It’s true that book covers help sell books because it’s the first thing a reader sees and if the cover is attractive and eye-catching, it will draw the attention the book needs, but it’s the back cover blurb that truly sells a book. With such a large variety of books in various formats from which to choose, authors need to set their book apart from the others on the shelves and amid the long lists of e-books available online. Yes, the cover catches the reader’s eye, the title might intrigue, but ultimately it is the blurb that sells a book.
A blurb is a brief description of the book that intrigues the reader to want to read more. A book blurb is not to be confused with a synopsis, which actually tells the entire story in short form and used primarily when submitting. You certainly don’t want to give away the entire story to a reader before actually selling him/her the book.
Think of a blurb like a movie trailer. It teases, it intrigues, and it hooks the reader into the story without giving away too many details. It makes the reader say, “Oooh, I want to read that one.”
Some tips on writing great book blurbs include doing your research, using the correct voice, tense, focusing on the underlying trope or theme of the story, and keeping it brief. Now this might sound easy enough to do, and for some it does come with ease but for others not so much. That’s where an editor can help but every author should try his or her hand at blurb writing before turning to a professional for assistance. You never know if you can until you try.
Do your research – read as many blurbs as possible. If you have shelves full of your writing genre, you’ve got all you need. Look at your favorite books. What was it about the blurbs that made you purchase those particular books? Get a feel for the format and style of the best blurbs. Take notes on what stands out most and intrigues the reader in you. What makes you want to read more about the characters and the story? What is the hook? Use those blurbs and your notes in preparing to write your own book blurb.
Write your blurb in the same voice as your book. If your book is dark and tragic, be sure the blurb carries the same emotion. If your book is light at heart, and filled with humor share that feeling in your blurb, but don’t give it all away – no spoilers allowed.
Write your blurb in present tense. Whether you have written your book in third-person past, first-person present, or any other combination, make sure you write your blurb in third-person present. Think about those movie trailers. “Life is changing for Maggie, how will she accept it? Dave was a star once, but now he’s working toward a comeback? Will he make it or fail?”
Charge your blurb with focusing on the underlying trope or theme of the story such as it being a suspense, second chance romance, or tragic love affair. Your full-length saga may seem too intricate in plotting to pull together into about 150 words, but writing the blurb can actually benefit you by making you focus in on what is truly the most important aspect of your story without minimizing the rest. Hone in on the main points of your story, and what pushes the story along more than anything else. It might help to write a 3 to 4 page synopsis before attempting to write your blurb. The synopsis will give you the full story. If you’re going by way of traditional publishing, you will need to write a synopsis anyway, so you may as well get it out of the way. Once you have the full story pared down, drop the ending and pull the whole thing down tighter into one page focusing on the most important points in your story and the effects those points have on the main characters.
Keeping it brief – as I already mentioned, a typical blurb is only about 150 words and consists of 2 or 3 paragraphs at most. This is what makes writing a blurb so difficult, and even frustrating. You only have a short amount of space consisting of only a small number of perfectly chosen words to entice, tease, and hook the reader before that reader moves on. Remember that movie trailer, well, in a crowded theater, with people seeking seats and getting settled, the trailer only has a few minutes to convince the viewers into coming back to see the movie. In that same manner, your book blurb only has a moment in a crowded bookstore or while browsing a long list of titles online to capture the reader’s attention, and sell your book.
Now, I’ve given you the tools to write your book blurb but if after several tries, you still feel you’re at a loss and need assistance, I am here to help. Whether you need assistance writing it from the start, or simply need a good polishing to make sure that it is all that it can be to make your book present itself with the best-selling face, I can help you achieve the polish you want at reasonable rates. Feel free to check out my services by clicking HERE.
Thank you and Happy Blurb Writing!