Writing a Book "Blurb"

A blurb is wording that appears on the jackets of a book, and on advertising material marketing the book and attracting readers. It is also an important part of advertising, press releases, proposals for publishers or a website page.

Here are a few tips on writing your blurb.

1.Keep it short

Most back cover blurbs range from a few lines to a few paragraphs. The objective of a book blurb is to whet the reader's appetite to buy/read the entire book. It should arouse curiosity, but never give away the plot. You want the reader to think "I need to know what happens!" No pressure.

If your blurb is for a novel, it should promise a 'good read', for a non-fiction or self-help book, it should appeal to the reader's self-interest. In other words - whether it's fiction or non-fiction - it should answer the question: "What's in it for me?"... and it should do it very economically!

2. Appeal to the heart not just the head

You'll notice that book blurbs tend to use emotive words. You'll read that a character's experience is 'spine-chilling' or 'devastating', "murder,"and "betrayal'; Introduce the riddle to be solved, the conflict to be explored. Non-fiction books tend to promise answers and strategies: you'll see terms like "packed with tips and techniques"' and "practical advice". Use language to set the tone of the book - so if the book has comic appeal, the blurb must be funny.

3. Build expectations

Introduce hero and heroine and give simple plot set up. What is the interior conflict of the novel? Set up the plot and location, and introduce the important secondary character - the villain. In science fiction and fantasy, the setting and culture usually needs to be introduced.

Think about the market for your story. Are you selling to a romance reader, a mystery reader, or science fiction reader? You don't emphasize the heroine's romantic life if you are selling a thriller, and you don't ignore it if your reader wants a romance.

4. End with a reason for the reader to buy/read the book

This can be in the form of a statement or a provocative question. Some examples extracted from the full-length blurbs below: "Don't be a victim - be wise to their tricks!"; "Who is the spy? or "Will the hero find out in time?" You will learn... How to outsource your life and do whatever you want"; "Tap into your creative spark!"

5. Don't confuse a short book blurb with a short synopsis

This is very important. The big difference is this: A synopsis is a summary of the whole story - beginning, middle and end. It tells the reader (usually an editor) what happens throughout the story - including what happens at the end and how everything is resolved. A back cover blurb does NOT give the game away! It stimulates interest and curiosity and therefore entices the reader to buy the book.

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