Tag Archives: writer

How To Write a Blurb

After your book’s cover snags a reader’s attention, your blurb needs to hook them in and make them want to buy it. Yet, as important as the blurb is, some authors  don’t give it the time and effort it deserves. Others simply don’t know how to make a blurb that grabs.

A good blurb needs to be short and concise while conveying the vital information of the story:

  • Introduce Hero
  • Introduce Setting
  • Outline Situation
  • Describe Problem/ Goal
  • Introduce Opposition
  • Describe What’s at Stake

Your blurb also needs to have a good hook to make the reader want to buy, so make sure that last part (what’s at stake) is big enough to create urgency.

Your blurb should read something like this:

Hero McGoodie just wants to enjoy a lazy summer, fishing and day dreaming. A strange set of footprints in the woods draws national media attention to his small town and tourists from all across the continent invade his fishing spot while looking for the source of the footprints.

Determined to reclaim his peaceful summer, Hero concocts a scheme to lead the media circus away from his community. However the owner of the mysterious footprints seems to have other plans, and Hero’s worries about invaders are about to reach intergalactic proportions.

So the break down looks like this:

  • Introduce Hero: Hero McGoodie
  • Introduce Setting: small town and surrounding woods/Hero’s fishing hole
  • Outline Situation: Strange footprints are drawing unwanted attention
  • Describe Problem/ Goal: Media and tourists are interfering with Hero’s summer plans
  • Introduce Opposition: The owner of the footprints
  • Describe What’s at Stake: Hint at an alien invasion (Note: Only hint about what is actually in the story. Please, don’t mislead your reader, even if the red herring is part of the story.)

Practice getting your blurb as concise and, if possible, run it past your editor for help with structure.

Good luck and happy writing <3

Download the Blurb Cheat sheet here or right click the image below and save.

How to DIY a Professional Author Photo

diy-photos | I Am Rosa

So, you’re an author. Cool. You are a master of the written language (with help from various editors). Readers hang on your every word when they read your work, cuz, really – have you tried stopping mid-story? People get seriously ticked and send you nasty emails. But, I digress. Point is, you’re a rock star in the eyes of your audience.

As amazing as that is, if you’re reading this, you have a teeny tiny problem: You need a professional-looking author photo that will grace every book you write for years to come. If you’re bold, you probably want two: One for your books, author site, and social media; and another for blog tours, press releases, and profile photos on sites such as GoodReads, Amazon, and Smashwords. But, how do you get one without dropping serious cash on a professional photographer?

The good news is that you can DIY an author photo you can really be proud of. Here are some simple suggestions to help …

Prep:   Use a camera that takes high resolution photos. Show the person who is taking the photos how to use the camera properly. If they are unfamiliar with it and let them experiment for a bit before you start the photo shoot.

We want to avoid any “selfies” with your arm snaking out of frame, so if you’re doing your own photos, use a camera with a timer or remote. You may also want to get yourself a tripod from the dollar store.

Find Your “Best Side”:   Take various shots before your “real shoot” to find out if you like the look of your left or right side better. Once you found the side you like, also find the best angle to flatter your features. For example, I have “hooded” or “half-mast” eyelids, so my best photos are taken with the camera slightly above me, looking down. Because I have to look up at the camera, it naturally forces my eyes to open fully without making me look like a majorette on crack.

Lighting:   You want to make sure your photo can be effectively used across all media, which means it needs to be well lit. The best option is to use natural lighting, preferably outdoors. If that isn’t an option, find a spot indoors with lots of big windows to let in sunlight.

Avoid directly summer-dreamin | I Am Rosasunlight, so you don’t end up over-exposing your skin or creating “hot spots”. You want the lighting to be as even as possible, so avoid trees and other overhanging objects that may cast weird shadows across your face.

Keep the sun in front of you, but off to one side. This will prevent any squinting, sun halos, or creepy “shadow face” pictures.

Setting:   Use a simple and non-descript background. If your camera has a manual focus or you have some skill with Photoshop, blur your background gently so you remain the center of attention.

Appearance:   Just like going for a family photo or job-interview, you want to look your best. Brush your hair and keep it out of your face. Be sure you’re well-groomed; pluck, trim, and shape as necessary. Also, check your teeth for remaining lunch particles.

Make-up is essential, even if you don’t normally wear it. Remember, we’re looking for a professional-looking photo. Keep it natural and if you’re not sure how to properly apply it, search out tutorials online. If you’re a man with an uneven skin tone, you might want to consider using a bit of foundation to give yourself an even appearance.

Wear a flattering neckline, so you don’t end up with a “boobalicious” snapshot. Select a solid colour to help prevent weird warbles across your chest in the photos. Avoid bold yellows, bright greens, or metallic colors which will glare across your throat and chin.

self-portrait | I Am RosaTone:     If you write in multiple genres or need photos for various purposes, try to keep the feel of your photos in sync with its intended use. Keep things bright and cheery for photos to be used in social media and press. Use darker colours and slight shadowing (without obscuring your face) to create more moody pictures for gothic, horror, or mystery genres.

Be Prolific:   Take lots of photos in various poses, outfits, and locations so you have plenty of options to choose from. This will also give you options for your branding, author page, social media profiles, interview photos, Christmas cards to the grandparents … etc.

Post-production:   Photo touch-up programs are your friend. If you can’t afford a program like Photoshop, there free programs like, GIMP which will help you remove blemishes, adjust contrast, soften the background, or any other changes you’d like to make.

Safety Note: Make sure there is nothing in the photo that will give potential trouble-makers any personal information about you or your loved ones. This includes certificates, mailboxes/house numbers, pictures of your family (especially your children!), and photos with the names of clubs, community identifiers (ie. town water towers), dance schools, youth teams, etc.

Lastly; Have fun! A sparkle in your eye and smirk on the corner of your mouth will attract people to your photo and your work better than a good write up ever will. A picture really is worth a 1,000 words.

This article is featured on The Phoenix Quill website.

TPQ - DIY pix | I Am Rosa

7 Ways to Support a Writer (That Won’t Cost You a Cent)

Whether you’re a fan, friend, or family member, there are several cost-free things you can do to support the writer in your life and it will still mean a lot to them (and their success).

support writer-header | I Am Rosa

Whether you’re a fan, friend, or family member, the obvious way to support the writer in your life is to buy their book(s), if they’ve written any. Think of it as an investment in your relationship with them and in their future. When you buy a book, you are literally helping that writer pay their bills and buy food.

A writer spends months – even years – writing, editing, formatting, re-editing … All of that to create one tiny book that will most likely get lost in the sea of other books written by other authors. It’s a gamble a writer takes; time invested vs. potential income. It often takes a few rolls of the dice – several books – before an author’s name starts to get noticed. Even if a writer is producing articles, short stories, or other written material, those are often overlooked, the pay is usually low, and the reward is, well … It’s like beauty; it’s in the eye of the beholder.

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