The Blurb, life or death in 50 words or less.

I was once a book reviewer as well as an author. Many sources for review books post a thumbnail of the cover and perhaps a sentence or two. That sentence or two is what is going to convince me to click on more information to read the rest of the available information.

So you have a great novel. You’ve edited and polished until you and your beta readers are happy with the words. You have a great cover. Now you need a blurb that will convince me, the reader, to investigate further.

I like reading indie books. That’s the cool way to say self-published. The review site I used to write for accepts indie books. It’s a fairly significant investment. About $400 to get posted and in the emails. That’s two hundred books at $2 profit.

Unfortunately a lot of the books have blurbs like this;

Wolf is a warrior and he goes to where Rolph’s gang hides out in a post-apocalyptic city. Will Wolf defeat the alien monster that is killing Rolph’s warriors? What will happen when Wolf’s leader wants him back? Will he find love?

The answers are yes, yes and yes. You basically given me the whole story in brief. Because you ask questions, I think of the answers. When I know the answers, I don’t want to read the book.

This might be a slightly better blurb for the same story (one of mine, so you don’t think I’m picking unfairly on someone)

Rolph has a problem. Some thing is breaking into his hall and killing his men. He doesn’t trust this Wolf who has shown up looking for trouble, but it the Thing gets Wolf, it will be one less of his own men who die. Yet if Wolf destroys the Thing, that will be just another kind of trouble.

This is by no means a great blurb, but what it tries to do is create questions that reader wants to answer. Now that I have the reader asking their own questions, I have the chance that they will click through to find the answers that they need.

Another common mistake with blurbs is to try to fit too much of the story into the blurb. Something like this:

The Wolf is a warrior whose been kicked out of his gang for daring to love the leader’s girl. Now he is going to fight an alien menace and maybe find love. This is the beginning of a retelling of Beowulf, but you don’t need to read that to enjoy this story.

The third most popular mistake is to talk about your story instead of hooking the reader into it.

This is a kickass retelling of Beowulf in a post-apocalyptic world. My mom hated it so it must be awesome!

The blurb is your first, and maybe your last chance, to hook your reader. Use it well.

For more advice on how to write that killer blurb go to Michael Sullivan’s Tips.

I will also accept a limited number of clients per month to help write their blurb/back matter. The fee will be $25 USD for one hour of consultation. By the time we’re done you will be much more comfortable writing that all important blurb.

Send me an email to request a slot. In the email, include your present blurb. If I have space to help, I will ask for the first chapter and synopsis of your book. In addition sum up your book in ten words. This is your elevator pitch, it isn’t so much about your book as about why I should want to read it.

My email is available on the right side panel.