Many readers seek new books by browsing their favorite genres. Beyond that, catchy titles and intriguing cover design aligned with genre expectations further entice. Hopefully, the potential reader takes that all-important next step and reads the back blurb or online description. How to write a book blurb is rather straightforward, but the process can be infuriating due to the emotional connection to your own work that often makes it hard to boil the story down to essentials.
Optimization Basics to Keep in Mind
For better or worse, writing entails not only writing to entice readers but also writing to appease the online parameters placed on the text.
1. Genre Appropriate: Make sure your book blurb reads like those that are selling well. Do your research. Collect, print, highlight, compare and contrast.
2. Length: Aim for a word count in the vicinity of 150 words (1-4 paragraphs). Amazon might allow 4,00o characters in the book description box, but nobody wants to wade through a long blurb. Rather, use some of that space for snippets from top reviews.
3. The Hook: Hook readers with an irresistible first couple of lines. This is common sense, but more importantly, you want potential readers to be tempted to click the “read more” button. It’s also possible to use basic HTML tags, so consider making the leading line bold.
4. Keywords: Incorporate 3-5 important keywords, phrases or categories readers are likely to use to find books like yours. If the search terms can’t be easily worked into the book blurb, it’s perfectly acceptable to incorporate them as a list after the main description.
5. Efficient Summary: Capture the gist of the story without giving the ending away.
Newspaper publisher and world traveler JJ Cavendish continually feels pressured to live up to her Miracle Girl nickname. Not many people know she’s living a carefully crafted lie. She may not hide ties to the LGBT community, but she does hide past struggles with addiction.
When the Colorado native is handpicked to take the helm at a dying Denver newspaper, she ends up reconnecting with her long lost love in this contemporary lesbian romance. Only there’s a catch. If JJ fires the most belligerent editor at the paper, she risks losing the love of her life.
Mid-afternoon office romps abound in this romantic comedy while also focusing on what it takes for a newspaper to remain relevant in this age of social media.
Must JJ lose everything in order to gain a life more fully her own?
A Template for How to Write a Book Blurb
This template will help you get the job done when it comes to what elements to emphasis. Whether to focus more on internal or external conflict will vary by genre.
1. Hook: Focus on the main character and the pickle they’re in. Name the protagonist and possibly one more significant character. Work in a reference to their socioeconomic status via job title or family role.
2. Conflicts: Establish the main conflict in the hook, and then take it a step deeper in the next section.
3. Setting: Work in a brief mention to the setting whether it be real or imagined.
4. Theme: Hint at larger societal issues that may be at play within the story.
5. Cliffhanger: Leave the reader wanting to know more by ending with a question, alluding to imminent threats, or by re-emphasizing all that’s keeping the main characters apart. Whatever you do, don’t let on to how issues will be resolved!
After a near-fatal drug overdose in the late 1980s, Gerry Freeman leaves England in search of a better life and spiritual awakening. While hitchhiking around the South of France, he and his friend Jan meet an eclectic mix of carefree hippies, dashing celebrities, and kind-hearted strangers.
Wine and parties abound—on the streets and beaches, wherever they find themselves—but the good times often come at the price of begging and having to steal food to survive.
Past mental and physical abuse haunts Gerry, but he begins to realize happiness is a choice. Sometimes it takes a journey that spans lazing on the beaches of the French Riviera, harvesting grapes in the serene hills of wine country, and washing dishes at a ski resort in the Alps to learn answers that lurked inside all along. Anyone can start caring again.
A blurb is not the place to be sloppy. Afterall, it’s a crucial component in selling your book. Though short, it’s a given good ones take a considerable amount of time to write. It’s best to let the first draft rest for at least a day before making further revisions. This will enable you to truly see it anew.
1. Characters: Readers connect with stories on a human level, so emphasize characters and their actions over setting, historical significance, or jargon.
2. Tone: Does your diction capture the feel of your book? Select words that best convey whether the tone of the book is dark, comical, or melancholy?
3. Imagery: Pick evocative words that will strike a chord with readers of your genre and conjure relatable images.
4. Rhythm: Shake things up with varied sentence structure. Writers often err on the side of length when trying to fit so many details in, but punctuation can indeed shake things up and keep readers on their toes and wanting more as opposed to slogging through marathon-length sentences.
5. Repetition: Be wary of having emphasized the same thing three different ways with only little to no variation. This happens quite often.
Graduate student Lizzie Petrie feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.
When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.
Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.
Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.
What tends to capture your interest when browsing book blurbs?
RECENT GUEST POSTS: I’ve written a post titled Who am I? Life After Divorce for Lizzi Lewis over at Considerings as well as a post titled Narrative Identity and Photographs for author JT Twissel. As always, your support is greatly appreciated.
Jeri Walker will shower you with editor love if you share the quote image in this post!