In all honesty, writing a blurb for the back cover should be the fun part of creating a novel. We get to be splashy, to the point, mysterious and brief. But often, writing a blurb—a summary for a book—becomes an anxious time for a writer. How can they dramatically and effectively tell their story (without giving away the ending) in two hundred words?
Don’t sweat it. You can do it. And there’s a formula to help you.
First, check out Marilynn Byerly’s blog to gain insight to the formula used in various genres.
I used it create the blurb for Shadows in the Stone. I’m using it again to create blurbs for two short stories I’m about to publish. After writing a draft for a blurb, I usually send it around to a few family members and friends; I might even blog about it to see what readers think. I apply the suggestions and hopefully come up with something that sparkles.
So what do you think about the blurb for Dancing in the Shine? You don’t need to read the story to know if it works or not? It works if it convinces you it’s a story you might want to read.
Joan’s boyfriend Frank wants them to conceive a beautiful daughter he can cherish, and Joan is terrified. Will she use the information discovered at the public archives to escape a life of torture and pain? Or will she continue to be a pawn in Frank and his sister’s twisted world? (51 words)
Blurbs should reflect the length of the story it’s designed for. In other words, if the blurb is for a full-length novel, it should be around 200 words. You certainly wouldn’t want to write less than 100 words, and more than 300 words is pushing the attention span of shoppers who don’t have a lot of time to spend reading blurbs.
Remember, the blurb has to fit on the cover of a paperback in a text even those who are in denial about needing glasses can read, along with the bar code, the price, publisher’s logo and maybe a picture of you.
Laurence Aiden Morris has waited more than six months for this day. Still, he’s unsure if he’s ready to make the journey to Heaven…or Hell. It feels like something is missing, but he can’t imagine what it is. While he bides his time, he reads the obituaries, hoping that by connecting with travelling souls, he’ll find what he seeks. (59 words)
After creating a blurb draft, check out the links below to fine tune it and add some pizzazz.
1) Writers in the Storm Blog: Sharla Rae writes Gotcha Blurbs: Easy and Fun to Write
2) The Book Marketing Maven: How to Write a Back Blurb for Your Book
3) Scribbling on the Computer: Kathrine Roid writes How to Write a Back Cover Blurb for Your Novel
A back cover blurb should trigger feelings for the main character. If a reader can sympathise with the character, you’ve won half the battle. If the blurb contains a glimpse of the conflict and a wee bit of mystery, you may make the reader care about what happens to the character.
Then…just then…they may decide to read the book.
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Reviews for Shadows in the Stone can be found at Goodreads.
Reviews of Mutated Blood Lines can be found at Goodreads (NOTE: This version still uses my old pen name, Meyrick).