"Busybird Publishing"

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Having Played My Part

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in Our Books | 4 comments

the-sun-470317_1280I’ve been the head editor of page seventeen since it came to Busybird in 2011. Since that time we’ve released four books across five years – all exhibiting work from emerging writers and first-timers with something to say.

They’ve been wildly diverse collections. Rarely have we published the same author twice. Rarely have we sunk deep into a single genre or theme.

I’ve had different reactions of pride to every issue – the exuberance of #09, the cheekiness of #10, the shining assertiveness of #11, the cavalier confidence of #12. It’s been hard and even frustrating at times getting every issue sorted. But I love them all, and I’ve loved having the opportunity to play such a large part in putting them together.

And yet, here I am announcing that I am stepping away as head editor of page seventeen.

It has not been an easy decision to make, and one that I’ve been admittedly dragging my heels on. But when I can no longer promise putting in the same time and effort that I know P17 requires, I have to take that as a sign. And maybe P17 is due for some fresh changes, the kind that can benefit from a switch in management.

So although I’ll certainly miss running the submissions and going through all the content, I’m not as upset as I thought I would be. I’ll still be around, both as an editor for Busybird Publishing and reciting my clunky prose a little too fast at the Busybird Open Mic Nights. I’ll even continue to post on this blog here and there, just no longer as P17’s ‘figurehead’.

In regards to P17-based developments, keep watching this space (and the Facebook pages for both P17 and Busybird) for more updates.

To everyone who helped bring each issue together – readers, editors, judges, proofreaders – so many thanks are due. To the Busybird team in particular for being so supportive as I’ve stumbled my way along.

And there are so many writers and submitters out there who I’m indebted to for trusting us with their work. The stories, poems and articles we’ve published across these four issues of P17 are just tiny pieces of the massive jigsaw puzzle we’ve been working with. So many writers out there with so many ideas. P17 would be an empty shell without them. Thank you.

And to anyone who’s read the issues I’ve overseen, I hope you enjoyed them. I know I have.

Beau Hillier

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The Importance of a Good Blurb

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Busybird | 0 comments

blurbOne of the most important features in writing today, especially in the digital era, is the blurb of a book. A blurb defines what the book is about in 200 words.

A good blurb is on par with a good cover image and both need to stand out.

The blurb has to be engaging. Not necessarily attractive like a European-man-with-long-luscious-hair-riding-on-a-horse-type-of-engaging, but it does need to convince the audience that this is one hell of a book.

You can do this by creating mystery, but the mystery can’t give the story away.

1. Choose an opening that introduces your main character(s) with originality and conflict.
‘When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place.’
~ The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins ~

2. Who are your characters and why do we care about them? Be interesting, make them three-dimensional.
‘As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.’
~ The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt ~

3. Be true about your story. Write in a way that tells the book honestly.
The Flamethrowers is an intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake, the terrorist.’
~ The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner ~

4. End the paragraph with a cliffhanger for readers to find the rest of the story themselves.
‘Lisbeth Salander – outcast … enigma … avenger…’
~ The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson ~

If you’re still unsure how to go about creating a good blurb, here’s a formula that breaks down the whole step-by-step process of it all.

1. The opening, the conflict, and the character = A situation
Mathew Penn seems to have it all: friends, financial stability, loving family … He is the ‘perfect’ guy. But underneath all that charm lies a secret. A secret full of undeniable consequences could risk everything he’s ever worked for …

2. The situation + the three-dimensional character = a problem
Mathew has a dark impulse, an impulse that develops an ambition to trick his good intentions into doing evil things. On one hand he’s all smiles and unafraid to bring the ladies home – that is until the trickster comes out to play, and he is left feeling guilty and ashamed …

3. The Problem + a hopeful ending = an honest Reaction
As his virtue slumbers, so does his secret. Soon everyone in Mathew’s life becomes suspicious of his behaviour. While trying to uphold the forbidden truth from being foretold, Mathew must attempt to get his alter ego under control before it’s too late.

4. An honest Reaction + cliff-hanger = The final mood ofOh Yeah
A battle of life and death, but which side of Mathew will get the upper hand in order to keep or tell the unfettered secret that lies within?

5. Leads into describing what the book is about; the overall genre.
[Book Title] is a classic retelling of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde … A mystery filled with supernatural instincts that are bound to grip us to the core of who we are.

From these steps you’ll be able to create a good blurb in no time. Be intriguing and you and your book will go far.

Belle Savage
– Editorial Intern.

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