Blurbs are the second most important selling tool you have for your book, so you want this short description to grab the reader’s attention. Learning to write a short blurb for your book can be fun, but it is also a helpful practice for writing promotional short articles of any kind, especially for online copy, which should be always short and concise.
Writing a blurb for your books’ back cover is not the only way you can make use of it:
- as part of a proposal for a publisher
- for your e-books online sales page on Amazon, Kobo, B&N etc.
- as content for your website page or your blogs’ “About” page
- for your submission for a contest
- for your application as a “Writer in Residency”
- editors or journalists need a blurb for an article on you and your book
- as your book blurb for the person introducing you in an interview or a writers’ panel
Remember the blog article about the “elevator pitch“, You Never Get a Second Chance…the 30-60 second description of your book? Writing a book blurb or a very short synopsis of your book is almost the same task of explaining your book in a few short sentences.
What is the difference between a book blurb and a short synopsis?
A books blurb does NOT have a spoiler! It stimulates interest and curiosity and wets the readers appetite to buy / read the entire book.
A synopsis is a summary of the whole story – the beginning, the middle and the end: What happens throughout the story, at the end, how everything is resolved.
What’s in for your reader? Tips on writing a blurb
Blurbs can range from a few lines to a few short paragraphs. A book blurb does not provide answers, but rather spark the reader’s curiosity.
- First, you must determine the market for your story.
- Most of your success will depend on your opening line, the hook or the headline.
- Write your blurb in a way that shows your potential reader how you will deliver.
- End with a reason for the reader to buy / read your book. It can be in the form of a statement or a provocative question.
- Study lots of back cover blurbs in your own or a library’s shelves.
- If it’s a novel, it should promise a fabulous, entertaining read. A Non-Fiction or self-help books blurb should promise a solution or appeal to the reader’s interest.
Blurbs for Fiction
Book blurbs tend to pitch to the emotional side of fiction readers. The character’s experience is “spooky, utterly devastating or heart-breaking”. The blurb might talk about a mystery to be solved. Add questions into your novel’s blurb.
Blurbs for Non-fiction
These book blurbs promise answers and strategies, such as “chock-full of information“ or “gives you the solutions you where looking for.”
Five basic elements
American Bestselling Author and writing teacher Mike Wells writes in his blog:
Each and every story is composed of the same five basic elements: a (1) hero who finds himself stuck in a (2) situation from which he wants to free himself by achieving a (3) goal. However, there is a (4) villain who wants to stop him from this, and if he’s successful, will cause the hero to experience a (5) disaster.
Read his worthwhile blog where he explains in detail how to write a synopsis of your book, under “Advice for Writers“.
Writer short and shorter
How to shorten what has already been trimmed and trimmed and more trimmed? Learn it from Marilyn Byerly.
Once you mastered writing your own book blurb, you might want to get testimonials from celebrity writers in your genre. How you can achieve this, explains Marcia Yudkin and offers great tips on getting testimonials.
Phrases with instant appeal
Sarah Kettle, copywriter for Penguin: “Note words and quotes and phrases with instant appeal, atmosphere, an air of mystery, a sense of character, a sense of place and put them all together in a coherent and exciting way.” So, whoever picks up the book and reads the blurb, thinks “I must read this book”.
If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $159 for three months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.
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September 14, 2013 at 10:11 am
“Blurbs are the second most important selling tool you have for your book.”
I assume second to the cover design?
Thanks for sharing the useful information and links. I read somewhere on the Web that the first three or four words of your blurb should hook the reader. Writing a compelling blurb certainly flexes the creativity muscles.
March 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm
Thanks for the useful and indepth article.