Writing book blurbs can be a pretty intimidating task for a lot of writers. It’s completely understandable because it’s the selling point of your book. No worries, because I’m here to make the task a little bit less daunting.
I want to start out with the most common confusion I see in the multiple forums I participate in and it involves definitions so, let’s set them straight.
- Book Blurb – a promotional description, as found on the jackets of books.
- Synopsis – a brief summary of the plot of a novel. You will typically use this later when quarrying agents. This will be more detailed than a blurb and it will give away the secrets of your book.
- Log Line – is a brief (usually one-sentence) description of your book that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both the story’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest.
Okay, now that we have the definitions, let’s talk about blurbs, baybee.
Where to start?
Most blurbs have a pretty basic structure which I will provide below. I will also use an example from #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author Sarah J. Maas’ most recent release in the Throne of Glass Series: Tower of Dawn.
1.) Set the stage
a. Introduce your hero
b. What makes him/her interesting
c. Reveal the setting: Especially if it’s unique (i.e fantasy, historical.)
2.) Introduce the problem.
a. What turned your characters life upside-down?
b. Your character’s goals.
c. What’s at stake?
d. What’s in his/her way?
3.) Promise a twist.
1) Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
2) His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica–the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.
3) But what they discover in Antica will change them both–and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
If you follow this structure you will have a great start to a book blurb but here are a few more do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Do’s and Don’ts
• Keep it under 150 words – any more and you risk losing your audience.
• Include your character name in the first sentence – it helps create an instant connection.
• Keep in three independent paragraphs.
• Look at examples in your genre.
• Treat your first sentence like a pickup line.
• Tell the reader everything.
• Open with an overused cliché.
• Start with a question – it can often confuse the reader and you don’t want your first impression to be confusion.
• Use too many character names. 1-2 at most.
• Use more than one made up planet/continent name.
• Giveaway spoilers.
Like any writing rules, these can be broken and sometimes being a rebel works out but in general, these tips are a good place to start.
In the end, there is nothing more beneficial than a little trial and error.
Write it. Get feedback. Repeat.
Thank you all for stopping in. I hope these tips have helped you and if you liked what you saw don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss out on any of my writing tips or prompts.
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I hope you have a wonderful week and as always leave me a comment with your book blurb (I would love to see them!!) or tweet me @shauna_philp with any questions or requests for future blogs.