Late last year, I asked five friends to write me a blurb for my new book- Hidden Scars.
Six months later, one excused himself and two others wrote impressive pieces that from my sense of judgment would not qualify to be a good blurb despite heaping praises on my personality.
When I turned it down, it dipped our friendship to the gutters. Now that the book is out with two blurbs from professionals; I learnt not only to ask friends to write me blurbs but also learnt that writing blurbs requires time and thinking.
When writing a book, there are few selling tools as important as a solidly written book blurb.
While there’s no perfect formula for writing the best blurb for your book, there are some patterns worth noting.
So, what is a blurb?
A blurb is a short yet descriptive account of the book that goes on the back cover. An extract that reveals an interesting detail of the story and leaves the readers wanting more.
It’s important to distinguish between a “descriptive blurb” for the back cover of the book and a “review blurb” from one who has reviewed your book.
A good burb is like a tagline that sells a product, in this case your book. Just like a good tagline, a book blurb is the second thing a reader looks at before buying a book.
Traditionally, a blurb was found on the inside back cover of a hardback. As paperback publishing developed, blurbs started appearing on the cover back.
A number of publishers will ask for 150-200 words for a full descriptive blurb and a paragraph or two for review blurbs.
In modern times, most book sales are online and not in bookstores, this implies a good blurb gives your international readers instant appeals hence increasing book sales.
What is the anatomy of a good book blurb?
While writing a good blurb, blow the trumpet of your book writing success on the literature world stage.
In Mathew 5:15, King James version of the Bible, the text reads:
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth a light unto all that are in the house.
So, when writing a book blurb, craft your best honest praises for yourself. For instance, reference to self as, New York Best Seller or Award Winning Author.
Secondly, your blurb has to be about characters in the book. Readers notably look for characters they can invest their time and money on. Hence, while introducing your main characters, from the first lines create the necessary intrigue that will hook the reader.
Thirdly, set the stage for the primary conflict of the book from the onset of the blurb. In the absence of real believable conflict, readers will have nothing else to feed their anxiety on. Readers love the thrill of pursuing conflict and finding out how the story ends. So, hook them to a conflict that is at the core of your plot and they will yearn to turn those pages to the end.
Last but not least, now that they are hooked to the adrenaline rush in the conflict, establish the stakes in the story. There must be competing stakes to keep the adrenaline rush. Without consequences, conflicts lack the drama that readers are looking for in a book.
Finally, customize the book to its target audience. Every good book has a precise target audience which gives it the purpose of the book.
Whenever a reader picks a book, most readers have a clear idea what they want to read next.
A generic blurb is a turn off; never try to sell a book to everyone. Instead customize it to help a reader feel like the book is for them.
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