How to Write An Effective Book Blurb

Your book's blurb could be the difference between your book making lots of sales, or none at all. It's the second thing the reader looks at when buying a book, the first being the front cover, and its purpose is to sell your book to readers by giving them a 'look' at what's inside. Therefore, you need to have a well-written blurb that will entice readers to buy your book. In this article, we're going to take a look at some tips and examples.

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What is a blurb and why is it important?

As mentioned in the intro above, a blurb is the second thing a reader looks at when deciding whether to buy your book. A blurb is a short piece of content on the back cover of your book, and in retailer descriptions, that gives readers insight into what your book is about (without spoiling anything - it's not a synopsis) and entices them to buy. Imagine it like a 30-second advert for your book, what points do you need to get across? When writing your book blurb, try to think about why your reader should buy your book. What are its main USP's? (Unique Selling Proposition)


Four qualities a book blurb should have

Brief

Let me say it again, your book blurb is not a synopsis or an outline. It shouldn't tell the reader exactly what happens in your book but rather hint towards the character's main goal and conflicts. Your book blurb should be between 100 - 200 words, with 150 being the sweet spot.


General Knowledge

You should think about your main USP's, one of these being what genre your book is. You shouldn't tell the reader 'This is a YA Fantasy book' but rather show, not tell. Is your book a magical fantasy? Make sure to include mention of magic in your blurb. Is it a romance? Make sure to mention how your main character has a lusting crush on a person at school.


Persuasive

The purpose of your book blurb is to sell, so your blurb has to be persuasive to achieve this. To be persuasive, your book blurb should have an impact on the reader that makes it irresistible for them not to read your book. Try to answer the questions, what makes your book interesting and why would someone want to read it?


The Hook

Your blurb should highlight the selling point (the hook) of your book. Not only should you answer what makes your book interesting, but you should also answer what makes your book unique? Every word in your blurb has the power to create a lasting impression on the mind of the reader and so it should show the reader why your book is different to the millions of other books, probably in the same genre, that they can buy.


How to write an effective book blurb

Introduce your main character(s)

Your blurb needs to tell the reader whose journey they will be following along with or experiencing. Main characters are so important because readers buy into them, so your blurb should adequately show your character's main conflicts that make the story what it is. You shouldn't tell the reader exactly who your character is, what their background is, what their favourite colour is, etc, but simply provide just enough detail where they can get to know your character and why they're in this story.


Set the stage for your main conflict

Without a physical conflict, you don't have a story. That's not to say that you shouldn't reflect on your character's inner conflicts but you shouldn't include those in the blurb. Your blurb should focus on setting the stage for your main conflict and focus on showing the readers this conflict.


Establish the stakes

I've talked about conflict and stakes before and why stakes are what entertain your reader and ultimately bring the drama. To showcase your story's full potential and help the answer of why the reader should buy your book, the reader must be aware that something hangs in the balance for your character.


Show the reader why they would enjoy this book

When browsing their next read, most readers have an idea as to what they want to read next, especially in terms of genre. A good blurb won't try to sell to everybody but rather it will convince the readers who are looking for your type of book to buy. To do this, you should include elements that readers are already looking for in your blurb. For example, is your main USP that it's a classic vampire vs werewolves book? Make sure to add that in. Next showcase why they would enjoy their book, what's the unique selling proposition? What's the twist that makes your book unique?


Examples of effective book blurbs

Key - Colour Guide

Main character

Main conflict

The stakes

Why would the reader enjoy this book?


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo:

Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold - a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.


Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country's magical military elite - and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.


As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.


Welcome to Ravka...a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas:

Feyre is a huntress. And when she sees a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she kills the predator and takes its prey to feed herself and her family.


But the wolf was not what it seemed, and Feyre cannot predict the high price she will have to pay for its death...


Dragged away from her family for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding even more than his piercing green eyes suggest.


As Feyre's feelings for Tamlin turn from hostility to passion, she learns that the faerie lands are a far more dangerous place than she realized. And Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.


Blood of Elvers: Witcher 1 by Andrzej Sapkowski:

For more than a hundred years, humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over and now the races are fighting once again - killing their own kind and each other.


Into this tumultuous time is born a child of prophecy, Ciri, surviving heiress of a bloody revolution, whose strange abilities can change the world - for good, or for evil...


As the threat of war hangs over the land, Geralt the Witcher must protect Ciri from those who are hunting the child for her destructive power.


But this time, Geralt may have met his match.


How to optimise your blurb for Amazon and retailer sites

Please note: This is how to optimise your blurb specifically when self-publishing and changing the blurb on these systems, such as when writing your description on Ingramspark. Some of these optimisations should not be included in the blurb that goes on the back of your book.


Perfect your first line

On some retailer sites, such as Amazon, it hides the description until a user clicks 'read more'. This means that only the first line of your blurb is visible so make sure you're making this first line captivating and enticing. A lot of authors also like to put their first line in bold that tells the readers something about their book, whether it's the genre, that it's won awards, received credits from The Times and other authors or similar.


Use keywords correctly

By this, I mean that you need to ensure that you're using correct keywords in your blurb that show your reader what kind of novel it is. For example, if your book is a thriller or horror book, you could use words such as murder, assassin, blood, or similar that will let the reader know exactly what they're in for. You should also only use a handle of keywords and only use them if they make an impact in your blurb. Don't just add them in randomly or try to fit in as many keywords as possible.


Include quotes from other authors or from reviewers

Word of mouth is one of the most trusted marketing tactics because people believe in other people when they don't feel like they're being 'sold' something but rather given an honest account/review instead. By including five star reviews in your book, you're showing the reader that others think your book is great too, which adds to why they should buy your book and persuades them to do so.