Blurbs, what can we learn?

  • Thread starter Thread starter Deleted member 604
  • Start date Start date
Status
Not open for further replies.
D

Deleted member 604

Guest
"Many authors write the book blurb as an afterthought. But it is the single most important piece of writing you will do on your book"

"Many self-published authors try to squeeze too much into their blurbs. This can actually deter potential buyers from reading the blurb."

- Both quotes from the Author Society.


What is a Book Blurb?

Apart from it giving us writers more headaches than the top ten causes of headaches in the google search engine, seriously go and see for yourself, LOL :D
Some say a Book Blurb is now expected in our query letters to Agents and for published authors it's just as important as the story and the book cover itself.

Truth be told a Book Blurb is the second thing readers look at when they consider buying your book. Plain and simple. They look at the cover first, then turn it over and look at the back. Lo and behold the Blurb they will glance at it and give it a quick skim. Then, they will read a few lines of your first page and decide to buy it or not. Or is that just me?

How to write a blurb that sells?

  1. Look at samples = Ones similar to your story/genre or the current bestseller, perhaps?
  2. Figure out your target audience = To help cater your words to suit your specific readers.
  3. Introduce your main characters = In the most interesting way possible.
  4. Use a formula = (a) Situation (b) Introduce a problem (c) Promise a twist (d) end with a sentence that highlights the mood of the story as a whole.
  5. Treat your first sentence like a pick-up line = It that case, it needs to be a good one then.
  6. Apparently using 'Hyperbole' can be a good thing = To spark curiosity and whatever else.
  7. Keep it short = 100 - 150 words is the norm and is actually correct.
  8. Stay true to your voice = We have to find that one ourselves, unfortunately.
  9. Use fresh eyes - So don't read it yourself or ask your family or friends, seriously don't do it.
  10. Rewrite it many times = So, don't blah and wing it, don't be hasty and don't treat it as an afterthought, take your time with it.

That's quite a lot to take in, hang on a minute I feel a Headache coming on. OUCH!!!

Let's simplify it...

A. Situation = Brief circumstance of your story.
B. Problem = What raises the stakes.
C. Hopeful possibility = How your Main Character will overcome the crisis.
D. Mood = How your readers will feel after they have read your story.
E. Everything else can wait.
F. Remember to make it short, use words suited for your desired readers and yes, open your blurb with a striking one liner.
G. And, Don't give too much away.


(I have untangled it the best I can from what I've found on the web, read in many books and remembering what I learnt studying)

Next, let's start with some examples, shall we?

Here are three examples, take your pick or feel free to use your own.

The Overlook Hotel claimed the most beautiful physical setting of any resort in the world; but Jack Torrance, the new winter caretaker, with his wife, Wendy and their five-year-old son Danny, saw much more than its splendor.

Jack saw the Overlook as an opportunity, a desperate way back from failure and despair; Wendy saw this lonely sanctuary as a frail chance to preserve their family; and Danny?....Danny, who was blessed or cursed with a shining, precognitive gift, saw visions hideously beyond the comprehension of a small boy. He sensed the evil coiled within the Overlook's one hundred and ten empty rooms; an evil that was waiting just for them.

The Shining, by Stephen King


Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned form the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories...until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.

The Notebook, by Nicholas sparks


About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn't know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer


I want to know what stuck out at you? That made you want to read it? What persuaded you to buy it in the end? Put yourself in the readers shoes.


And if any of you want to add anything else, please do, we shall solve a Book Blurb the best we can between us, fingers crossed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
The one that appealed to me the most and you may not like this, so apologies Peeps.

Is Twilight and here's why;

I have dyslexia not many people know that. So for me it was easy to read, the sentences are direct, spaced-out, short and snappy.
And I'm a fan and I write Fantasy anyway. But if you remember when it first came out. There was quite a big hype about it. It was new and modern, and all considered vampire stories had been around a while. Even though I would say Twilight is basically a modern, 20th century version of Bram Stroke Dracula, another book I love and I needn't explain why, Count Dracula = Edward in some sense,Wilhelmina = Bella in some way and Jonathan = Jacob. Maybe? Who knows?

Anyway, back to the blurb, what got me was the vampire bit obviously but how Meyer worded the last part:

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn't know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.


It was striking the concept that she was the lamb and he was the lion. Meyer also signifies that in the blurb, that Edward has the power to kill her at any moment if he wants to, she's clearly human and how you as the reader subconsciously know the protagonist is a she. And the fact the protagonist knows that but still loves Edward regardless. And Meyer's choice of words are written in such a candid, simple way on purpose hitting us right where it hurts the most, in our hearts along with the obvious use of buzz words; unconditionally, irrevocably and love. But saying that, it was deliberately aimed at female readers and hopeless romantics like me :)

(PS - For the ladies, I was team Jacob BTW ;))
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Twilight's concept was the most compelling for me. I like how you've zeroed in on the heart of the conflict:

It was striking the concept that she was the lamb and he was the lion.

I can see the similarities to Dracula too, without the Lucy component.

A couple of years ago, I had a carer photograph a few blurbs, so I'm limited to those choices (for physical books):

The price of glory

From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims. As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky - a comet the colour of blood and flame - five factions struggle for control of a divided land. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory is measured in blood.


If you don't know what series this is from, then it's obviously not you're genre (which is fine).

I picked up this book at least 2 decades ago, when I was purely a reader and before it became popular. Something with this blurb made me want to read it. Was it the epic scale? Was it the tension that jumped out to me? Was it my curiosity in seeing a price of blood? Was it the inner psychopath in me craving the anticipated horrors that would make me squirm? Can't say, all I know is, it didn't disappoint.
 
From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims. As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky - a comet the colour of blood and flame - five factions struggle for control of a divided land. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory is measured in blood.
I Do :)
It's A Clash Of Kings By George R.R. Martin - The second in the GOT series.
Disappoint? I bet it didn't and look how successful it has become since.
And I think all the things you mentioned is probably all the reasons why you wanted to read it. It had me at ancient castles, forbidden shores. The fight for a chair of power and the forecast of doom and the coming of a comet across the skies. Martin has a great way with words, more so with buzz words but only uses enough, that makes us create the rest, fill the blanks so to speak. And that reflects his true voice in the book/story. As Martin is a very descriptive and pictorial writer but I don't know how he does it, but he does it, in some of the most simplist forms and ways.
And not forgetting the tag line at the end 'The price of glory is measured in blood." - That instantly leaves a lasting impression. Does it not? Genius.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top