Revisiting the all-important book blurb

CIMG0524The book blurb is one of the most important promotional tools you will write for your novel. This short piece of prose can entice someone to buy your novel – or pass it up. Because it is so important, you should spend a lot of time perfecting your novel’s blurb.

Now I have written on this subject before. But two things made me decide to revisit this all-important topic. First, I just wrote the book blurb for my latest book, The Heir to Alexandria, which comes out later this month.

Second, I read a lot of book blurbs through the authors I feature on this blog every Friday. I lot of them are not doing their job of enticing me to buy their book. They are chocked full of unnecessary information and often are too long.

Remember a blurb is short – 150 to 200 words. Think of it as a movie trailer. It needs to hint at the story but not give everything away.

In your blurb, you want to focus on the main characters and what is at stake. The key is not to reveal too much of your plot – and its resolution. You want to leave the reader wanting more.

Questions to consider so you don’t reveal too much of the plot.

Does the reader really need to know that? (And be harsh when answering this.)

Could what I wrote be a spoiler?

Am I revealing how the conflict was resolved?

Use Action and Emotive Words

When writing, pick words that show action and evoke emotions.

Here are some powerful adjectives often found in book blurbs: devastating, heart-wrenching, harrowing, passionate, terrifying, joyful, entrancing, searing, unforgettable, enchanting, chilling, heartbreaking, heart-rending, pulsating, bewitching, captivating, shocking, endearing, and spell-binding.

But make sure if you use these terms that they are accurate. Don’t tote your novel as fast-paced, action adventure when it isn’t.

End with conflict

Always leave the reader wanting more. The last line should have them dying to know what happens. You can end with a question or hint at future danger. But most of all, do not hint at how things will work out. You want them to read the book for find that out!

The book blurb can be a struggle for many authors. It will take many hours and many drafts. You will pour over word choice as well as what plot tidbits to include. But know that this time is well spent as a well-written, enticing book blurb can make the difference between someone passing your book or clicking “add to basket.”

3 thoughts on “Revisiting the all-important book blurb

  1. Thanks Susan! Your timing is perfect. I was just about to write the blurb for my third novel–WHISPERING HILLS OF LOVE. I’ll keep your tips in mind.

  2. sjhigbee says:

    You are so right! It’s also interesting to see how many publishing houses don’t get this right, either… There are a couple who have far too many spoilers on the back cover – always!

  3. […] like paperbacks have descriptions on the back cover, your e-book will need an enticing blurb. This is the second most important aspect after the cover. Your cool, awesome cover made the reader […]

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