Tip #81: Taking the fear out of writing book blurbs!
Today’s post is about a topic that can make even the most talented author cringe … writing blurbs.
It’s important to understand that blurbs and synopses are not the same, but they are similar.
Here are descriptions of blurbs and synopses, broken down in simple terms:
Blurb: a brief, compelling summary of your book which makes readers want to read more. It doesn’t include spoilers or the ending. It introduces the main character(s), and describes the main conflict/crisis. This usually appears on the back of a published book to draw readers in.
Synopsis: a summary of the book which includes the main character(s), the major crisis/conflict, AND a resolution to the problem. It does reveal spoilers and the ending. This is usually a piece of writing that agents or publishers will ask for before considering representing an author. They need to know how the story will unfold and end to ensure the author will be able to provide a salable story readers will enjoy … and finish reading.
***Synopses apply to manuscripts whereas blurbs involve published books.
Here are few tips for writing blurbs. I will cover synopses in more detail in future posts.
- Blurbs are usually written in present tense and introduce at least the main character(s).
- Blurbs are typically written in 3rd person POV.
- Blurbs should be brief but detailed enough to intrigue the reader, making the reader want more.
- Dialogue is not usually included in a blurb but can be if it reveals something important or exciting about the story. (Ex: It begins with an important quote by a pivotal character, even if the character doesn’t speak anywhere else in the book. Such as a mother who died in a character’s young life, and whose last words are the motto by which the character lives his/her life. Or it could include a crucial, short conversation between two characters that sets the mood for the story.
- Blurbs should present a crisis or a problem to solve.
- Blurbs usually end in a thought-provoking question to which readers will have an answer by the end of the book.
- Blurbs should be brief–no longer than a few paragraphs. An author doesn’t want to give away too much of the story, and the reader doesn’t want to be bogged down with too many details. That’s what the book is for.
- Blurbs should set the tone and mood, revealing the theme and genre for the story: intriguing/suspenseful for mystery; romantic/dramatic for romance; terrifying/unsettling for horror; and so forth for each genre.
I’ve just offered eight tips on writing blurbs. Many authors shy away from this task, and some don’t take the time necessary to make their blurbs the best they can be. But it’s important to devote special attention to your book’s blurb, as it’s likely the first thing readers will learn about your story beyond viewing the cover.
I personally enjoy writing blurbs because I’m good at short writing pieces rather than full-length ones, hence why I write novellas. Here is the blurb for my second book “Unsevered.”
Do you all have tips to share on writing compelling blurbs? Do you embrace this task or avoid it as much as possible? Please comment below!
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