How to Write a Book Blurb . . . Maybe . . . I’ve Not Idea What I’m Doing

Funny from Yahoo Image Search

Funny from Yahoo Image Search

I was asked to write a post about writing a book blurb.  At least I think I was since it’s sitting on my topic list with a blogger’s name next to it.  To be fair, I have part of a shopping list on this thing too.  Still need to pick up those eggs.

Now I’ve written several book blurbs and synopsis and one or two of them could even be called good.  The thing is that I truly hate writing these things because they leave me drained and stressed.  Why?  Because there is so much I want to say and I never know what’s the important stuff and what hooks should be used.  Keep this in mind as I tread into the list.  As I said in the title, I don’t always know what I’m doing.  In fact, I had to rewrite all of mine and annoy a good friend who knows better than I do.

  1. Keep It Simple!–  A very long blurb can turn a potential reader off because they lose interest or fear that the author has no concept of ending.  It’s smarter to stick to the facts and leave the extraneous stuff as surprises.  For example, naming every character in an ensemble is a mistake, so choose the one or two that will be the focus.  The rest can be friends that reveals more heroes will appear.
  2. A Blurb Can Reveal Style– You might not realize it, but a potential reader may look deep into your blurb to guess at your writing style.  Is there humor?  Is everything spelled right?  Is it long-winded?  All of this will give the insightful a hint at what to expect beyond the words.  A big reason to edit and try to be yourself with writing a blurb.
  3. Need that Hook– This is still something I haven’t learned very well.  You need to having something in the blurb to make a potential reader curious.  Hit them with a stunning first line that has them excited to keep going and finish them off with a question or statement that puts a sense of mystery into their minds.  To get an idea, take a look at the blurb for Beginning of a Hero:

    (Opening hook.) Every hero must take the first courageous step into adventure. For Luke Callindor, it’s more of a blind stumble.

    (Body) Depending more on bravery than common sense, Luke sets out to protect a royal heir who is attending the prestigious Hamilton Military Academy. With a demonic assassin in the shadows, the determined warrior will have to think on his feet to defend his charge. If only he waited long enough to find out which student is the hidden noble.

    (Closing Hook) With Luke’s dream on the horizon and a deadly enemy on his path, how will he transform from a reckless adventurer to a true hero of Windemere?

  4. Write Too Much and Cut– This is a method that might work if you find yourself saying too much in your blurbs.  Go wild with the first draft then go take a break.  Come back with the intention to slash the whole thing down to something smaller.  You might have to make it go up and down in size and scale before you get what you want.
  5. Utilize Your Blog– I think this is a no brainer, but only if you have a blog or some social media platform.  Put your nearly finished blurb out there for a little time to get opinions.  I do that with mine by posting it for a day on my blog and shutting down the share functions.  This keeps it in your area, so all comments and feedback will come directly to you.  It also tells you what your potential audience thinks.
  6. Read Blurbs in Your Genre– If you’re really unsure then wander over to your local library, bookstore, or visit Amazon.  Head for your genre and read blurb for 15-20 minutes.  Get an idea of what the trends and traditions are.  You’ll find that you gravitate toward certain styles, which is what you should go for.  Write a blurb that you would enjoy as a reader.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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41 Responses to How to Write a Book Blurb . . . Maybe . . . I’ve Not Idea What I’m Doing

  1. PorterGirl says:

    This is really helpful – I find blurbs very difficult indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kylie Betzner says:

    Great post, Charles. Love the honest title. I think your blurbs are great:)


  3. darkwriter67 says:

    Reblogged this on Illuminite Caliginosus.


  4. L. Marie says:

    Good advice. Writing a blurb is like marketing. I find it very difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the excellent advice. I think blurbs are difficult to write.


  6. I struggle with blurbs. Yours are always good. Thanks for the advice.


  7. Wonderful advice, Charles. I need all the help I can get with book blurbs! 😀


  8. Oloriel says:

    Awesome advice and just what I needed, thanks for writing this Charles!


  9. JED says:

    Some good advice for anyone. Especially a newbie like me. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on chrismcmullen and commented:
    Helpful tips for that oh-so-difficult-to-write blurb.


  11. jazzfeathers says:

    I’ve just rewritten my blurb for the… I-don’t-know-number time and it makes me feel seek.
    But I’d agree with you. Write mor ean dthen cut… that worked for me.

    And the hook… boy, it hurts… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  12. lilicasplace says:

    Great info as always, Charles!


  13. Deanie Humphrys-Dunne says:

    Great hints, Lily! You did such a good job!


  14. Great tips. I think outsiders find it much easier to test a blurb, so your 5th tip is one I’ll be using for sure! 🙂


  15. I’ve been meaning to write a post about blurbs. A few weeks ago I spent a day studying the blurbs of five books: Yellow Dog (Martin Amis), The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco), Angels and Demons (Dan Brown), Hawksmoor (Peter Ackroyd), and The History of Danish Dreams (Peter Hoeg).

    All of them were different, from a single paragraph for the Name of the Rose, to a multi-paragraph character analysis for Yellow Dog. I looked at the word count, how the points were arranged and structured, the style and tone and then, having done all that, wrote a blurb for my book in the style of each of those five novels.

    It was one of the most fruitful days of writing in a long time and has left me with five blurbs for five different situations from back covers to letters to agents. As you suggest, find succesful or critically acclaimed books and look at what the professionals write.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow, since I don’t have a book, I never even thought of this topic. Good to know info, for when I do!


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