Beating the Blurb

Author TipsAsk any group of authors what terrifies them most about writing their book and I can almost guarantee that at least one of them will sigh and say “the blurb”.  For whatever reason, writing a 400 000 word book is less intimidating than a 3 or 4 paragraph blurb.  To a non-writer, that will sound silly, but I can testify to the fact that there is something scary about trying to boil your whole book down to a few sentences.  I always envy the people who say that it’s “so easy”, but that’s just the luck of the draw I guess. It got me thinking though, perhaps there are some tips and tricks that we should all be aware of?

One of my favourite questions is “why do we need a blurb?”  The truth is that writing an amazing book and investing in a great cover is only 50% of the battle.  After all, it’s a bit like dating.  You can look great, but if your pick up line bombs, you’ve blown it.  Your blurb is your pick up line.  It’s the first way you flirt with your reader after your cover has sparked their interest.  It’s the way to prove that you have substance.  So what should you include and what should you rather leave out?

Things to remember:
– Keep your blurb short and to the point. Don’t waffle. Think about your words carefully.
– Introduce your characters in a way that makes the reader want to know more.
– Use any conflict in the story to create intrigue, make readers want to read further.
– If it’s relevant, include information on your book writing or professional status (Award Winner, Best selling author of, etc)

This to skip:
– Don’t just say “my book is amazing”… let the reader decide.
– Don’t compare yourself to other writers.
– Don’t give away the plot of the book, no matter how tempting it is.
– Don’t use phrases that have been done to death like “In a world” or “Far, far away” etc.
– Don’t just give a summary of chapter 1

Remember that your blurb is selling your book.  The story starts somewhere, with characters in a situation.  Find a way to describe this as simply as possible.  Next, there’s bound to be some sort of hurdle that they have to overcome.  This is the moment when they’re on the right track “until…”.  Naturally there’s bound to be the chance to resolve it all and finally, you need to tell readers more about the tone of the book. Is it serious, a mystery, a fun chick lit read?  All these factors together can turn a browser into a buyer.

So go ahead… flirt with your reader.  And don’t forget… like all flirting, practice makes perfect!

Until next time…

BM xx

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