Readers nowadays have a bewilderingly large selection of books in various formats to choose from. While readers benefit from the multitude of choices, authors have the tough task of drawing readers to their books among the thousands of other books on the shelves (or in the e-bookstore). Authors have three main tools at their disposal that can help catch the readers’ attention: an attractive book cover, a catchy title, and a great book blurb.
A blurb is a brief description of the book that lures the reader in to read more. It is different from a synopsis which gives away the whole story in the book. A blurb functions more as a teaser trailer, and is meant to hook the reader into the story right away, without giving too many details about the story.
Here are some tips on writing great book blurbs:
The first step to writing a blurb is to read as many as possible, to get an idea of the style and format of a good blurb. Pick up popular books in your book’s genre or category, and read the blurb to see how it managed to captivate readers into buying the book. If it is a nonfiction book, how does the blurb convince the readers that they can solve their problem, or learn something new from that book? If it is a fiction novel, how does the blurb interest the readers into finding out more about the characters, the story or the plot? Select your favorite blurbs and take notes on how they are effective in hooking the readers. Use these as your guides in preparing your own book’s blurbs.
2. Use the Correct Voice
Your blurb should be a good representation of your book in terms of writing style and voice. For example, a tragic love story should not have a peppy or cheery blurb, but instead create a feeling for the emotion and drama of the story, and promise more moving scenes inside the book. Your blurb also should not promise more than the book delivers, especially in the case of nonfiction books.
3. Focus On the Underlying Theme
While it might not be easy to describe your 50,000 word epic saga in a few lines, writing a brief blurb does force you to consider and explain in a few lines what the main theme of your book is and why your book is great. This will help you in the promotional activities for your book as well. One trick is to hone in on the main points and the most interesting parts in your book, and to first write a 3-4 page synopsis (which you would do anyway for traditional book publishing), then pare it down further into a 1 page summary. Now that you have captured the essence of the book, you can leave out the ending and focus on how to highlight the key areas and most interesting facets of your book.
4. Keep it Brief
A typical blurb is only about 150 words, and just a couple of short paragraphs. Remember that readers are probably checking out the blurb in crowded bookstores, or browsing quickly through hundreds of similar e-books. A short and to-the-point blurb that just creates an interest and atmosphere for your book is better than a half-page blurb describing your book in detail. Remember that the blurb serves to excite and tease the readers about the contents and persuade them to read your book, usually in under a minute.
Image credit: Mark Hillary on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]