While a book’s cover creates initial intrigue, the blurb is essential to draw in your reader and create sales. It should tempt the reader to want to know more, without giving away too much information. Readers often browse blurbs quickly, reading only enough to catch the main concept and style. For this reason, your blurb needs to be succinct and enticing, so that readers can get the information they need without getting bored and choosing a different book to pick up instead. A non-fiction book blurb should cleverly indicate who the book is intended for and why they need it, without going into such detail that the reader doesn’t want to read on. On the other hand, a fiction book blurb should reflect the style of the book and draw the reader into the plot, without giving away the ending.
Here are some tips to help you write a compelling book blurb!
1. Look at other books. Head to a bookstore or search online for successful books in your genre. Look at the varying styles and techniques that are used to draw readers in. Consider which blurbs are able to hook you as a potential reader, and why? Head over to our Books page for examples of blurbs we think are pretty great (in a non-bias way, we swear!).
2. Avoid using clichés. Beginning your blurb with phrases such as ‘In a world’ can be a deterrent for readers and doesn’t differentiate your book. Try to make your book sound unique by avoiding common phrases, whilst maintaining the book’s tone and narrative style.
3. Use short sentences. In order to keep the blurb concise, use short sentences which are to-the-point. Your blurb should only be about 150 words with large spacing to ensure it is punchy and easy for the reader to browse quickly.
4. Introduce the setting. Without going into too much detail, establish a location, time period and any significance this holds for the characters or story.
5. Introduce your protagonist. Whilst the plot may be compelling, the reader also needs to think that the characters are interesting. Mention them by name and provide a short characterisation to place them within the context of the book. Their struggles should be the focus of the blurb.
6. Apply a format. If you read many fiction book blurbs, you’ll notice that many adopt a situation, problem, twist and mood format. This can be a helpful way to ensure you entice the reader, without spoiling significant plot twists. The situation introduces the protagonist and any necessary background information to establish the story’s focal points. It shouldn’t recap the character’s entire past, or delve too deeply into their motivations. Keep it succinct. The problem can maintain a sense of mystery, however should draw the reader to the exciting or controversial aspects of the plot. A twist can be presented in the form of a rhetorical question to again entice the reader, such as has she done more harm than good? Lastly, the mood uses language such as an emotional thriller, or a phrase that highlights the main themes of the book. This is used as your final endorsement or selling point for the book, it’s your last chance to make them buy the book!
7. Make sure your language is relevant to your audience. Ensure that it is both applicable to the target audience’s age and the genre in which you are writing. Once again, it should reflect your own writing style.
8. Copy-edit your blurb. Re-read your blurb with fresh eyes after a short time has passed. You should also read it aloud to identify phrases that should be shortened or reworded to make it compelling. It can also be useful to have someone else read it for you to make sure it is engaging and understandable for your audience.
Writing an engaging and entertaining blurb for you book can be extremely tricky, especially when you’ve been so close to your manuscript for so long. A benefit of working with us at Impact Press is that we use our experience and knowledge of the market to write your blurb, either from scratch or by using a draft sent by you. We then send it back to you for edits and final sign off, so you can make sure it reflects your language and is the best representation of your book.