Re: Did I fix my blurb? How do I pick a good title?

#1
Let me preface this by saying that I suck at titles and summaries of all kinds. I can crank out thousands of words, but if you ask me to title a chapter, I will stare at you blankly, afraid and uncomprehending. I need all the help I can get. Recently, I got some feedback from some wonderful people on these forums that my title and blurb for my story weren't working. They said that my blurb was too choppy and while the content was engaging, the grammar might put off readers. They also said my title was too vague to market my story well. I see where they're coming from, I'm just not sure how to fix things.

So really, 2 questions:

Is my blurb still not working?

Old:
Seth of None: Refugee. Survivor. Liar. More secrets to shield than bones in his body. But his village is railing towards war, and he must determine the truth about the red-eyed teacher who killed his people, saved his life, and is still searing his conscience if he wants to have a future. Or settle their past.

New:
Seth of None knows who he is. A survivor. A liar with more secrets than bones in his body. A halbringer of deaths. But who is his red-eyed teacher who killed his people, saved his life, and still sears his conscience? With his village railing towards war, he'll have to determine the truth if he wants to have a future. Or settle their past.

What makes a good, engaging title?

Right now, I'm calling the book "The Owl's Hierarchy." I've seen some people do Title: Genre Summary like "The Owl's Hierarchy: A Post-Apocalyptic Slowburn" I don't know if that would help. Maybe I just need something more concrete?

Re: Did I fix my blurb? How do I pick a good title?

#2
I think you mean to say he is a "harbinger", not a "halbringer". And I would suggest to use singular "death" in the same sentence. I would also delete the last sentence, "settle their past". It feels awkward, dangling on its own, and it's unclear who "their" refers to.

Consider adding a line about the antagonist(s). You mention the village is headed towards war, but against whom, and why? Give us a little more about the conflict and opposition that our protagonist faces.

And if you can specify more precisely his goal, that would also be good. "Future" is vague and could be anything. I don't know what your protagonist is trying to do, even if it's something as simple as just surviving.

Re: Did I fix my blurb? How do I pick a good title?

#3

Maz Wrote: Seth of None knows who he is. A survivor. A liar with more secrets than bones in his body. A halbringer of deaths. But who is his red-eyed teacher who killed his people, saved his life, and still sears his conscience? With his village railing towards war, he'll have to determine the truth if he wants to have a future. Or settle their past.

So, I copied your new synopsis and have underlined the points I'll discuss in order:
  1. What is "None"? Is that the name of where he was born/from (e.g., Seth of Nonay)? Is it meant to indicate that he is not from anywhere (e.g., Seth of Nowhere)? 
  2. He has more than 206 secrets?
  3. Harbinger
  4. Are "his people" the people of "None" (assuming that's a village)? Or are you referring to a different group of people? Is it related to the "his village" referred to in the next sentence?
  5. "Saved his life" from.... himself? What was the threat such that the teacher was the killer and the savior at the same time? Or separate incidents?
  6. "Sears his conscience"--> I don't know what you're going for here.  It's an unusual turn of phrase, but I would assume it means something like "the teacher weighs heavily on his conscience." But that only makes sense if Seth regrets killing the teacher, or something (but that doesn't make sense). 
  7. Rallying
  8. "their" --> who is this referring to?
Once you sort those out, then we can maybe address if the synopsis is sufficient.  For now, I'm too confused reading it to give proper feedback.

As to the title, "The Owl's Hierarchy," I kind of dig it.  And it's unique.  I don't immediately know from the title what it's referring to, but that's okay.  That said, after reading the synopsis, I still have no idea what it's referring to, and at that point I'm fairly concerned. Presumably, the title refers to something within the story and, while it'll spoil it, it would help if you told us on this thread what it is that it's referring to.

Re: Did I fix my blurb? How do I pick a good title?

#4
I think both versions are pretty good, other than the few typos, harbinger, rallying. However, I agree with Luda about the sears his conscience. Implication of that phrase and how it contrasts with the rest of the sentence (since you said STILL) is not clear.

The Owl's Hierarchy: A Post-Apocalyptic Slowburn sounds better, yes. People here like that kind of title. 

Hope that helps.
peoapproval

Re: Did I fix my blurb? How do I pick a good title?

#5

luda305 Wrote: He has more than 206 secrets?


I think this is being a bit too nit-picky. No one reasonable is going to read that in a story and go "oh he has more than 206 secrets" instead of the more reasonable "oh the author means he has a lot of secrets". Of course, if it ends up he has like... just ten secrets or some low number, that might make people go ???? but that's a different issue.


Seth of None  -> Agree with above that Seth of Nowhere sounds better unless there's a very important plot reason to keep this.
A halbringer of deaths -> Harbinger of death sounds better

Applying those changes we get: 

Seth of Nowhere knows who he is. A survivor. A liar with more secrets than bones in his body. A harbinger of death. <- pretty good start.

But who is his red-eyed teacher who killed his people, saved his life, and still sears his conscience? With his village railing towards war, he'll have to determine the truth if he wants to have a future. Or settle their past. <- this is kinda vague. Needs to be punchier and clearer about its intents, instead of being generic fantasy blurb.

The Owl's Hierarchy as a title sounds fine. Adding the  "A Post-Apocalyptic Slowburn" is more meh, but it's a good marketing move on RR to do so (people here really like subtitles esp when it mentions xianxia, litrpg, etc). For example, Virtuous Sons (a top 10 RR story which began 2 months ago?) when it was starting out barely got any views. Author tripled his daily views by adding in "A Greco-Roman Xianxia" (this was before he even got into trending) in the title blurb so it clearly does work on some level.  

Re: Did I fix my blurb? How do I pick a good title?

#6
"Railing toward war"?  This word should maybe be "rallying".  Unless you meant something more like "railroading him toward war"?

I'm also confused about how one person can actively sear another's conscience.  Were you trying for the idea that the red eyed teacher's current words are pricking the student's conscience, or instead the idea that the student feels guilty for being saved by the person who killed his village and might be truly evil?

Re: Did I fix my blurb? How do I pick a good title?

#7
Here's some feedback. It's not bad, but it's pretty clunky, and a bit hard to understand. 

"a survivor, a two-face, a liar shuffling an ever-changing deck of secrets. But his red-eyed teacher, the man who killed his people, saved his life, and still sears his conscience?" using commas like this looks really repetitive, like you're just listing off bulletpoints. It's weird to see. Personally I'd say this is too much information, and you could easily just delete two or three of those descriptors. 

I don't get this sentence "But his red-eyed teacher, the man who killed his people, saved his life, and still sears his conscience?", it has no verb. 

"A wild card--at the worst time." -> no idea what this means. At the worst time? 

"A corrupt trader..." -> this is a total non-sequitur from the previous sentences, so I think it deserves a line-break. 

" to profit his standing in a merciless empire" -> I don't think this is grammatically correct. Maybe to improve his standing? Or, just "to profit", without mentioning the empire. 

"his quiet, ruthless teacher's" -> we already got like 4 "descriptors" of the teacher, we don't need two more. 

"sharply-turning series of events" -> sounds like a TV ad. I'd remove "sharply-turning" 

"if he wants to stop this..." -> stop what? Just replace this with "if he wants to stop himself from making the worst mistake of his life.", I think it's less clunky that way. 

Re: Did I fix my blurb? How do I pick a good title?

#10
IMO your first title was fine. Keep the precision for the blurb notes. 

You'll get more click from curious people browsing the new releases than from the people looking specifically for a slowburn post apo story ^^

I'm no reference on blurn so I won't comment much on yours. I believe people read the first chapter more than the blurb anyway. 

edit:: after re reading your blurb : add a paragraph telling us what the story is about: what context, what genre, what are we to expect? 
Right now my best guess is a revenge story but i know nothing more about the genre: fantasy with magic? post apo with science and mutants?  Some clues are in the tags, but who reads the tags? 

The tags are used for advanced research.