Choosing a Back Cover Blurb for My Travel Memoir–Can You Help?

Green globes

It’s time to choose a back cover blurb for my book, a collection of travel tales, which is almost ready to be published (in late March, I think). Yay! But it’s a tough decision. That’s why I need your help…

Giving Away Two Free Books

To show my appreciation for your interest/assistance, I’ll be giving away 2 free copies of the book–one to the person whose feedback is most helpful and another to someone chosen randomly. (Digital copy only if you’re outside the U.S.)

4/365 Traveler's Corner

Decision re: the Cover

First, I’d like to thank those who helped me with selecting a front cover and subtitle a few months ago. Winners have been chosen and will be notified shortly.

Here’s the cover (close to it, anyway) that I’ve decided to go with–it will be this image, minus the photos at the bottom (they’ll go on the back cover, most likely). The name and subtitle will be: Magic Carpet Seduction: Travel Tales From Off the Beaten Path. Fewer words than I had originally and right to the point.

What’s the Book About?

Before I show you the blurbs, I’d like to share the ‘expanded itinerary’, which doubles as a synopsis. This will give you an idea re: what the book is about.

Ride #1: Silence is Golden (People’s Republic of China)

Enter another world—the Chinese province where Chairman Mao Zedong was born—and experience an English-teaching mission that gets complicated by lingdaos (young Communist Party leader-students) and a mysterious chalk drawing in my classroom. Be there with me as I struggle with freedom of speech issues while attempting to connect with my students’ hearts and minds.

Ride #2: Viva la Revolución (Central America/Mexico)

Like road trips? How about bus trips? Join me and a friend on a month-long journey from Nicaragua up to Mexico to countries where the revolución lives on. Vicariously experience younger-man temptation, heart-warming encounters with locals and yes, a 12-hour chicken bus ride full of quirky characters. You—and your butt—will never be the same!

Ride #3: Magic Carpet Seduction (Turkey)

Step into a black comedy with a dash of romance (imagine if Woody Allen and Pedro Almodóvar, the Spanish director, worked together). Sleep in a fairy chimney cave, meet the Carpet Casanovas and pass through terrorist checkpoints on a Turkish chicken bus equivalent. The climax will leave you wanting a cigarette—and a stiff drink!

Ride #4: 40 Arabian Nights (The Middle East)

What’s it like for a woman to travel solo in the Middle East? Find out when you accompany me on an offbeat homestay with a Circassian family in Jordan, followed by Arabic classes and a stint as an extra on a TV show in ‘bad-boy’ Syria. The ride ends in Lebanon, with a quest to meet a mysterious hermit who may hold the key to understanding life itself.

globes

Choosing a Back Cover Blurb–Need Your Advice

So, back to the matter at hand–the back cover blurb (the basic description of the book). I know it has to be short and catchy–between 100 and 150 words (excluding a 1-or 2-sentence author bio).

Please let me know which of these (rough drafts) you like best–and why. I’ve numbered each paragraph. That way, if you want to play ‘Mr. Potato Head’ (mix/match), it will be easier. If a sentence or paragraph from one version is appealing and would work better in another version, you can say: “I like Version A, but use the wording from C2.” Thanks!

Blurb A (140 words)

(1)Close encounters with Carpet Casanovas in Turkey. Political intrigue in a Chinese classroom. A marriage proposal on a Nicaraguan chicken bus. A quest to meet a Colombian hermit, a modern-day Wizard of Oz, in the Lebanese Alps…

(2)Vicariously experience these and other adventures when you travel with the author to China, Latin America, Turkey and the Middle East. Each ‘ride’ on the carpet—a tale in the collection—is unique, yet all are connected by a light spiritual thread. As she ventures off the beaten path, taking risks most people wouldn’t dream of, random moments lead to unexpected journeys.

(3)The end result? Adventure and misadventure.

(4)Whether you’re a nomad, an armchair traveler or someone who enjoys living in the moment, this book is for you. Highly entertaining and thought-provoking, it helps you see another side of the world–and yourself.

****

Blurb B (137 words)

(5)Close encounters with Carpet Casanovas in Turkey.
Political intrigue in a Chinese classroom.
A marriage proposal on a Nicaraguan chicken bus.
A quest to meet an wizard-like hermit in the Lebanese Alps…

(6)These are just a few of the vicarious trips you’ll take with the author, a travel addict, as she ventures off the beaten path to find herself. Throughout the book, she travels spontaneously and takes risks, and random moments lead to unexpected journeys.

(7)The end result? Adventure and misadventure, with a light spiritual twist.

(8)Hop on the magic carpet and visit China, Latin America, Turkey and the Middle East. Each ‘ride’/tale is unique, so you never know where you’ll land next. Wherever the author goes, you’ll be traveling alongside her, discovering another side of the world and how it might bring you closer to yourself.

****

Blurb C (153 words)

9)Imagine traveling off the beaten path and meeting the real people of a given culture. What adventures—and misadventures—would you have? What would you discover about yourself?

(10)Join the author on a magic carpet journey to 9 countries as she travels spontaneously and takes risks most people wouldn’t dream of. Each tale, a ride on the carpet, is unique. As a passenger, you never know where you’ll land next.

(11)One minute, you experience political intrigue in a Chinese classroom. Next, you rub elbows with Nicaraguan cheese smugglers. Then, you fend off Turkish ‘Carpet Casanovas.’ Eventually, you go on a quest to meet a wizard-like hermit in the Lebanese Alps. These are just a few of the journeys…

(12) Hop on the carpet, sometimes a bus, and meet the locals. Enjoy the freedom of independent travel. And discover, with the author, if traveling to far-flung destinations might actually bring you closer to yourself.

Your Thoughts/Suggestions?

Which blurb do you like best–and why? Which sentences get your attention the most? Anything you think I should add? Or should I delete something to make a version even shorter?

Do you prefer the blurbs where I list some of the experiences the reader will be having first? Or is it better to begin with general questions, then share some examples? I personally like having the examples first.

I chose these examples, by the way, because I thought they represented the variety of tales in the book. I do have others I could include instead (eg, sleeping in a dead man’s cave, breaking up with my Arabic teacher, getting lost in a crusader castle), but I think the ones I’ve chosen work well.

Note: I may also have a very short excerpt from one of the reviews the book recently received. If so, I might be able to include that right before the blurb. Good idea?

Thank You!

Thank you, in advance, for any feedback you might have for me. I truly appreciate it! And I thank you for your continued readership.

Thank You

Sign Up for My Newsletter–and Receive Updates Re: the Book and Other Giveaways!

To get on my e-mail list (no spam ever–I promise), please sign up here. I’ll be setting up free chapter downloads and giving away more books there at some point. You can also follow this blog via RSS and I’d love it if you joined me over on Facebook.

Photo Credits

Special thanks to these photographers who have made their work available for use via Creative Commons:  Arcadius (Living room with bookcases);  Tuppus (green globes); Patrick Hoesly (‘thank you’).

34 Responses to Choosing a Back Cover Blurb for My Travel Memoir–Can You Help?
  1. Robert
    February 25, 2013 | 7:13 pm

    Congratulations – you have constructed these well :-) Makes it hard to choose. But here goes:

    None of the 3 blurbs totally works (for me), so I am going with the separate paragraphs.

    2 = this seemed to engage me well :-)
    5 = ooo, nice and punchy!
    11 = love it! Not sure why, but it is good
    12 = sums up well

    Combining those might require some tweaking of the words, but I think this is the ‘best of the best’.

    Cheers from DownUnder

    • CB Driver
      February 25, 2013 | 11:06 pm

      Thanks, Robert–will keep all of your suggestions in mind! 2, 5, 11, 12, huh? This reminds me of a sequencing activity I do with my students! LOL

      Re: tweaking…at this point, I’m a master tweaker! :)

  2. Neal
    February 25, 2013 | 7:32 pm

    I really like 1,2 and 4 minus the 3. I don’t think you need part 3 really. You have separated the 4 sections for a reaons and I think the short one is the weakest and besides you mention misadventures on the front cover. The phrasing sounds like you are writing the blurb. The others (Blurb 2 and 3)are in the 3rd person therefore less personal. There is a level of intimacy you lose when using the 3rd person as compared to the level of intimacy shared in your stories.
    If you want 3rd person I always think you should get someone else to write it. But remember it is a pet peeve of mine. When I’m on a artist website the artist makes it sound like someone else is describing their work while it could only be them.
    I am excited to read the book adn can’t wait until it is available. Yay!

    • CB Driver
      February 25, 2013 | 11:08 pm

      Hi, Neal. 1, 2 + 4? I see what you mean re: that part 3. Hmmm. I like the way it sounds–LOL–but I can see how it may not be necessary.

      I’m OK with it sounding like I wrote the blurbs. I may have a quote from one of the reviews up above, which would help a bit.

      Thanks so much for your feedback–it’s excellent–and I can’t wait for you to be able to read this book (and that other book that will be coming who the heck knows when!) Cheers!

    • CB Driver
      February 26, 2013 | 9:30 am

      Hi again, Neal. I forgot to mention in my last comment that the word ‘misadventures’ is not actually on the cover. That’s an old subtitle that I decided not to use (because the number of ‘misadventures’ doesn’t match the number of actual chapters and it’s confusing. Long story there.

      Anyway, given this info, do you still think that part could/should be pulled?

      • Neal
        February 26, 2013 | 11:49 pm

        I like it like this….

        Close encounters with Carpet Casanovas in Turkey. Political intrigue in a Chinese classroom. A marriage proposal on a Nicaraguan chicken bus. A quest to meet a Colombian hermit, a modern-day Wizard of Oz, in the Lebanese Alps…

        Vicariously experience these and other misadventures when you travel to China, Latin America, Turkey and the Middle East. Each ‘ride’ on the carpet—a tale in the collection—is unique, yet all are connected by a light spiritual thread. As she ventures off the beaten path, taking risks most people wouldn’t dream of, random moments lead to unexpected journeys.

        Whether you’re a nomad, an armchair traveler or someone who enjoys living in the moment, this book is for you. Highly entertaining and thought-provoking, it helps you see another side of the world–and yourself.

        ****

        • CB Driver
          February 27, 2013 | 9:02 am

          Thanks, Neal! Now that I see that blurb (minus that mini paragraph), I get what you mean. Sounds good. Flows and moves!

          I may just use this (and change the last sentence a little bit.)

          Thanks again–really appreciate your feedback!

          • Sofie
            March 8, 2013 | 8:04 am

            I’d go for this one as well!
            And otherwise A but with the first paragraph 5 instead of 1:-)
            Sofie recently posted..Milan: Should I give you another chance?My Profile

          • CB Driver
            March 17, 2013 | 8:23 pm

            Hi, Sofie. So you like the stacked list of examples? Me, too. I think it lets each one be its own entity (if that makes sense). Thank you!!

  3. Maria
    February 25, 2013 | 9:22 pm

    I like Blurb A (1)Close encounters with Carpet Casanovas in Turkey. Political intrigue in a Chinese classroom. A marriage proposal on a Nicaraguan chicken bus. A quest to meet a Colombian hermit, a modern-day Wizard of Oz, in the Lebanese Alps…

    It is just enough info while still a tease. I’d read that and want to crack open the book. I’d actually, probably, call in sick and stay on the balcony reading, and then day dreaming, all day cause a blurb that good has to have so much more inside. :-)
    Maria recently posted..Catch and ReleaseMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 25, 2013 | 11:10 pm

      Hi, Maria. I think we’re on the same page. Just wondering if you mean just A 1) or the other paragraphs in that one, too?

      You’d call in sick and stay on the balcony reading it? I LOVE that. So cool. You are beyond cool! :)

  4. Leektone
    February 25, 2013 | 9:45 pm

    As a carpet casanova myself, I endorse blurb B because I like adventure and am very partial to misadventure.

    • CB Driver
      February 25, 2013 | 11:11 pm

      Are you a carpetcasa? Very interesting. I think you’re a misadventure mischief maker, too! :)

  5. Andrea
    February 25, 2013 | 10:30 pm

    All of them are good and it is hard to choose.

    I like most of Blurb B (5,6,7) but I was confused by the magic carpet or reference to a carpet (did you buy a carpet)…..I prefer the word “tale”
    The last section of Blurb C (12) is a better ending.
    Best wishes!

    • CB Driver
      February 25, 2013 | 11:13 pm

      Hi, Andrea. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Funny that you should mention that re: C 12. I feel the same way. I was just sharing the blurbs with a friend before and when I read that ending out like, I really like it. Also, I think it make more sense than the others.

      Re: the magic carpet–just a metaphor. I didn’t buy one. In the book, I come very close!

  6. Buddingspritelet
    February 26, 2013 | 12:31 am

    I like Blurb B because (5) pops, bam bam bam then the next part (6) leads one into what it is about and flows right into part (7) with mis/adventure :) I love it.

    • CB Driver
      February 26, 2013 | 9:28 am

      So you like stacking the experiences instead of running them in one paragraph? I think I do, too. I hope I can do that (unless it’s a space eater and thus, a problem). Thanks for your feedback!

  7. Prime
    February 26, 2013 | 1:04 am

    I prefer option C as I like my blurbs straight to the point and promises what it will actually deliver. I find the two blurbs a bit exag, superficial and more fit for one of those shallow memoirs.
    Prime recently posted..Prime’s Beijing: Weekend Guide to Beijing (first of two parts)My Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 26, 2013 | 9:26 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Prime. Appreciate it.

  8. Liv
    February 26, 2013 | 10:44 am

    Hi Lisa – I reckon C but in section (11) remove the last sentence “There are just some of the adventures…” I think it is better without that bit. Afraid I can’t put my finger on why though. It does reduce the 153 words to 147 if that helps!
    The writing in these paragraphs made me, as the reader, feel more invited and involved in the stories ‘within’
    Hope that helps?!
    Really good luck with the book.
    Liv.
    Liv recently posted..Hiking Cinque TerreMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 26, 2013 | 11:18 am

      Thanks, Liv. That’s very interesting. One quick Q–was it the opening questions (versus examples of experience in the other blurbs) that pulled you OR was it the final sentence?

      ‘And discover, with the author, if traveling to far-flung destinations might actually bring you closer to yourself.’

      I’ve been thinking about going with version A and using the final sentence (or two) from C at the end. Maybe.

      Thank so much–I appreciate your taking the time to comment, etc!

  9. lorrie
    March 3, 2013 | 8:23 am

    i like B its a great description and brings the reader in more personal

  10. Teresa
    March 4, 2013 | 12:16 pm

    I love the wordgasm you make with A1- that is instantly appealing. But, the way it’s written in B5 looks a lot better. C9 is good because it makes people wonder and reflect on their own lives.

    I’d say a mix of those two are my top choices. I think the examples you chose are perfect; they are good enough to make me wonder what the heck happened :)

    And the title-FLAWLESS. Love Love Love it!

    Congrats on your book! After all the business has settled, I may have to book a day with you to pick your brain about this memoir writing business. I have 40 pages written as part of a Post Graduate class and I’ve been thinking about moving forward… Aaron told me you’d be coming out with this sooner or later and I am so happy to see you moving forward with this.

    Cheers and Good luck!!
    Teresa recently posted..Exploring the Kunsthofpassage in DresdenMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      March 7, 2013 | 11:34 pm

      Hi, Teresa–thanks so much for your comment, the feedback and for wishing me well!! I appreciate all of it. And I love the idea of the ‘wordgasm.’ That’s great!

      So–you like the way I stacked the experiences in B5, huh? Interesting. I do, too. And I also like the final sentence in C. I like the idea of ‘discovering if traveling to far-flung places can bring you closer to yourself’ more than the final ideas in A and B. I think it represents what may happen for the reader more accurately somehow.

      I’m thrilled that you like the title–awesome! I agonized over it, believe me.

      I’d be more than happy to chat with you sometime re: memoir writing, what you’ve done so far, etc. Are you in NYC or Holland? If the latter, there’s always Skype! :)

      • Teresa
        March 17, 2013 | 2:21 pm

        Anytime! Wordgasm is my favorite word :)

        I am indeed in NYC; in between things and waiting to move to Holland by mid-year. I recall that you’re in the NJ area if I am not mistaken. I’d love to meet up and chat memoir!

        Good luck!!
        Teresa recently posted..Exploring the Kunsthofpassage in DresdenMy Profile

        • CB Driver
          March 17, 2013 | 8:16 pm

          Very cool, Teresa–sounds good! Are you going to the NY Travel Show event? I haven’t signed up, but I might. If not, we can always meet for lunch or a drink.

          Fantastic news re: Holland!!! I’m sure it’s a countrygasm…lol.

  11. Naomi
    March 17, 2013 | 3:09 am

    Close encounters with Carpet Casanovas in Turkey. Political intrigue in a Chinese classroom. A marriage proposal on a Nicaraguan chicken bus. A quest to meet a Colombian hermit, a modern-day Wizard of Oz, in the Lebanese Alps…

    These are just a few of the vicarious trips you’ll take with Lisa Egle as she ventures off the beaten path to find herself. Join her on a magic carpet journey to 9 countries as she travels spontaneously and takes risks most people wouldn’t dream of.

    Each tale is unique. You never know where she’ll land next.
    Naomi recently posted..Crossing chickensMy Profile

  12. Sofie
    March 18, 2013 | 2:54 am

    Couldn’t reply anymore above so here goes: yeah I liked the stacked list of examples. It does make each one stand out more and it feels more structured:)
    Sofie recently posted..Chocolate and beer in BrugesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      March 18, 2013 | 9:05 am

      Sounds like we’re on the same page (excuse the silly pun)! Thank so much!

      • Sofie
        March 18, 2013 | 9:52 am

        My pleasure!
        Hope the back cover turns out just the way you want it:)

  13. flip
    April 19, 2013 | 3:36 pm

    ooops seems like I’m late (LOL!) I like the first blurb. :-)
    flip recently posted..Top 15 Philippine Travel Blogs for 2013My Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 20, 2013 | 9:41 am

      Hi, Flip. No problem. Better late than never… :)

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

CommentLuv badge

Trackback URL https://chickybus.com/2013/02/choosing-back-cover-blurb-for-travel-memoir/trackback/

Like this blog?

Get my book!


 

follow the bus

Join Our Facebook Fan Page


   

itineraries

                     
don't miss the bus! sign up for the monthly newsletter
Chicken Busology
Learn more about chicken buses by checking out these links:

Chicky Bus: The Real Story: Join me on a wild 12-hour chicken bus ride through Central America. Meet cheese smugglers and other characters. 

Chicken Bus Q & A: I answer all the questions you might have about chicken buses, but were afraid to ask. 

Want the quick fix
Watch the YouTube video to the right of this box. Vicarious thrills guaranteed!

come ride a Chicken Bus