If so, you’re not alone. Many authors hate writing blurbs. However, a good blurb will give your book its best chances for a sale.
Even with the best cover, a bad blurb will send potential readers running away screaming, never to return. On the other hand, a good one lets the reader know why they should be interested in the book and piques their curiosity without giving too much away.
It’s worth the time spent learning how to write a good one. A blurb is great to have for many reasons. You use it for your book page, for your ads, and you can use it on any handbills/bookmarks/etc, in full or in part. You can use it author interviews, query letters, back cover matter, ads in the back of your books, you name it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve copied and pasted mine, or parts of mine, for various purposes.
We all know what looks bad. It’s easy to conjure visions of terrible book blurbs. Bad ones are filled with misused or misspelled words, poor grammar, poor punctuation, run on sentences, choppy sentences, and more. You can do better!
So, what makes a good blurb, anyway?
It should quickly summarize your book and introduce the plot. There should be no repeated information. An interesting sentence at the beginning, to use as a “hook,” is great too.
“The World will end on a Saturday.”
“Winged horses may be common, but not if they can talk.”
“Everything seemed normal until I noticed the dragon under my bed.”
“The contagion is coming.”
If you can hook your reader and make them wonder, that’s a good step. Your cover and your blurb work together to draw your readers in. It can take ten or twelve rewrites until you’ve written a good one. The best way to learn is to practice, while reading as many other blurbs as you can. Notice what works. Notice what doesn’t. Notice how others in your genre are writing them.
Here are some basic tips for creating a good one.
Identify the main character by name.
Tell a bit about where they are.
Mention their primary goal in the plot.
What challenges do they have to overcome?
What are they doing to overcome them?
What is at stake?
Keep your blurb short. 3-6 sentences works well.
Here is an example of a blurb I wrote, with the help of some fine folks at a Goodreads writer’s group. It’s not a perfect example, but essentially follows these rules, including the one for length.
Before the fateful phone call, Daphne’s greatest worries were limited to making rent, making art, and what to feed her finicky Siamese. During an otherwise unremarkable shift, a particularly hateful voice coming through her phone line unleashes shadowy horrors that threaten her sanity, her workplace, and eventually her entire city. Daphne and two unlikely companions, a tattooed metalhead and a ditzy nurse, must find a way to free themselves from the curse or face a world of endless fear, blinding fog and deadly phantoms!
If you mention bios, many authors will groan.
A good bio is much easier to write if you approach it like a blurb. Cover the essentials, pique readers’ curiosity, and communicate who you are and why people will find your work interesting.
Basics for bios:
Brief history of accomplishments.
Brief discussion of your interests.
A line or two about latest work, if appropriate.
Keep it short, just like in the blurb.
Rohvannyn Shaw has been an avid reader for her entire life. Raised by two writers, a love of literacy permeated her childhood. With this background, it was inevitable that she would eventually turn her hand to the family trade. She has written several novels and edited both fiction and non fiction books. Apart from paying the bills by working in a call center, she is also an artist and illustrator, and happily soaks up the Arizona heat with her partner. She is currently owned by a fluffy calico who graciously allows her to maintain her Mindflight blog.
Now, get out there and do better than that!
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