Blurb it up!

The all-important book blurb. It must mesmerize, attract, invite, inform, and tease. All that in 300 words. Oh, and it can’t contain any spoilers.

My advice: read a ton of blurbs. Especially blurbs for wildly successful books. Focus on blurbs in your genre. Then start typing. Here is a first stab at a blurb for my historical novel, The Girl From Oto. Feel free to comment or critique!

In The Girl From Oto, American art historian Zari Durrell stumbles across a 16th-century portrait of a French noblewoman at Oxford University, a rare example of work by a medieval woman artist. When a controversy in the art world casts doubt over the artist’s identity, Zari enlists help from a colorful cast of academics and dives down a rabbit hole of research, trying to piece together the truth about the painting. As tantalizing clues emerge from high-tech analysis of the portrait, Zari finds herself tracing the steps of a young artist named Mira de Oto whose life played out in the Pyrenees mountains when medieval times gave way to the Renaissance. Along the way, Zari meets an intriguing Dutch man, Wil Bandstra, who joins her for a journey of discovery on the pilgrim’s route of Santiago de Compostella through the Pyrenees. Zari and Wil find themselves falling in love as they struggle to unveil the life of this unknown artist and ensure she finds her rightful place in history.

Mira de Oto’s story forms the mesmerizing backdrop to Zari’s quest. Born into a world wracked by war, plague, and shifting political boundaries, Mira grows up in a convent in the small principality of Béarn, never dreaming she is the daughter of Baron Ramon de Oto, a power player across the Pyrenees in the kingdom of Aragon. Under the protection of three women—her mother, Lady Marguerite de Oto, an abbess, Mother Béatrice of Belarac, and a mountain woman named Elena—Mira develops the discipline of convent life, the resilience of the mountain folk, and the skills of an artist. A friendship blooms between Mira and the boy Arnaud, whose influential shepherding family joins with the convent to prosper from the lucrative trade in merino wool. But when her peaceful existence is shattered, Mira enters the wider world and comes face to face with the harsh truth about her identity and her uncertain future.

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Amy Maroney

I'm a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and daughters. It took 4 years to write and publish my first novel, The Girl from Oto. Before that I was a writer and editor of nonfiction. This blog charts my progress as an independent author navigating the fog-shrouded switchbacks of "authorpreneurship." Come along for the ride...I hope what I've learned along the way can help you, too!

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