Feedback Please!

Hi Everyone. So since I decided to publicly celebrate finishing a novel, this sh*t just got real. Some people even wanted to know what my book was about, which was awesome.

Which made me realise I need to get some feedback!

Please have a read of the blurb for my book I cobbled together from some rejected pitches (which I thought were awesome, but agents and publicists know better (presumably)). I would also like to know what you think of the title. Any suggestions on anything will be taken on board.

I got this image from a blog called why we reason? I don’t think it’s been active for a while but I like the silhouette. P.S. the image links back to the site I got it from, so it’s all legit 🙂

The Black Swan Inheritance

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido isn’t just hormonal – it’s magical.

The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer. No wonder the Black Swan had been driven to seclusion and banishment in the past. But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.

She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.

If she can just manage to fix her own crippling anxiety issues first. Can’t help anyone if you can’t help yourself.

I’m not sure about that last sentence. Maybe I should keep it in third person instead?

I should also bring up that Liza Barrett over at Classy Cat Books actually does reviews on blurbs, which is a really clever idea and I wish I’d thought of it first. After all, a blurb is what draws a reader in, so anyone who writes should be evaluating blurbs this way. Blurbs can hook.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts! Would this be the sort of book you’d read?

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22 thoughts on “Feedback Please!

  1. Just thinking…(always dangerous with me as I’m far too opinionated!) What about saying in the last paragraph: “If she can just overcome her own anxiety issues.” Then a sentence directly from Anita’s voice, “I can’t help anyone if I can’t fix myself.” 🙂

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  2. Hi, I’m here from So I Read This Book Today’s reblog!

    I like the title. “Inheritance” is a commonplace word in fantasy titles nowadays, but referring to the specific Black Swan Inheritance makes it memorable. And the pitch has a clear sense of character and stakes, which is good. That last line definitely clashes with the rest of the pitch — but it gives a sense of Anita’s voice and personality. You might consider revising the pitch so it’s all phrased as Anita herself might phrase it? That’d probably be a good idea if the novel is written in first-person POV and the reader is right there in Anita’s head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Heidi. I hadn’t considered that. So many blurbs are written in third person but the book is written in first, so that would make sense. I’ll rewrite it and see how it looks. Cheers!

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  3. I’m wondering about the tone of the novel. It sounds like it could be quite sensual / erotic subject matter. A woman who inherits this intense sexual prowess, who has insatiable desires.

    However the blurb doesn’t really carry these sensual tones. And the last line diminishes the sexiness of the piece.

    Instead of saying she has to deal with her anxiety, could you say something along the lines of “with this power comes a growing self-doubt that she has what it takes to beat the forces lined up against her, or to control her desires long enough to fight back. ”

    That’s obviously a very rough suggestion. It might be completely wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see what you mean. Actually, in the book Anita is quite scathing about that aspect of herself – she doesn’t like jumping into people’s beds, it happens because the magic is compelling her to gain more power. So she’s not sexually mature or sensual – she’s sarcastic and feels guilty after each sexual encounter (and she had to shut herself off socially so she wouldn’t get into that situation again). I’m using the old medieval view of witchcraft – sex and blood breeds more magic, and sex is just the ‘nicer’ way to get power, thus being the Black Swan’s impulse. Thanks for bringing this up – I should make the tone of the book clear in the blurb.
      I do like the idea of a witch embracing that side though. I’m planning a sequel which includes another witch (the Crow) and she’s reaaaallly sexually confident because she embraced that aspect of herself. I’m not big into erotica myself, but I am fascinated with the dark forms of witchcraft.

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      • Ah I didn’t know it was about witchcraft. What’s the tone of the writing? Is it light and sarcastic or darker? Is Anita battling her personal demons through deep shame, trying to run from a past and a destiny that won’t release her? Or is it more light hearted than that?

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      • Eliza you are always fantastic for a conversation. Yes it is a bit dark but Anita makes light of situations by, basically, taking the piss out of them (so glad you’re Aussie so I can write that without stirring confusion). She is pretty desperate to get control of her life when she’s thrust into the weird magic thing. It is dark and a little broody but mocking too. So not serious, I suppose. Her past does bother her but she doesn’t dwell on it too much. It’s more like, as she realises these magical creatures aren’t going to leave her alone, she gains the focus and drive to do something to ensure her safety and quelling the violence around her. I don’t want to give specifics away so I’m probably being too vague. You’ve given me heaps to think about. I need to make sure it’s clear the inheritance is magic.

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      • Oh no, it was clear the inheritance is magic. I’m more concerned about the tone which comes off maybe a bit too light and humorous. I’ve been reading a lot of back blurbs lately and I’ve realised the importance of drama, intrigue, excitement. All yourself if readers really want to know that she suffers anxiety. Stick to the gripping stuff.

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  4. Came here from ‘So, I read this book today’, and although I don’t have time just now for deep thought about this blurb, I think it’s almost there, and the comments are raising some pertinent points so perhaps a couple more versions? You might be surprised – each time you tackle it fresh you’ll get it tighter, or that’s what I’ve found with my own.
    One tiny thing caught my eye: ‘beset upon by’ , should be either ‘beset by’, or ‘set upon by’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a problem with the entire premise of the story. I assume from the blurb that her reputation in high school was that of a “slut” because she slept around, then you go and say, “Oh, she’s only a slut because of the magic, she has no control over it!” Girls are sexual creatures, they can have sex without it being bad. I find the whole thing a little offensive, though I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way. This is all just my personal opinion, but I imagine that if publishers see it in the same light they’re not going to touch it in fear of offending someone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your honest comment. I was worried that was how some might perceive it, but in Australia a girl under the age of 16 is actually underage, so I couldn’t condone sex at that age with good conscience. Having said that, my hormones were messed up as I went through puberty, and some of my reactions were not necessarily how I wanted to react. Also, just because she’s had lots of sex it doesn’t mean she’s sexually mature. There are lots of reasons and desires for why someone would have sex, and in Anita’s case none of her ‘partners’ loved her, and she didn’t even like them as people – she was trying to fill an emptiness. I don’t see magic as an excuse, but it is the force behind her sex drive – just as hormones might be. Every woman has a different sexual energy but it can take a long time through getting to know your own body (and mind) to embrace what is natural. Anita’s inheritance is a part of her. We might not automatically like our nature, but we can come to terms with it and learn to embrace that side of ourselves without shame.
      That’s sort of what I was getting at. Maybe that should be more of the vein of thought I could end the blurb on.
      What do you think?

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      • I don’t think that changing the blurb will change the problem I originally spotted. It’s like if I wrote a book while the Catholic religion behind it, and the characters pushed that religion at every turn. No one would want to publish that book for fear of offending someone or boring them (unless they were a Christian publisher) and no matter how I worded it it wouldn’t make it right. You say that she was having sex with people who didn’t love her- that doesn’t matter. You can have sex with whoever you want as long as you’re both consenting and enjoying it. An arbitrary age of 16 means nothing. Some girls start their period at age 9 and some start it at 18, and that’s what determines when you’re ready to have sex. In America you’re also considered underage if you’re under 16, but if you’re within three years or also under 16 then it’s legal. Two mature fifteen years olds can have better sex than two immature 20 year olds. It still comes off as if you’re judging girls who do have sex for whatever reason.

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      • I think I’ll just have to agree to disagree with you. I don’t think being fertile means you’re ready to have sex (emotionally or anatomically). I also don’t think sex is bad. I personally do not have the confidence to have sex with someone I don’t like and still get enjoyment out of it, but I admire those who do. I don’t mean to push an agenda, but I do have an opinion and I will voice it. Thank you for doing the same.

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  6. I got here from “So I read this book today”. If you want a chuckle, I had to ask Leiah if she had been secretly writing a book since there was nothing in your post or her repost that indicated who the author might be.

    From the blurb, I’d be willing to try the book. I like a good coming-of-age story with some caveats. I don’t like the “I don’t like him, he’s bad for me, but he’s so hot I can’t keep my hands off him” thing. I’m also not a fan of “destined” partners. So I usually read the sample Amazon provides and make up my mind from there.

    I did notice one part of the blurb that sounded awkward to me (could just be me). I would say either “set upon by” or “beset by”, but not “beset upon by”. Good luck. If I see your book on Amazon I’ll check it out.

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    • That would be a very clever thing for Leiah to do 🙂 Thanks for your comments! Yeah, someone else brought up the beset upon by, and I’m glad because I had no idea -_-‘ That’s pretty cool that you’d be willing to give the book a look-in! It’s early days yet but I’m aiming for it to be out before the start of December, because otherwise I’ll probably miss out on Christmas 🙂
      Thanks again for stopping by!

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