You may not realize it, but the book blurb is almost more important than the book itself! Sounds a bit counterintuitive, but the fact is that your book blurb is the only thing that is going to hook people on the contents of your book.
Take your very favorite book of all times–mine’s Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch–and think about what made you read it. It was often a good review from someone else, but before you picked up the book, you probably read the book blurb.
Let’s take Lies of Locke Lamora and write a crappy blurb for it:
Locke Lamora is a thief in the city of Camorr, together with Jean Tannen and his friends. They pull off capers and heists, but then one day they find themselves in deeper than they expected. Things are about to go badly for this roguish criminal and his pals!
Would you read that book! I certainly wouldn’t!
Now, let’s take a look at what the book blurb actually says:
An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.
Much better, right?
Your book blurb MUST be effective, for it’s the only thing that will entice people to buy it. It’s even more important if you self-publish! You’re already at a disadvantage of self-publishing your book, so you need to use those five to ten sentences to really draw people into your story and make them sit up and take notice.
Sad to say, it’s much harder to write a good book blurb than you think! I’m struggling to write a good one for my latest book: The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer.
Here are some tips I’ve found to help me as I write my blurb:
- Try to make your blurb match the great blurbs you’ve read
- Focus on your character, and what the “stakes” are for him/her
- Tell your reader Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How
- Condense the blurb, but make sure there’s enough information to hook the reader
- Match the blurb style to the book style
Note: These tips are not my own, but they come from:
I’ll be posting the blurb to my book in the next few weeks, so let’s see if I can take these blurb-writing tips to heart!