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Writing Books/repetition: when good; when bad


Hello Bobbie,

Re: back cover blurb; non-fiction.

As I understand it, blurb typically ends with or at least contains a single sentence or phrase that possesses, by itself, power enough to suck-in the reader. In effect, isn't the rest of the blurb there to get the reader TO that one sentence? Ideally, it's one powerful enough to sum up the entire book, its goal, or the motive for it. What I have so far not been able to find out, anywhere, however, is whether once used in the blurb, that statement (or some variation of it) should not appear again—say, in the Preface or Introduction.

I'm of the opinion that, much like a billboard, blurb is a completely separate entity. Just because your book is quoted on the side of a road somewhere doesn't mean you are repeating yourself. Would you agree; and if so, would you consider it permissible to repeat within the text and without danger of accusations of repetitiveness, even several of the key statements made on the back cover?


A back cover blurb is a commercial intended to make readers buy the book. For that reason, the same blurb should not be part of a novel, but I can see circumstances under which it could be used again in the preface or introduction of a nonfiction book.

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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