Thursday, 24 October 2013



Your precious manuscript is going to become a book.
The characters you created and who have become so real are going out into the big, wide world.
You're feeling protective, proud, apprehensive and excited.

And then, at some point during the publishing process, you discover you need to write a blurb - a short summary of your book which will appear on the inside flap of a hardback jacket, or the back of a paperback. It's also used on online descriptions, posters, fliers & etc.

Creating a blurb is not an easy job. It is very difficult and very exasperating. You will probably write and re-write your blurb more times than you did your book. You'll write and delete, write and delete (or write and scribble out) until you're sick of it. Your head will buzz and, unless you are a saint, you will get quite cross. Or extremely cross.

Writing a blurb is one of the evil necessities of an author's life, and in my opinion ranks in the same category as going to the dentist's and cleaning the lavatory - necessary, but definitely not something you enjoy or look forward to.

But, I'm afraid, blurbs have to be written. So here are a few tips that have helped me, and links to sites which offer some excellent advice.

  • Always keep in mind that the blurb is there to whet the reader's appetite, and to make them want to read your book
  • Practice writing blurbs about some of the books you've read and know well
  • Don't try, or expect, to create the perfect blurb immediately. This is impossible. Start by writing down what comes to you, and then cut back and prune, correct and re-write, and then cut back and prune some more until it's blurb-size
  • Aim for a blurb of about 250 words. This seems to be the average. Some people advise 150, others 300 and someone even suggested 500 words.  Although this seems rather long to me, the blurb can depend on the size of the book, so if it's a huge tome, 500 words would perhaps be okay
  • Begin with a short, sharp 'tag' line.  Don't try to rush this bit - it's the worm on the end of the fishing line...
  • Write in the present tense, and in the third person
  • Use emotive words
  • Keep sentences short and to the point
  • Insert a question that it's clear the book will answer
  • Try to be objective - imagine you're writing the blurb for someone else's book
  • Try to cultivate a friendly feeling towards your blurb
  • Have a look at the following sites:
"How to Write an Effective Book Description" by Richard Ridley

Good Luck!  

No comments:

Post a Comment