Home » Writing » The Attack of the Blurb!

The Attack of the Blurb!

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter! πŸ™‚

Thank you for sharing your links and recommendations in my last post, definitely a great list of new books and authors to take a look at!

So, over the Easter break I thought a lot about writing (which I wasn’t supposed to be doing πŸ˜€ ), and thinking about what I need to do in order to prepare for self-publishing my books. One of the things I realised I could go on and get ready were the blurbs for my books.

Easier said than done! πŸ˜€

Looking around and doing some research on what others have written for their books I realised there are lots of different approaches, as there are with all things writing related. Some people recommend not using questions in the blurb as it can make it sound as though the writer might not know the answer themselves, for example:

Kate and Jack have a difficult journey ahead. What will they face? Will they take on these dangers together- or fall apart?

Not great, but you get the idea πŸ˜€

Others say you should use questions, as it gets the reader intrigued.

In general though, a blurb has to be a short, snappy introduction to your book that hooks the reader’s interest. I think of it as the cover should entice the reader to look at the book (I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but everyone does!), and the blurb should be the thing that makes them want to read it.

Some of the best advice I found was to write a summary of your story, including everything: characters, plot and even the ending. Then pick out all the most interesting and important bits, condense it and fit it into a blurb, like they do for movie trailers.

Again, easier said than done.

Another tip I found was to think about the layout of the blurb, a chunk of text might not be as appealing as lines that are split and easy to read (much like the advice given for writing a blog post).

But as I’ve been trying to come up with a great blurb, I realised I need to think of it not as a writer but as a reader. What would get me interested in a book?

I need to know certain things if I am going to consider buying a book:

– Genre and tone
– An idea of the plot- What is going to be going on throughout the story?
– Main characters

If I pick up a book and the tone of the blurb makes it sound like a fantasy, but it turns out to be contemporary I’m going to be disappointed, even if it’s a great book. That’s not a good way to build up a good relationship with a reader.

Now I’m trying to go back over all the books I have bought and see what it was about those blurbs that got me interested in them.

I recommend checking out this article-How to Write an Effective Blurb. I found it had some great advice, and I will definitely be following some of the points she has talked about.

So, in summary, a blurb needs to be short, set the tone of the book, give an idea of the plot and characters, all whilst engaging the reader’s interest enough to purchase and read the book. Wow, not too much to ask then!

What is it in a blurb that makes you buy a book? How do you go about writing a blurb for your own work? Do you have any advice or tips?

Progress Report

Status of Third Manuscript: 2 out of 3 copies back from readers.

April E-Book Review: Book read. Review ready.

62 thoughts on “The Attack of the Blurb!

  1. I am very guilty of letting my girlfriend take the fall for me- I read what she’s already read and said is good. πŸ˜›

    That being said, the few times I do pick out my own books, I look for:

    Setting quirks: I read to discover new worlds (including new time periods in this world) so I look for something about the setting or MC that tells me what I can expect to explore.

    Relatable MCs: I know it’s hard to tell from just the blurb, but I find I’m usually more attracted to blurbs told from MCs perspective, or near perspective. Who thy are draws me in.

    Re-tells: I’m a sucker for classic stories re-told, but that’s a me specific kinda hook.

    • Thanks for sharing, it’s always good to know what it is that people look for when they go to choose a book.

      I know what you mean about relatable characters, that’s something that draws me to a book too πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  2. I must have rewritten my blurb at least 1000 times before I had it saying exactly what I wanted it to say and how. I still toy with it from time to time. Especially the way it reads/ is formatted on Amazon. Not sure I could give any advice though. I rweead hundreds of blubs on Amazon and decided what I liked and what I didn’t.

    • I think it might be one of those things that I am never going to be completely happy with. It’s such a small amount to get down so much πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • Movie trailers always seem to show the best bits, and then I’m disappointed with the rest of the movie. I got to make sure and not do that in a blurb πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • I hope there are a few tips that are helpful, I’m not an expert so I don’t give tips, but I do like to link and share info I find that is useful πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  3. It’s not the blurb that makes me buy the book. It’s the quality of the writing (and editing) I see when I flip through it, that can make me willing to trade my wampum for it.

    It’s easier for me to say why a blurb will make me NOT buy a book. Blurb questions that begin with “Will they” make me roll my eyes. Celebrity endorsements cut no mustard with me, and the current craze at A Major Online Retailer to include snippets of commentary by “Cathy,” “Bob” and “Abdul” are meaningless. Back-cover text that begins, “Praise for” followed by the title of a DIFFERENT book will make me suspicious, and several pages of fulsome fragments of review blurbs before the book begins anger me, because they deceitfully inflate book size and page count, waste my time in the bookstore, and waste preview percentage in an e-book.

    • I get exactly what you mean, I do get turned off of books when you have to scroll through tons of review or praise before finding the blurb.

      If I want to look at reviews, I will look at reviews, but I want to see the blurb if I’m looking for the blurb! πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  4. Blurbs are almost as bad as titles for me. The easiest a blurb came for me was when I thought of it as a movie trailer, sadly I haven’t even written the book yet. When I do though I’ve got a blurb already which is nice lol

  5. Blurbs can be tough. In fact, my post for next week is about writing a pitch for Amazon’s contest. As with anything, they get easier with practice, but the task of writing one can still turn a writer’s hair gray. I liked your summary statement, and that link is wonderful. If you don’t mind, I’d like to include your post as a “Related Article” in my Monday post next week.

    • Of course you can include it, it’s good to spread the word! πŸ˜€

      Blurbs and summaries and things where you have to put something down in a limited amount of words is something I always find difficult. I know as a writer we are supposed to have that skill, but that skill seems left out of my writer’s starter kit! πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

      • Writers are used to having tens of thousands of words to get their point across. Making a full statement in just a few hundred characters is a somewhat different skillset.

        I can’t speak to writing blurbs, but going from my experiences writing press releases and whatnot, I’d say avoid asking questions in a marketing piece. They’re good at leading into something, but they usually read as a little hokey and aren’t very word-efficient. I wouldn’t worry about summarizing the whole literary concept in your blurb. Just focus on the first third or so of your story, at least as much as it describes the setting, characters, and major conflict.

      • Getting the major conflict in there is definitely a must, not the whole thing but a hint at it to draw the reader in. It’s the whole drawing the reader in and getting them interested enough in a small word count that is hard πŸ˜€

        Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Harliqueen. I like to know the heroine, and what problem she has to sort out. Things that will be a major problem to her, then I want to read on to find out how she overcomes these problems. Thanks for the post. Now I know what to put in my own blurb:0)

    • It was one of the best articles I found on blurb writing, obviously you don’t have to follow all the tips, but it’s good to be able to pick and choose which points work best for you πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  7. I try to limit it to under 300 words, and then don’t make very many paragraphs if possible. And I try to only include the main protagonist and main antagonist and the main dilemma they face. Sometimes it’s difficult not to include other intriguing things that sound important. It helps if you can have several other people give their input and then if many of them have the same concern, it may be something you need to look at. Of course, sometimes you get people who are stuck on one sentence and they won’t stop griping about it. When that happens, just ignore them. It’s odd that writing a full-length novel is not nearly as hard as writing a half-page blurb about said novel. LOL! Good luck! Oh, and great post! πŸ˜€

    • Some great tips, thanks for sharing. I think getting advice is definitely the way to go. Who better to get criticism from and see if the blurb sounds interesting then people who haven’t actually read the book yet? πŸ˜€

      I know what you mean though, it is much easier pounding out a book than it is trying to summarise it and make it sound awesome in such a limited space!

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

      • Exactly! There are some pretty good author forums that specifically deal with the blurb (or pitch) if you don’t want to try it out here. But it’s good to remember to take what sounds constructive and disregard the rest, because sometimes people just want to rip you to shreds and it isn’t until you get to see their work that you think, “Why did I ever let THEM bother me?” πŸ™‚

  8. Writing the blurb can be harder than writing the book! It’s my second least favorite task behind the book cover choice. What I do now is send the book out to the betas and ask them to write a blurb – it’s SO much easier (and they come up with some really good stuff!) πŸ˜‰

    • What a brilliant idea! I think I might ask them to do that, I did ask for opinions on titles for my last book, so this might help too. Thanks for the tip! πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • Think I will definitely post my blurbs on my blog and get opinions, the writing community and bloggers is such a wealth of willing and supportive information πŸ™‚ (I don’t think that made sense, I haven’t had much tea yet this morning! I hope you get the gist of what I mean πŸ˜€ ).

    • Maybe both? πŸ˜€ It’s possible trying to write the blurb before even starting writing the story might be a good practice to get into. It would help summarise and it can always be changed after.

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  9. I am soooooo picky about my blurbs – even other books’ blurbs. I tried to type it all out, but it was just so goddamned nitpicky that I’d prolly dedicate an entire post to it on my own. Which I just may, now that I think about it haha. Great idea!

  10. I don’t think writing down everything is very good advice for blurbs — it’s all about condensing the main elements of your novel into a couple of short, snappy sentences. Skip the details, and cut to the chase!

    • I think they were trying to advise to choose the best bits out of a summary you write down about your book. But blurbs definitely have to be short and quickly catch the readers attention πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  11. The first thing that draws me in is the title, not the cover. A good title makes me pick a book up to read the blurb. I find that oftentimes my blurb is a mirror of the first paragraph of my query letter–that snappy one paragraph sell. Throw in a few more details here and there, and I call it good. That said, mine would surely benefit from a good blurb writer’s eye.

    • I think it’s definitely about finding that balance between it being short enough but with enough detail and interest. Guess every time we write one it’s practice though, right? πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  12. This post is very helpful for me since I am currently working on creating blurbs for the stories I’ve finished. This is also one area that I struggle with the most. For me, the title and cover design has usually caught my attention when wanting to read a story, but as you said, I will look at the blurbs from stories I own πŸ™‚

    • Definitely title and cover are things that draw me into a book and the blurb is what sells it for me. I am not overly fussy when it comes to blurbs on books I want to read, but now coming to write my own I am the most critical person ever πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! It’s nice to be back πŸ˜€

      And I totally agree! I never did like maths, and writing blurbs is just that much harder to calculate!

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  13. Great post, and I agree with you and other commenters that getting that blurb correct can be very difficult. I currently have a 68-, 102-, and 216-word version of my book’s blurb (I wish there was a standard expected blurb-length!), and occasionally I’ll go read through them and re-tweak a word or two.

    The main thing I look for in a blurb (unless I know the author is good, in which case I don’t care about the blurb at all) is that it’s got something unique. If it sounds like a re-hash of something I’ve already read elsewhere, with different character names and settings but the plot sounds too familiar, I’ll drop it like a hot coal. Well, I’ll put it back on the shelf, actually, but you know what I mean πŸ˜‰

    • It would be much easier if there was an expected length for a blurb. I don’t want mine to drag on, but then I don’t want it to be too short either πŸ˜€

      Thanks for sharing, it’s good to know what others look for. I think having that unique twist or way of writing a blurb is definitely going to help. I am the same as you and want to read something new!

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  14. Thanks for this great advice. Usually what attracts me to a blurb is that it provides enough information to intrigue me, but not enough to tell me the whole story. I want brief information about the main character, the main conflict, and the stakes. Blurbs also provide a quick view of the book’s tone.

    • Yeah, definitely want something to pique interest but that doesn’t give away the story, or what’s the point in reading the book? πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  15. I tend to brainstorm a blurb while I go for a walk, and then practice the pitch on friends to see if it sounds intriguing. If I get a genuine positive reaction, I know I’ve hit a good blurb.

    • I do like going over things in my head whilst sitting calmly or doing other tasks, I think it helps sometimes to step back and look at it from a clearer head πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • I’ve been looking more and more into elevator pitches, they seem the perfect thing to at least practice before attempting a blurb πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  16. Where possible, I actually avoid reading beyond the first line of the blurb – until after I’ve read the book. It’s just a little quirk of mine. Generally, I’ll choose a book based on what I already know about the author and, after a quick read of a random early paragraph, the style and tone.

    • That’s a good idea, having a look at a paragraph from the actual book. At least you’d get a quick idea of what the writing was like and how the story would go πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  17. Pingback: Writing A Pitch For The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (ABNA) | The Write Transition

    • Great minds think alike, right? πŸ˜€

      It is a balancing act trying to write a blurb, I am still struggling with it!

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

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