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Decisions, Decisions: the Back Cover of the Resonance Paperback - Chris Dolley's Journal — LiveJournal

About Decisions, Decisions: the Back Cover of the Resonance Paperback

Previous Entry Decisions, Decisions: the Back Cover of the Resonance Paperback Nov. 16th, 2006 @ 11:08 am Next Entry

One of the many excellent things about Baen is the amount of input they allow their authors. This week it's time to finalise the design of the back cover for the mass market paperback edition of Resonance (which is coming out May, 2007) And, as with the hardcover, I get to write the blurb.

Now, I have a choice: do I go with the blurb I wrote for the back cover of the hardback? The extract I used for the inside flap? Or something new?

Here's Option One:



Graham Smith is a 33 year-old office messenger. To the outside world he’s an obsessive-compulsive mute – weird but harmless. But to Graham Smith, it’s the world that’s weird. And far from harmless. He sees things others can’t . . . or won’t. He knows that roads can change course, people disappear, office blocks migrate across town. All at night when no one’s looking. The world’s an unstable place, still growing, sloughing off layers of reality like dead skin. One day you drive by, and it's changed.

Annalise Mercado hears voices, all from girls calling themselves Annalise. Sometimes she thinks they’re spirit guides, sometimes she thinks she’s crazy. But then they start telling her about Graham Smith and the men who want to kill him. That’s when they meet.

So begins the story of two people whose lives are fragmented across alternate realities. And how they hold the key to the future of a billion planets. . . .

((different font for review quote))

"Resonance is a tremendously accomplished book ... and immediately raises Dolley into the ranks of writers to watch. It's a head-over-heels romp. . . ." — Infinity Plus

"Read other folks’ reviews if you want spoilers, but I say: just get it and read it." —SFWA Book Review

"I don't know about you but I like being surprised by a story. I enjoy having an author keep me interested in the story and caring about the characters. Dolley does a great job of pulling all the elements together to keep you reading. Highly recommended." —SFRevu.com

"I loved Resonance . . . the writing is clever, the concepts are ingenious, and the characterizations are first class." —BewilderingStories.com

Here's Option Two:


Don’t step on the cracks—everyone knew the sense of that. One of the first things you learned as a child. But too many people forgot. Or didn’t care. Graham Smith cared. He knew that paving stones set the cadence of a street; that cracks regulated the stride length and set the resonance that kept everything stable and harmonious. Step on the cracks and the street slipped out of kilter. Imperceptibly at first. Minute changes around the edges, a new person living at number thirty-three, a strange car outside number five. Step on the cracks too often and . . . well, anything could happen. He’d seen houses turned into blocks of flats overnight. Parades of shops come and go. Terraces demolished, office blocks erected. All overnight when no one was looking. The world was a far more fragile place than people realized.

And every now and then a thread would work loose and something or someone would unravel.

((same review extracts as in Option One))

So, what do you think? Which blurb piques your interest the most? Comments welcome. 

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Date:November 16th, 2006 11:39 am (UTC)
I like option two. :D
Date:November 16th, 2006 11:40 am (UTC)

Back cover

Definitely the second one. The first one gives me more information about the story, but the second one draws me in, gives me an idea of what the writing will be like. It whets my appetite far more than the first, gets me wanting to turn the pages to find out who Graham Smith is (rather than being told who he is in the first version).
Date:November 16th, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)

Option two

I definitely prefer option 2 but I don't like "STEP ON A CRACK—BREAK THE UNIVERSE’S BACK!" as a start


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Date:November 16th, 2006 01:03 pm (UTC)
I agree--option two would be the better blurb. It's just enough to really grab your attention without giving too much away. I can't wait to get my copy!
Date:November 16th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna go with "or something new". Something that partially combines the two options you posted. I like being told something about the characters, although maybe slightly less than what you've done in option 1.

I do like being told that the world changes every night....and only Graham notices. That's enough to make me want to meet the guy.
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Date:November 16th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
Count me among the Option Two crowd. (However, I know from long experience that Option One is what most books have on the back - which, presumably, means that's what most readers expect to find...)

Gee, I guess I'm not helping, huh?

I prefer the dynamism - and proper English - of the excerpt, rather than the traditional blurb.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:November 16th, 2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
Definitely the second one. It's much more intriguing.
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Date:November 16th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
I'm the oddball, but I like option one better, and here's why. For me, it's all about the character, and the first one leads with character. I also like the sentence-level flow of the first one better.
Date:November 16th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)

Options Options

I like option one. It gets the story idea across faster and displays the characters which are of interest.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:November 16th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)
I'll be honest.

I don't like either. Is there aan option three available yet?
Date:November 16th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
I like the first one better. It gives me a hook that draws in my interest.

The second one starts off good but then seems to get existential, psychotic, or conspiracy like after the first few sentences. Without the description of Graham in the first one or some other source it's hard to say for sure which.

In any case, great blog. Much better written than most and often completely random. I really should check out one of your books sometime.
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Date:November 16th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC)
FWIW, feedback from an occasional science fiction/fantasy reader (used to read it a lot more, but lately for some reason I've been mostly reading mysteries), who happened by this blog via kittypix:

Option one intrigues me. Sounds like a couple of interesting characters in an unusual situation. If browsing in a book store I would probably check out the first paragraph to see if I liked the writing style.

Option two turns me off. I learned lots of stuff before ever hearing that step on a crack apothegm and and then I thought it was nonsense, so option two lost me on the second sentence. Subsequent ones didn't pull me back. In the bookstore I probably would not have finished the blurb before putting the book down.

Love your kitty pics, btw!
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Date:November 17th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
Lots of things to think about:) Thanks for all the feedback. Now if it was an e-book I could solve the problem by having a gif file for the back page and have several versions displayed.

I'll post a revised version soon.
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