Ready to sell more books? These tips can help you with the blurb writing process.
If you’re like many writers, you put a lot of work into creating your characters. They have a background, some of which may never even make it into the story. But you recognize that without that level of commitment, the heroine of your story will come out flat and won’t find a place in the hearts of your readers. So, by the time thousands of words have flowed from your mind into the manuscript, the entire cast of your tale has become family.
Which makes writing the blurb for your novel that much more difficult.
How are you supposed to distill hundreds of hours of writing into 250–300 words? How can you possibly do your characters justice?
You Can’t Include It All When Blurb Writing
The fact of the matter is…you don’t. If you provide a complete summary of the story in the blurb—going into deep detail concerning the origin of the hero, their friends, family, and their dog—then your potential fan is more likely to give up before they’ve even started. It’s too much information at once. It’s the dreaded info dump. You don’t want to put that out as your resume.
In this case, less is more.
By tantalizing your readers, you make them eager to latch onto your novel to discover what happens. You must make them want to know more about the characters, not have all the answers on the Amazon sales page. But how do you do that?
These tips and example can help you craft a compelling blurb.
1. Blurb Writing Must Be Planned
The first thing to realize is, the blurb isn’t just something you dash off at the last minute. Plan it. Write down notes. Create a draft. Edit that draft. And edit again. Aside from your cover, this is a person’s first introduction to your world. Make it count. And to do that, you’re going to make them need to know more about your PoV character.
Oftentimes, it seems logical to make a direct introduction. Nothing catchy. Nothing mysterious. Something like: Brent Hayes is a waste disposal agent on the space station Arturas in the galaxy the Universal League calls the Cyclops’ Eye.
Ouch. No one is going to care about Brent. They have no idea what the Universal League is, where the Cyclops’ Eye is, or why it’s significant. Odds are, they’re going to pass and go in search of something more dynamic. Let’s try something vaguer, and therefore more alluring.
An alien menace. A research station cut off from help. If he can’t go from zero to hero, the vacuum of space will be his grave.
This is our hook to introduce the genre and the danger, and give a tiny glimpse into our main character. Notice, we don’t have his name or his occupation. All mention of the political body and the obscure galaxy is gone.
2. Blurb Writing Should Focus on the Emotional State
But we do know we have an unlikely hero with some nasty stakes. Now we can move on to the next paragraph where we officially introduce the PoV character but focus more on his emotional state.
Brent Hayes always dreamed of traveling beyond the Milky Way. But his ambitions didn’t include scrubbing toilets and mopping up barf on a derelict science lab orbiting a dead planet. But when he stumbles across an enemy probe lurking in his garbage scow, only some quick thinking and a trash compactor save his hide.
In three short sentences, we’ve given an enticing peek into the story. We have now introduced Brent and established that achieving his lifelong goal hasn’t really turned out the way he hoped. And then we kick open the door and let the bad guys in, along with a splash of humor. Brent is wholly unprepared to handle an alien invasion, but we’ve given some indication that he has what it takes to grow into something more.
3. Add a Tiny Bit More Information and End Your Blurb with a Cliffhanger
The next paragraph will expand on this. Again, three short sentences will give a bit more information about Brent’s mental state and add in some increasing dangers for him to face. We don’t want to give away the whole story. We just dip our toes into the second act and then close with a cliffhanger, so the person reading along can’t wait to dive in and consume the full story.
As you can see, from the little bit of information we’ve provided, most of Brent’s world is still a mystery. The key is to provide just enough details in an entertaining manner that folks immediately have empathy for our lead and want to join in on his or her adventures. So start brainstorming about what is most important to your main character and what tiny fragments of goodness will lure your future fans into picking up that first book.
A great blurb can leave readers eager to read your book. Once you have it perfected, you’ll want to drive traffic to your shiny new blurb with Amazon Ads. Click here to get our Top 10 Amazon Advertising tips!