Your blurb matters. Learn why these few snippets of text can make or break your sales as an author. Dive deeper in the power of blurbs.
A lot of authors hate writing blurbs. It feels impossible to sum up their epic tale that has taken an entire novel to tell, in just a few hundred words. And with the pressure and excitement of launching a book, the process of blurb writing becomes more of an afterthought.
But this is a mistake, because blurbs are the key to conversion.
Covers are important and reviews are definitely helpful, but nothing allows you to showcase your story like a blurb. Think about it: readers are clicking on your book because they’re interested in your genre-specific cover and want to know if this story is right for them. But if they make it to your sales page and find a few throwaway lines or a convoluted explanation of your magical system, you’ve missed a crucial opportunity to connect.
We read stories because they transport us to distant galaxies, heart-pounding shoot-outs, and deep into the minds of others. We want our hearts to swell when the couple finally has their first kiss. And I bet your book is filled with these moments, but nobody is going to know unless you write a blurb that is its own experience.
I’m glad you asked. The answer is character, emotion, and stakes. These three are key to unlocking the power of blurbs.
By crafting your blurb around your protagonist, you allow your reader to form a bond before they even turn the first page. Humans naturally connect to the struggles of other humans or humanoid aliens. We can’t help but root for the underdog or cheer for a second chance at love.
So, by focusing on your character’s journey in your blurb, you give the reader a glimpse into why they’d want to spend time with this person for 50,000+ words. You get them invested and wanting to know if the person they’re starting to understand will make it through what they’re up against.
It’s not enough to write a laundry list of what your character does in your story. You have to make the potential reader feel it. By writing the blurb from inside the mind of your protagonist, you strengthen the bond between them and your reader.
So, leverage the plot as a device to reveal your character’s emotion. Keep every sentence focused on their internal journey through the external adventure. Plots and magical worlds can be utterly foreign and unrelatable to a new reader—maybe even confusing if delivered with the firehose method. But emotion is something we all understand and can connect with easily.
Blurbs should leave a reader desperate to know the fate of your protagonist and their world. Every line should lead them breathless to the next. Unlike in a novel, there isn’t the space for extraneous words, or details, or characters. It’s do or die.
The best way to hook a reader and keep them on the line is to escalate stakes. Keep building up conflict and complications until everything is such an utter mess that it looks like your protagonist won’t live to see another day.
Then, leave them with the ultimate cliffhanger. In most stories, that’s life or death. In romance, it’s whether the leading couple will get together. And in slower-paced literary fiction, it’s whether your protagonist will learn the lessons they need to learn and reach enlightenment. High stakes will get your potential reader’s heart beating and clicking that buy button.
Crafting these 200–300 words takes time and finesse. But it’s crucial to really connect with readers and turn browsers into buyers. And that’s the power of blurbs.