A great blurb can make the difference between a customer taking out their wallet to buy your book or putting it back on the shelf. Big blurbs sell books.

But what exactly is a blurb?

A blurb is the copy on the back cover of your book. After the cover, the blurb is the first thing a customer will check when they think about buying a book. It should hook, intrigue and immediately capture the reader.

“Book illustrations are eye candy for the consumer,” says publicist Penny Sansevieri, founder of Author Marketing Experts.

Not just to customers. A great blurb can also help you find a publisher or agent.

Last year, I sent out dozens of inquiry letters in my search for an agent. As you probably know, most query letters are made up of some text from the book (the hook), some information about the book (genre, word count, etc.), and a short bio of the author or a list of qualifications. . The responding agents said “No, thank you”. I am not surprised. The blurb was flat like a French crepe. One of these agents wrote to say that he wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about my book, but he asked me if I had anything else to show her. At this point I had improved my blurb and had a completely new version. I mentioned it to him and asked him to consider my blurb edited, which he did. Her response was “Well, I have to admit this is a pretty compelling blurb.” You requested the first three chapters. In short, she welcomed me on the strength of those three chapters. In this case, my blurb was the key factor in getting the agent’s attention.

This is the blurb I first included in my request letter:

Can a good man be persuaded to commit murder and continue to keep his goodness?

Lullaby is about the restless soul of an aborted child who, in order to become powerful enough to be reborn, must lead humans to commit evil deeds. Having temporarily acquired the form of a beautiful woman, this being plays mind games with the protagonist, bringing back memories of her tragic childhood. As deeply buried feelings of hatred and revenge surface, the protagonist must struggle with his conscience to do the right thing. But will it be he, when his own ideas about justice and the greater good tell him that it is right to kill?

Now compare it to the second one that caught the agent’s attention:

In a trendy Turkish tavern, on a Friday night, astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz meets a mysterious young woman. Fascinated by her senses of her physical perfection and her views on good and evil, he spends the next few days with her. After a while, however, he begins to notice a quirk in her: the abnormally high temperature of her skin, her obsession with dairy products, her bizarre and childish behavior as she seems to take pleasure in fiddling with her conscience. her.

The young woman, Kamilah, invites him to Rize, Turkey, where he claims that his family owns a cottage in the woods. Despite his heavy workload and disturbing visions and nightmares about her sister’s baby being born soon, Gabriel agrees to go with her.

But nothing, not even the extraordinary beauty of the Black Sea, can hide the horror of its nature. In a place where death abides and illusion and reality seem one, Gabriel now has to deal with his own demons to save his sister’s unborn child and ultimately his own soul …

Here are some guidelines to help you create great blurbs:

* Keep it short (100-250 words). The goal is to convey what makes the book unique in a small space.

* In it sets the mood, the scene and the conflict or enigma.

* It should have mounting tension. The beginning should have a “hint” of conflict or threat, but remain pretty harmless (see my blurb number two: a guy meets a girl in a tavern). By the end of the blurb, conflict or threat should be imminent (the protagonist must save his sister’s unborn child and her own soul).

* Think about the best angle to get closer to your story. Both of my blurbs describe what’s going on in my novel, but the second seems a lot more exciting.

* As with a good book review, never put “spoilers” in the blurb. You can do this in a summary or book synopsis, but never in a blurb. (Look at my blurb number one again. In it I make the big mistake of revealing the nature of my “evil” female lead – she is the soul of an aborted child. In blurb number two, you suspect there is something wrong with it. goes into her, but you don’t know what. You stay and ask yourself).

* Think about what makes your book different.

* You can use question marks to intrigue the reader.

* Often ellipsis are used at the end to let the reader ask questions.

* Minimize adverbs and adjectives and use action verbs.

* It goes without saying that there are no spelling or grammar errors.

* If your book is non-fiction, does it have special features like pictures or diagrams? What is the purpose of the book? What are you trying to accomplish? Teach anything? How is this book different from others in the field?

* Remember that blurbs are not summaries! Don’t tell the whole story, just the exciting part of it, so that the reader wants to know more.

* Don’t overdo it and don’t coat it with sugar. Be professional.

* Study blurbs from your bookshelves, paying close attention to their style, language and content.

* Write and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Then show it to people who can offer honest feedback.

One last tip:

Do you know that powerful and dramatic voice you hear in theaters during movie trailers? That seductive, often exaggerated voice that describes the films? Well, read your blurb with this voice in your mind, matching its pitch and tone. You will be surprised to find out how much this helps!

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