A good book blurb can increase your sales. But writing one can be a challenge. Here are five common mistakes authors make when writing sales copy like a blurb.
A good book description is not a summary or synopsis of your book. If you want to capture a reader’s attention and compose a dynamic blurb that sells, there are a few concepts to keep in mind.
Look at a book description as sales copy. Write it using your head, not your heart.
At Best Page Forward, we find that authors who struggle to craft their own blurbs typically make a few blunders. Here are five common mistakes and some suggestions to help you avoid the pitfalls.
What NOT to do in your book description:
- Stuff too many details, backstory, world building, or subplots into the blurb
- Include too many characters
- Make the copy too long or too short
- Confuse the reader with vague plot points or unusual elements that only someone who has read the entire book could understand
- Fail to read the final version aloud
How to make your description shine:
If you’re ready to make your blurb better, here are tips to help you avoid the errors listed above.
1.Cut Out the Details
You know your story better than anyone. And every detail is important to the book, but every aspect of the plot is not needed when writing the description.
Instead, focus on the main character. What is his emotional state of mind and situation before his life is thrust into a new direction? i.e. the inciting incident.
What are the stakes, conflicts, or obstacles he faces along his journey? And what is the worst or best that can happen? The final line could be a question to pique the reader’s interest. Example: Can Detective Holmes sever the killer’s endless murdering spree?
2. Focus on the Right Characters
One to two characters should be all you need. Three at the max. Who is the main character? Whose story is it? Who has the strongest character arc through the plot?
A romance will have both the hero and heroine included in the blurb. You can describe the antagonist or a key secondary character without using their names. For example, “evil wizard” or “jealous ex-husband” gives a more interesting depiction than their proper names.
3. Size It “Just Right”
A good book description is usually around 150–300 words long. Two to three short paragraphs are all you need. Each paragraph only requires about three sentences.
Intrigue the reader, don’t overwhelm. Potential buyers have short attention spans, so keep it brief and make every word count. Take five words and tighten to three. Find a stronger word, or power word, to strengthen the prose.
A very short blurb may make perfect sense to someone who has read—or written—the book, but may be meaningless to a reader. So make sure you find the happy medium between too long and too short.
Tip: A nonfiction book may be longer because it includes the principal topic and how it will be presented, the author’s expertise, and a bullet point list of benefits.
4. Don’t Confuse Your Readers
Use concise, straightforward, and genre-specific verbiage to reel in a potential reader. Authors are afraid of giving away spoilers, and that’s understandable. But you can give enough specifics without giving away a spoiler or the entire plot.
Example: Jason entered the kingdom, then everything went wrong. Instead, you can mention that an enemy warrior or ruffian attacked or kidnapped Jason. This way someone who hasn’t read your book yet has a better idea of what you’re talking about.
5. Read It Aloud
You’ve inscribed an interesting blurb you’re convinced will translate to many sales. Your job isn’t over. The last step is to read it out loud.
As you listen, ask yourself:
- Does it make sense?
- Are there any awkward or clunky sentences?
- Can you tighten or use more powerful words?
- Edit and revise, then have someone read it and make sure it makes sense.
Then edit and revise, and have someone read it and make sure it makes sense.
Avoid the Common Mistakes Authors Make When Writing Blurbs
Writing book descriptions is difficult and takes time and practice. Combining a logical approach along with your creative skills can help your blurbs gain readers’ attention and increase the sales you desire.
Stuck on your blurb? Let the experts at Best Page Forward craft the perfect one for you! Learn more about our services here.