Originally published on angelascottauthor.com
by Angela Scott
Here you are. You’ve just completed your mega manuscript and now it’s all come down to this: the writing of the book blurb.
This is perhaps the BIGGEST selling factor your book will ever have. It’s the part that lets readers know what your mega manuscript is all about. It’s the description, for goodness sake. How hard can it be to write it?
Oh, it’s hard. It’s real hard a’right (There’s a Steve Carell joke to made here, but I won’t stoop that low). Anyhoo…
A good cover is nice. Great editing is awesome. But if you can’t even explain what your book is about in 200 words or less, you’re pretty much screwed. Yep, 200 words. Sometimes even less than that (depending on the guidelines of certain online retailers). You have to take that 100K novel and condense it into a brief (and I mean brief) overview of what your story is about. And you have to make it compelling, hooking the reader and getting them interested without divulging everything. You have to give them a taste, entice them into reading more. Good freakin’ luck, right?
Writing the book description is a crucial element of selling your book and yet it is the most difficult. Ask any author and they’ll tell you about all their hair pulling, their banging of heads on desks, and binge eating (or drinking, whatever the case may be). It’s a frustrating process for sure.
So I’m going to give you a couple of basic tips to get you started. Here we go:
1) This is a biggie. Go look at book blurbs on the backs of books. Simple, yet effective. Go to your local book store or library and pick books off the shelf, specifically in your genre. Look at examples and see which descriptions grab your attention. When I first started out, I did this exact thing. I was at a thrift store, thumbing through the used books when I happened upon the novel DEARLY DEVOTED DEXTER. Click that link and take a look at that book blurb. Seriously, it’s good. I bought the book, took it home, and it sits on my shelf as a reminder of what a book blurb should be.
2) Think of a movie promo. Movie promos are like less than a minute long. They have to grab the viewer’s attention and make them want to stand in line to see the new release. Did they tell you everything about the movie? Nope. Did they set the scene? Yep. Did they tell you who the main character or characters were? Yep. Did they tell you the outcome? Nope. You’ll have to watch the movie to find that out. Keep that in mind when writing your book blurb.
3) Remember the main arc or plot of your story. Remember the main character. Stick to that in your description. Forget subplots or minor chracters. You don’t have time or enough words to include all that.
4) Run it past your beta readers, your friends, your online author buddies, run it by someone, anyone! Ask them this question: Does reading this make you want to run out and buy this book? Why or why not?
5) And last, but not least, edit it! Oh my gosh! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a book or looked online at book descriptions to see misspellings and grammar errors. That’s the worst. Yikes! Make sure that thing is as polished as ever or you’ll be turning readers away left and right.
Good luck writing that book blurb. Believe me, I completely understand what you’re going through. I’m in the process of writing my 5th book blurb for my upcoming novel and the process doesn’t get any easier. Maybe it’s not supposed to 🙂
Leave a comment and let me know about your book blurb writing process. Pass on some tips and tricks of your own. Let’s help each other out, because boy, we can use all the help we can get.
I hear voices. Tiny fictional people sit on my shoulders and whisper their stories in my ear. Instead of medicating myself, I decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it into a book. I’m not crazy. I’m an author. For the most part, I write contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, I found myself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West—and loving it. My zombies don’t sparkle, and they definitely don’t cuddle. At least, I wouldn’t suggest it.
I live on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. I graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of my love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. I can’t spell, and grammar is my arch nemesis. But they gave me the degree, and there are no take backs.
As a child, I never sucked on a pacifier; I chewed on a pencil. I’ve been writing that long. It has only been the past few years that I’ve pursued it professionally, forged relationships with other like-minded individuals, and determined to make a career out of it.
You can subscribe and follow me on my website, where I blog obsessively about my writing process and post updates on my current works. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook, but be forewarned, I tweet and post more than a normal person.
Image courtesy of doctor-a