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Author Topic: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?  (Read 1836 times)

Offline shadowkat678

What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« on: April 12, 2016, 12:14:04 AM »
Title says it all? What turns you on or off of a book when you read that inside jacket?
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2016, 01:19:17 AM »
Any reference  to 'exploring relationships, wild passion, tumultuous romance, growing attraction, enemies become lovers"....need I continue?

Quote
xxx  finds him arrogant and demanding, yet compelling and intriguing. YYYYY has no wish to mate but the sassy Guardian is drawing him out of his shell, stirring feelings long suppressed. And when a new threat looms over xxx’s home, she and YYYYY  must race to the rescue, forced closer to danger...and to each other.

Quote
When he attempts to save her from a rogue within his own garrison, she deftly brings Mmmmmmm to his knees. Who is this willful lass who has so quickly laid siege to his heart?

Quote
.....walks the razor’s edge of primal passion......
??? ::) 

If I catch one whiff of this mattering in a fantasy book enough to mention on blurb or fly leaf, that book is usually dead and I wouldn't look further. But that is only because my taste doesn't lie in that direction, and there are plenty of readers who love it and those kind of books probably sell well. You have to write a blurb to reflect your book to the readership you hope will like what they see and buy.

My only exception is if the word 'love' comes up in a Guy Gavriel Kay blurb, because he treats it in exactly right way every single time.

If I read about cynical hero, cunning thieves, good dose of humour, court or state intrigue, wild magic,travel to strange lands, diverse companions and strong fierce proud dragons ....yes, I could well be hooked. Don't need all of them all together. That would be a bonus.
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Offline shadowkat678

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2016, 01:56:48 AM »
Any reference  to 'exploring relationships, wild passion, tumultuous romance, growing attraction, enemies become lovers"....need I continue?

Quote
xxx  finds him arrogant and demanding, yet compelling and intriguing. YYYYY has no wish to mate but the sassy Guardian is drawing him out of his shell, stirring feelings long suppressed. And when a new threat looms over xxx’s home, she and YYYYY  must race to the rescue, forced closer to danger...and to each other.

Quote
When he attempts to save her from a rogue within his own garrison, she deftly brings Mmmmmmm to his knees. Who is this willful lass who has so quickly laid siege to his heart?

Quote
.....walks the razor’s edge of primal passion......
??? ::) 

If I catch one whiff of this mattering in a fantasy book enough to mention on blurb or fly leaf, that book is usually dead and I wouldn't look further. But that is only because my taste doesn't lie in that direction, and there are plenty of readers who love it and those kind of books probably sell well. You have to write a blurb to reflect your book to the readership you hope will like what they see and buy.

My only exception is if the word 'love' comes up in a Guy Gavriel Kay blurb, because he treats it in exactly right way every single time.

If I read about cynical hero, cunning thieves, good dose of humour, court or state intrigue, wild magic,travel to strange lands, diverse companions and strong fierce proud dragons ....yes, I could well be hooked. Don't need all of them all together. That would be a bonus.

Well, you and I seem to have identical tastes then! You know...I've been needing some new reading material. XD

But yeah, anything with romance or "sexy" and I'll run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. Not because I'm opposed to little bits of romance, but normally if it's not a romance novel it gets in the way of plot or good characterization. Like you said, if there's enough to include in a blurb. And the shelves overflow with it, so it's becoming so hard to find gems among the rubbish. I swear it's all for sales. And that bugs me.

Thieves and Assassins. Intrigue. Being stuck having to do what they really hate doing (because at least you know they're driven to get out instead of letting the plot push them instead). Totally catches my eye. Every time. Not to mention if I see a fantasy taking place in the middle east. Don't ask why, but I find reading chases through the desert are fun. I also love characters that rely on strategy and wit instead of just bashing through things...hence the thief and assassin attraction. That (kinda) rhymed :D
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 01:59:13 AM by shadowkat678 »
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline CryptofCthulhu

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2016, 08:03:22 AM »
Deja Vu.
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Offline cupiscent

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2016, 08:39:55 AM »
There are the things that are matters of personal preference - inclusion or exclusion of things I like or don't like. F'rinstance, any book that mentions politics or intrigue gets a +1, but any book that doesn't include a named female character in the summary gets -5.

More generally, I like the summary to lead off with characters or, at a pinch, the conflict (as long as it's immediately tied to people). If the summary leads off with the world, chances are I'm not going to get to the second paragraph.

Offline Yora

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2016, 11:49:17 AM »
I need a book to tell me what the plot is about. A description of only setting and characters isn't of any help for me.

Quote
xxx  finds him arrogant and demanding, yet compelling and intriguing. YYYYY has no wish to mate but the sassy Guardian is drawing him out of his shell, stirring feelings long suppressed. And when a new threat looms over xxx’s home, she and YYYYY  must race to the rescue, forced closer to danger...and to each other.

Quote
When he attempts to save her from a rogue within his own garrison, she deftly brings Mmmmmmm to his knees. Who is this willful lass who has so quickly laid siege to his heart?

Quote
.....walks the razor’s edge of primal passion......

"... always knew she was different." never fails to send me running.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 12:05:22 PM by Yora »
Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

There is nothing to read!

Offline ArhiX

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2016, 01:43:38 PM »
What I dislike are:
Giant spoilers that go as deep as 75% of the story.

Or something that was meant to sound epic, but is so overused that it just makes the whole thing boring:
"the chosen one must..." (lay down and die already)
"the fate of the kingdom/world/universe depends..."
"only he/she/them can save..."
"...must find the way to..."
"...explore...newly found feelings to..."

F'rinstance, any book that mentions politics or intrigue gets a +1, but any book that doesn't include a named female character in the summary gets -5

That's harsh xD
I guess it's hard for you to rate many books higher than "3". Negative "3".

What I like is a bit of mystery:
"...must achieve...but not everything goes as planned"
"...will test the power of alliances..."
"...terrible...ravages... and nobody knows why"

I give points for mentioned monsters :D
Even in human skin.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 01:56:16 PM by ArhiX »
"The world is full of stories, and from time to time, they permit themselves to be told."

Offline shadowkat678

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2016, 02:44:58 PM »
What I dislike are:
Giant spoilers that go as deep as 75% of the story.

Ohhh...that's a big one right there. I never understood why people think it okay to do that. You want us to read it, right? Than why are you telling us something so far in?
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2016, 06:06:25 PM »
What I dislike are:
Giant spoilers that go as deep as 75% of the story.

Ohhh...that's a big one right there. I never understood why people think it okay to do that. You want us to read it, right? Than why are you telling us something so far in?

Movie trailers have an awful habit of doing this, too. It's become more and more common for the trailer to replace the movie - it's like the studios don't trust us to go see a movie unless they give us the entire plot in the trailer. Half the time, I finish watching the trailer and I'm like "Do I even need to see the movie now? You just revealed the whole plot and all the twists".

Also, book summaries are hard as hell to write, so I totally sympathize with those that don't get them quite right. I do agree with a lot of what is posted here - the trick, I think, is to provide enough information that you know what the book's central hook is, who the protagonist is, and what kind of challenge they are facing ... without revealing the journey they're going to take or the twists.

One great example from one of my favorite books ever (still only available in the UK... boo), Galactic Warlord by Douglas Hill.

Quote
He stands alone, his planet, Moros, destroyed by unknown forces. His one vow - to wreak a terrible vengeance on the sinister enemy.

But Keill Randor, the Last Legionary, cannot conceive the evil force he will unleash in his crusade against the Warlord, the master of destruction, and his murderous army, the Deathwing.

The setup's all there, and that short summary really makes you want to read the book. Yet it leaves the vast majority of the plot and twists unmentioned, ensuring the book is still a fun read.

Offline Peat

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2016, 07:22:54 PM »
Tbh, I think I've just stopped looking at them altogether. Between reviews and kindle samples, I don't need them. Even if I'm in a shop, I'll probably just leaf through the first pages and some of the middle.
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Offline Phoenix

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2016, 08:25:01 PM »
Yea I usually don't read them either, because they either give away to much about the book or nothing at all.
(Though I do like it when the summary is short and sweet)
"My death shall spark a war, and from the ashes of the battlefield I shall be reborn"

Offline shadowkat678

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2016, 09:39:03 PM »
Than how do you know it's one you want to spend time on?
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Offline Arry

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Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2016, 10:02:40 PM »
What I dislike are:
Giant spoilers that go as deep as 75% of the story.

I hate spoilers that are even in the first 25%
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Offline cupiscent

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2016, 12:26:37 AM »
F'rinstance, any book that mentions politics or intrigue gets a +1, but any book that doesn't include a named female character in the summary gets -5
That's harsh xD
I guess it's hard for you to rate many books higher than "3". Negative "3".

I have a daunting number of books on my to-read list as it is (203 as of this morning, eep - which at my usual rate of about 70 books a year is nearly three years of reading) so frankly being harsh is the only way I can prevent myself dying under a landslide of prospective reading material.

Plus, I like reading about ladies having adventures. *shrugs*

Offline Peat

Re: What do you like or hate in regards to book summaries?
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2016, 06:22:20 AM »
Than how do you know it's one you want to spend time on?

Word of mouth. I receive about 10 recommendations a day just by browsing. Reading blurbs just ain't necessary.

Also, reading the first chapter.

I guess I look at them sometimes but I'm really struggling to think what I like and dislike because of how little I use them.

The big no-no is anyone bigging up the work. Describe the story and let me decide. Incredibly stereotypical descriptions that clearly aren't using them for a reason too.

... Yeah, I'm out. I dunno what I like, but I knows it when I sees it ;)