My new book needs a blurb!

UPDATE

My dear friends,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and encouraging responses! I’m genuinely moved by the insight with which you chose your favorite blurb–and by the generosity of your feedback. I learned much more than I was expecting from your comments, not least that many people are looking forward to the publication of Iron Legacy, which I truly appreciate.

Now for the results. Many of you rightly saw that the two blurbs took opposite approaches to the same material, the first beginning with my experience and the second beginning with the reader’s experience. Put another way, the first told you a story while the second engaged you in conversation, and I was curious which approach would feel more open and inviting. After all, when people are shopping for books, especially online, a blurb has only seconds to snag their attention before they move on to the next title.

The good news was that both blurbs appealed to many people. Almost a third of you liked both and leaned only slightly one way or the other. Several urged me to combine them–or deftly did it for me! But the final tally (from Facebook, Reddit, and my blog) was twenty-three for Blurb Two, fourteen for Blurb One, two for the composite, and one for all three. So I’ll publish Blurb Two–with some tweaking based on your comments. I might not get it down to 150 words, but I will certainly try.

Again, my heartfelt thanks!

ORIGINAL POST

I have always believed that a person who gives advice for a living should have the sense to ask for some when she needs it. And boy do I need advice right now! I’m days (maybe hours) away from publishing my first book, Iron Legacy: Childhood Trauma and Adult Transformation, and I can’t decide which of two blurbs should accompany it. The blurb, I’m told, is the single most important part of the whole book project. It must be alluring, comprehensive, and pithy, all at once–no pressure, right? I wrote two, just to be safe, and now I can’t decide between them. So if you’ll be so kind as to read them both and tell me with a comment which you found more enticing, I’ll be so grateful. No need to say why–unless you want to, of course. Thank you so much!

Blurb One

Donna Bevan-Lee had a tough childhood. When her father was feeling playful, he roped her by the foot like a rodeo calf, yanking her to the ground every time the rope connected. In darker moods, he did far worse, his brutality excused by a church that gives men absolute power over women and children. The abuse she suffered had profound and lasting consequences, including self-loathing, addiction, and an inability to say “no.”

Too many adults have similar histories. Roughly a quarter of American children experience complex trauma resulting from abuse, neglect, catastrophic illness, or other adversity. Because such trauma affects the developing brain, it’s not something we outgrow; it permanently alters our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and behavior, often without our awareness. It derails our plans, sabotages our relationships, and convinces us that we’re unworthy of happiness. It makes us vulnerable to addiction, obesity, depression, anxiety, chronic illness, and early death. It is a challenge like no other.

Dr. Bevan-Lee met the challenge of her traumatic childhood and began to help other survivors meet theirs. A pioneer in the field of codependency, she developed programs to treat adults struggling with unresolved trauma. Her flagship program, the Legacy Workshop, has helped thousands of survivors understand their histories and discharge emotions rooted in them. Now she has distilled her history, cutting-edge research, and four decades of clinical experience into Iron Legacy: Childhood Trauma and Adult Transformation.

Full of up-to-date information, practical help, compelling stories, and clear-eyed encouragement, Iron Legacy is a comprehensive guide to recognizing and overcoming childhood trauma, written by someone who has been there.

Blurb Two

Is your family life chaotic? Do you have kids with eating disorders or drug problems? Do you avoid your parents—or wish you could? Have you fallen in love with someone who treated you badly or treated someone badly who fell in love with you? More than once? More than twice? Are you addicted to alcohol or pills or sex or porn or shopping or gambling or Twitter or work or risk? Are you sober from such addictions but still miserable? Do you suffer anxiety or depression that doesn’t improve with medication? With therapy? With multiple tries at therapy?

Very likely, childhood trauma lies at the root of your problems. Growing up, one in four Americans suffers abuse, neglect, or other adversity sufficient to interfere with normal development. Abuse doesn’t always leave bruises, and neglect doesn’t always mean hunger or dirty clothes; emotional abuse and emotional neglect cause just as much developmental damage and are often much harder to recognize. This damage is cognitive, emotional, and physical; it can be seen with brain scans and measured with simple screening tests. And its effects on adult behavior are profound.

Donna Bevan-Lee is all too familiar with these effects. Having survived an abusive childhood herself and pioneered the treatment of other survivors, she distills forty years’ clinical experience plus her knowledge of cutting-edge science in Iron Legacy: Childhood Trauma and Adult Transformation. A comprehensive guide to understanding and overcoming complex trauma, Iron Legacy goes beyond the codependency movement she helped to found, drawing on research in multiple disciplines to lay out practical strategies for healing. And woven throughout is her inspiring story of endurance, creative resistance, and transcendence.

20 Replies to “My new book needs a blurb!”

  1. I think the second one grabs a wider audience faster. I recommend the second one. Good luck with the book. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. I vote for Blurb One. It drew me in immediately. I like that it weaves from Donna’s story to the reader’s and back again.

  3. I’ve edited together a hybrid version that I believe combines the strongest parts of both blurbs (a few words changed here and there for flow):

    Donna Bevan-Lee had a tough childhood. The abuse she suffered at the hands of her father had profound and lasting consequences, including self-loathing, addiction, and an inability to say “no.” Too many adults have similar histories. Growing up, one in four Americans suffers abuse, neglect, or other adversity sufficient to interfere with normal development. Abuse doesn’t always leave bruises, and neglect doesn’t always mean hunger or dirty clothes; emotional abuse and emotional neglect cause just as much developmental damage and are often much harder to recognize. This damage is cognitive, emotional, and physical; it can be seen with brain scans and measured with simple screening tests. And its effects on adult behavior are profound.

    Because such trauma affects the developing brain, it’s not something we outgrow; it permanently alters our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and behavior, often without our awareness. It derails our plans, sabotages our relationships, and convinces us that we’re unworthy of happiness. It makes us vulnerable to addiction, obesity, depression, anxiety, chronic illness, and early death. It is a challenge like no other.

    Dr. Bevan-Lee met the challenge of her traumatic childhood and began to help other survivors meet theirs. A pioneer in the field of codependency, she developed programs to treat adults struggling with unresolved trauma. Her flagship program, the Legacy Workshop, has helped thousands of survivors understand their histories and discharge emotions rooted in them. Now she has distilled her personal history, cutting-edge research, and four decades of clinical experience into Iron Legacy: Childhood Trauma and Adult Transformation. Full of up-to-date information, practical help, compelling stories, and clear-eyed encouragement, Iron Legacy is a comprehensive guide to recognizing and overcoming childhood trauma, written by someone who has been there.

  4. I like the second one’s format, but I think the beginning paragraph can be condensed into a few questions. I like it because it starts as relatable before switching to Donna’s story. Wish you the best.

  5. I loved the imagery in the first one but it didn’t quite feel like “me” but the second I related to personally.

    So I’m for #2

  6. I vote number two. It connects the reader immediately to the pain associated with trauma and co-dependency and invites them to explore further and buy the book. Number one is gripping and gets my attention but not in the same way if I were unfamiliar with who you are or your brilliant work.

    Good luck, I cant wait to read it!

  7. Hi Donna,

    Like #1 the best. The starting paragraph pulls you in to read more. My feedback would be both are too long for today’s digital natives. If you love the how long it is, recommend continuing to work to make sure each one of your words is powerful and necessary. You only get so much space on mobile and tablet view. If you can get the punch you want in 150 or less, highly recommend going shorter. Can’t wait to read it and thank you for being so brave and working to help others! Love you, Heather

  8. I agree with Deb Nicholson. No one is more associated then she is with your history. So many of us were totally twisted by your father’s smile and it took us years to realize what you had all been through. I am so excited to read it and hope you will let me know as soon as it is published.
    Good luck. You have often given me words of wisdom, can’t wait to see the finished product.

  9. Hi Donna. Both blurbs are good but I really like “Z”‘s hybrid version. How exciting that you are close to publication!! Congratulations…I can’t wait to read and share it with others who I know will find it helpful.

  10. I vote for number one. It immediately pulled me in because it shares just enough of your personal experience to come across as being very credible. People can do research and talk the talk but how many have walked the talk? It takes one to really know one, right?

  11. #1 and # 2 are very good. I also like Z’s hybrid version.

    I am excited to read your work and I am extremely grateful for all the work I’ve gotten to do with you!
    I am still going to make those shirts
    Dr. Donna- Bevan- Lee “ saving lives “

  12. I love both! But two really captures the energy of what’s happening so much with people looking for tangible real answers to underlying issues.

  13. I was immediately drawn into version #1. If the point is to grab the audience, this does the job. I love parts of version #2, so I like what Z did to combine them. Please keep the first part of version #1- it’s so powerful!

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