Back Pages for Your Book
Gotcha Blurbs: Easy and Fun To Write


Mia Hayson said...

I have to agree with you, descriptions made up of reviews are really a turn off for me! I don't care what other people thought if I can't know the hook and what is what!

Mia Hayson said...
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Mia Hayson said...
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