The book blurb is one of the most important deciding factors in a book purchase. That’s a lot of pressure. I’m kind of freaking out about it. As I tidy up my second round of beta readers and head into the last editing round, my mind comes back to this and slaps me upside the head.
“Write a better blurb!” My mind is quite blunt.
Here I go then, kicking and screaming to the blurb writing phase. In order to get better, I have to lay out my thoughts here so I can practice writing book blurbs.
What is a blurb
It’s a 15-200 word book description. The reader should come away wanting to read more.
What a blurb is not
- It’s not a synopsis, which is a summary of the entire book from beginning to end.
- It’s not a review, which is something a reader or another author gives after reading the book. These might go on the back cover, but they are not blurbs.
- It’s not a way to advertise the author. That’s for the “About the author” section.
What to avoid
- Spoilers! Too much info pretty much makes reading the book useless.
- Being too secretive. At least throw us a bone so we can understand what we are looking at purchasing.
- Filler words like “the” “could” etc.
- Questions. Do not ask the reader questions, or so I hear. What do you think? 😉
- Long blurbs are boring. Concise blurbs are good.
- Don’t be vain. It’s OK to use genre markers, but not OK to say “get ready for the next Stephen King!”
The parts of a book blurb
Let us dissect a blurb. It may be a little more lengthy in the “situation” part if the book is Fantasy or Historical Fiction.
I’ll start with what I have, basically an elevator speech, and try to improve using this formula. Here’s what I have so far:
Historical fiction/thriller set in 1850s Alabama. Tragedy throws a guilt-ridden Cherokee and an adventurous plantation owner’s daughter into an alliance as they struggle for survival and revenge against the man who upended their lives. There are underlying themes of honor, perseverance, mercy, and strength of friendship.
David has traveled a precarious path between living and existing ever since his first breath.
Grappling to make do after his mother’s murder and avoiding the fallout from the Cherokee removal, his blended family has ignored the advances of a persistent stranger. When the stalker kills David’s love, David spirals out of control.
The conflict and the stakes
Riddled with guilt and anger, and cast out by his iron-willed brother, David’s quest to settle scores quickly turns into a killing spree with his mother’s ex-husband at the head, a devastating charge against his father, and another girl’s life hanging in the balance. David must do whatever he can to protect what he has left, even if it means he risks what is left of his soul.
A prompt to read more
He and a plantation owner’s daughter form an alliance in their struggle to survive and get revenge against the man who turned their lives upside down.
I need to rehash my blurb at least fifty more times
Maybe mine is bad, maybe it is good. I need to capture the essence of the novel and am not sure I have yet. That’s OK. The fact that I’m trying means that I’ll get somewhere. The fact that you are reading this means you are thinking about book blurbs and might get some blurb writing done.
If you are looking for good and bad blurb examples, check out this article by Self Publishing Review. How has your blurb writing experience gone so far?