5 Tips to Write a Great Book Blurb
The first thing a reader does when they pick up a book is to flip it to the back and read through the text given there. This short piece of writing, which usually amounts up to a paragraph or two is what is called a blurb. A blurb promotes your book to anyone who may be interested in trying to find out what exactly your book is about. A book blurb highlights the crucial points of your books such as your protagonist or the primary plot point of your story. For non-fiction, you’ll essentially be detailing the elements of the main topic or personality that you’re dealing with and for a poetry collection, you must outline the binding theme and style of your poems. A book blurb can either be written by you, the author, or by the publisher and will often contain quotes that tell readers what makes your book a great read.
For writers who are only just stepping into the shoes of becoming authors, a good blurb is crucial. A blurb can be considered good when it fulfils certain criteria. These criteria all point towards only one purpose which is that the blurb must interest and intrigue a reader into purchasing and then reading your book. Here’s all that you should do to have a good blurb to go on the back of your book:
Keep it short and simple
Use as few words as possible yet create an impact with what you say. Blurbs are meant to be short and readers will lose interest if they’re long paragraphs with nothing intriguing to offer. Look at this example from the infamous book series:
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason: Harry Potter is a Wizard!Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J. K. Rowling
This blurb is as short and simple as it can get and yet highlights the protagonist, the main plot, and introduces the reader to a bunch of unique yet interesting terms that they won’t know the meaning of until they read the book. However, you must remember that using jargon or unordinary words must be avoided unless absolutely necessary like in the example above where they’re created by the author for the story. In order to bring in vast readership, it is important that you keep your language simple and your blurb short.
Jump right into the main points
Here are all that are important to your book – your protagonist, the primary conflict of the plot, and any theme that may be central to your story. When writing a blurb, you must immediately jump into bringing the readers’ attention to these points that you know they will enjoy and want to know more of. Look at what the blurb of the first book of the Game of Thrones series focuses on:
Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
From the fertile south, where heat breeds conspiracy, to the vast and savage eastern lands, all the way to the frozen north, kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men … all will play the Game of Thrones.A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
The blurb immediately presents the conflict of the story and then goes on to introduce the kind of characters that readers can find in this book. A storyworld is the fictitious world or just the world that is presented within a story. The blurb for A Game of Thrones immediately highlights the geography and nature of its storyworld which tells the reader what they can expect inside.
But remember, there is a big difference between detailing the main points and giving away important plot points of the book. The aim is to explain the main elements of the book without giving much or anything at all away. No spoilers!
Scout around for samples
It’s best that you understand the nature of what you’re supposed to pen down before you get started. Looking through blurbs of other popular books and especially of books that resonate with your own work can be of great help in being inspired for the kind of blurb that you should write. Understand the kind of blurbs that go with the nature of the books on whose backs they appear. This will help you decide the kind of tone and direction in which you want to write your blurb in. The idea here is not to imitate but to be inspired.
Keep it unique
- Of course, what really will set you apart as a writer is a unique story or work. But the important thing is to be able to market this work in such a way that you’re able to pull readers into reading your work; and a blurb will help do that for you. Which is why, apart from divulging the main aspects of your book that will help be the selling points of your work, you also need to make sure that you convey these points creatively and in a way that captures your unique style.
You can do this either by writing the blurb in a style that is fresh and different or come up with unique ways of conveying what your book is about. And never begin your blurb with overused or cliché phrases like ‘Once upon a time…’ or ‘In a world…’ or ‘XYZ wakes up to…’ And never, ever outright state how amazing your book is. Don’t tell the readers, show them!
A sure-fire way to set your work apart from others is by being creative with how you pen your blurb. Readers appreciate work that is new, that doesn’t blend in with all that has already been done. When you are especially working with fiction or poetry, you get all the more space to convey your work to potential readers. Take Rupi Kaur’s blurb for Milk and Honey for instance:
The blurb has nothing but what Kaur’s poetry is about and all the themes and emotions invested in the poems. The cover isn’t too crowded with quotes or praises from any famous writers or media outlets. This is an especially bold move considering it was her debut book. Yet, it worked. It pulled in a diverse readership through the intriguing tone and style of the blurb. Really, don’t be scared to put out something new, just make sure that it reflects your writing in the best light possible.
As an aspiring author especially, make sure to simply focus on your story and writing style without getting lost in someone else’s and you’ll make sure to create a mark on the readers. Writing a blurb, though seemingly easy, in fact, requires quite some craft. But you shouldn’t let that intimidate you! Making sure to do all the things listed above will put you on your way to writing a blurb that will aptly capture the essence of your book.