You can’t cram everything into your book’s blurb. To help you make the most of the short space you have, here are four details to leave out of your book description.
So you’ve written an amazing novel. The characters are deeply drawn, the plot is complex and satisfying, and the action is absolutely page-turning. You’re going to cause a lot of people to lose sleep, because they just can’t put the book down.
Naturally, to make sure readers understand how good it is, how much they’ll enjoy it, you need to let them know how deep and rich the story is, right?
Unfortunately, here in the early part of the 21st Century, TL;DR is an actual thing. (It’s perhaps telling that, in our rushed society, “too long; didn’t read” is too long to say or write.) Bombard readers tons of characters and lots of detail, and they’ll click away to something shorter and simpler.
So how do you shape that meandering description into a tight piece of ad copy? You’ve got to boil it down to just the essential elements. And that means most of those amazing details you want to entice the reader with need to be saved for the book.
Here are four things you should cut from your blurb to make it as strong as possible.
#1: Character Names
You need to tell readers the name of your protagonist. No one else. The only exception to this is for books that have two main characters like romance. Otherwise, everyone who is not the MC is referred to only through their relation to the protagonist – his sister, her ex, their teacher, etc.
The reason for this is simple: The reader is not familiar with any of these people. So the more characters you ask them to remember, the more confused they’ll become. And the confused mind says, “No.”
#2: Names of Fictional Places
This is particularly hard for science fiction and fantasy writers. You want to make sure people know this is speculative fiction. Plus, you spent months, maybe years, developing this incredible universe. Readers must know about it.
Save it for the book. Unless your novel is set in Middle-Earth or on Tatooine, readers won’t recognize this fantastical locale. Save them the confusion and focus on your protagonist.
This rule also applies to fictional towns, such as that charming English hamlet you created for your cozy mystery series, and real places most people won’t have heard of. You can tell readers your book is set in Boston if it matters to the story. If it’s in Haverhill, leave the detail out of your book description.
I’m sure you’ve constructed an intricate page-turner, with multiple story threads that all come together seamlessly at the end. Let the reader discover those delights inside the book, not in the blurb.
The human mind can only keep two or three new ideas straight at a time, and three is often a stretch. Focus solely on the main plot as it affects your MC and keep the complications to a minimum.
Did you write an epic saga with an ensemble cast, where each of four or five characters has their own separate arc? Pick one and leave the rest in the book. You don’t have room for everyone.
#4: Unnecessary Details
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not always obvious what shouldn’t be there. We don’t need to know your protagonist was taking the A-train into the city for a job interview when her powers suddenly manifested in your urban fantasy.
The unique way he was bullied in each class on his first day at a new school does not matter for your YA coming-of-age tale. We just need to know the most salient things. Did her powers manifest because she was attacked by demons? Did he end the day, convinced the only solution was to go back to his old school?
Only the details that are really relevant should be used. Leave all other details out of your book description.
Writing a tight piece of ad copy that sells your book requires leaving a lot on the cutting-room floor. If you try to stuff in all the wonderful things your novel has to offer, you’ll invoke the TL;DR response from readers.
Instead, keep it short and punchy, and browsers will be much more apt to become buyers.
Once you’ve nailed your book’s blurb, sell even more copies by harnessing the power of Amazon Ads. To help you with that, grab your free copy of our Top 10 Amazon Advertising tips!