Blurbs – Tips on writing them

Lana PecherczykAll, Self Publishing, Writing3 Comments

For a beginner writer, it’s hard. In fact, I’m supposing it’s difficult for most writers.

So what is a blurb?

A blurb is the paragraph (or two) that goes on the back of your book, or in terms of ebooks, the description area of your sales page. The purpose of a blurb, unlike a synopsis is to give a teaser and entice your reader, not to give away any spoilers. In other words, it’s a sales pitch.

I know why they’re called blurbs – it’s because trying to write one makes you feel bl-errr-b..Say it like you are trying not to vomit

How to write your blurb

If you’ve written your outline, you should find writing your blurb fairly easy. If you’re a bit of a ‘pantser’ like me, then a blurb is your worst nightmare. I know my book is enjoyable to read but God help me if I need to make sense of it all. I’ve had some difficulty, but I’m not giving up. Below are a few tips to help you along your way.

  1. Research best selling books in your genre. Write down patterns. For example, do they all start with a character or setting summary?
  2. What tone of voice do you write with in your novel? Do you need to use humour in your blurb to match the tone in your book?
  3. Cut out the subplots. Stick with the drama and emotional stakes.
  4. Cliches are good. Say whaaat? Yep, that’s what I think anyway – please don’t shoot me. When you can use only a few words to conjure up the right images, cliches can capitalise on the readers pre-existing imagery cache. Mix up your cliche a bit, and you might get a surprising result. Don’t over do it, one is fine.
  5. If you write fantasy, or another genre where world building is important, use that as your hook. What comes to mind are movie trailers that start with ‘In a world where…. One man stands…. Another will come to …..’ (You have to do the voice when reading please). Yes it’s clichéd, but it can work. Use the Blake Snyder method to help you here if you are stuck and want a movie type teaser.
  6. End with a teaser – just like you do a chapter break. You want to get the reader wanting more.

Check out these posts from other blogs on writing blurbs.

Here is what I’ve ended up with, but I still think it’s too long. I just can’t kill my darlings!

Three years ago witches were thought to have crawled back to whatever hell they came from and now people are slowly rebuilding their lives, a few hundred thousand woman short. But the threat has never left, only remained hidden.

For most of her life, 24 year old Roo has concealed her power for fear of being purged in flames like the thousands before her. A town pariah, she’s had most rights removed and a probationary collar slapped on her neck because she told her ex boyfriend to take a long walk off a short cliff – and he did. Never one to let gossip rule her life, she has scored a top job, bought a motorbike with her own money and made some friends – all three of them.

A day out from her sentence lifting and her liberation beginning, a deranged witch possesses the body of her only sister and attacks her publicly, revealing not only the existence of the evil spirit race but that Roo has the same abilities as the deadly enemy.  Stuck between a pyre and a hard place called jail, Roo enlists the help of a mysterious witch hunter, his brother and a charismatic god to help save her sister and learn the truth about her unique origins.

An Inquisitor hell bent on revenge, an evil witch obsessed with becoming her real life sister and a game played amongst the gods to the death. There is more than one danger in Roo’s life and she must learn to master the neglected abilities she knows little of in order to save her loved ones and herself from death.

What do you think? Is it still too long?


3 Comments on “Blurbs – Tips on writing them”

  1. ‘Stuck between a pyre and a hard place called jail, Roo enlists the help of a mysterious witch hunter, his brother and a charismatic god to help save her sister and learn the truth about her unique origins.’
    This was the bit the stood out for me. I think the rest is a little too long.
    I’m also having trouble writing blurbs. How about trading blurbs and revisions? 😀 Leenna

    1. Thanks for the input. I’m glad for your opinion. It’s funny, most of it is coming out. I’ve had an editor look at it, and I suppose what you think is important as the author, might not actually be. I’m afraid it’s too late for me to do my blurb again, but if you like, send me yours and I’ll see if I can do something. I might miss something – not knowing the entire book but I can give it a crack!

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