Wednesday, February 13, 2013

5 Tips For Writing the Dreaded Blurb #Writetip #blurb

I'm not a blurb goddess by any means, but I want to share what I've learned on the topic so far.

For Eye of the Soul which releases in Oct of this year, the publisher and I went back and forth 7 or 8 times with blurb tweaks before we were both happy with it. I would love to post it here for the world to see, but alas, my contract keeps me from doing so until March 18th when the biggie cover & blurb reveal takes place.

But enough about me. Let's dive in.


We'll start with the basics - what IS a blurb? 

It's a short description / summary of a book used for promotional purposes. Short? Yes. But how the heck can I pack what happens in my 80,000 word novel into less than 200 - 250 words???!?!?!?! 

Start out by just DOING. Write your summary. Be wordy, then grab that red pen. 

Be mindful of these 5 things as you're writing, slicing, & dicing.

1. Use a compelling (seductive) pitch to draw readers. It's a 'hook' like the one required within the first paragraph of a novel to nab attention. For example, let's look at the first line of Blue Moon, a paranormal romance by J.A. Belfield.

"Someone is watching the Holloway pack, and this time, the female isn’t the target."

Catchy. Raises questions. Makes you WANT to read the next line, doesn't it? 

2.  Plot. Give enough to set the stage, but don't bore. This is where you want to introduce the MC and the conflict they face, internal or external. Just make sure it's concise and spoiler free!

Here's an example from Sacrificial Oath, my short story in the Make Believe anthology.

"An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place."

3. Use YOUR unique voice. Your tone. 

4. Use riveting words. Ones that will draw on the reader's emotions and create images in their minds. Be sure they're specific to your book's genre, too. If you're writing a fantasy blurb for a D&D type story, I'd suggest leaving out wordings like 'belly butterflies' or 'the hot guy next door'. Here's an example from my favorite fantasy novel of 2013 (so far) A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr.

"In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone's search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom." 

Missives, hermit priest, coin, band of travelers, quest, kingdom. All fantasy related. Urgent, desperate, and forced to flee all bring images to mind of what might happen to Errol.

5. A cliff hanger ending. Ask a question or use a last line that will have the reader dying to know more. For example, check out the last lines of The Glass Man, an Urban Fantasy by Jocelyn Adams.

"With the Glass Man threatening everyone she loves, can Lila accept who she is in time to end his bloody reign? Or will she succumb to his dark power and become the vehicle of destruction for the human race?"

If you're still at a loss, head to the library or local book store and grab a few of your genre books from the shelves. What makes you want to read one over the other? Look for similarities in length, wording, tension, and the desire it instills within you.


What's your favorite or the worst part of blurb writing ? Any must-haves I missed? Tips?


  1. It's one of my least favorite, and even after writing three of them, I'm still not very good at it.
    Are you doing the big reveal next week solo or do you need help?

    1. I'm not very good at it either. :( I would LOVE if you'd help with the reveal! I'll try to nab your email to get in touch with you.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I have re-written my blurbs countless times. I like your ideas here; they are very helpful.
    If you haven't already, I think you should should publish this article on We have nearly 700 members and this type of article is exactly what we are looking for.
    So if you are interested, contact me or visit

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I'll check out the indiewritenet site.

  3. I find blurb-writing easy and fun -- did mine in less than a day for my collection. It is writing of the book that I'm struggling with.

    1. Oh, to have that problem!!! :)

      Thanks so much for swinging in & commenting.

  4. Excellent tips. I'm horrible at writing blurbs, or at least I think I am! It's tough getting the hook and raising the tension to make the reader want to open the book to start reading. Yet a well written blurb can absolutely sell you.

    1. It can make or break, just like a cover!

      Thanks for commenting.

  5. Great post, thanks for this! It seems like a hundred years ago my first book blurb wrote itself. Now onto the second title and I'm struggling. I think you've listed some reminders that might kickstart me back into it, though! :)

    1. So glad I could be of help, Liz! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Thanks for the tips! When I write my blurbs I usually read anything I can get my hands on with a promotional/marketing blurb on it--from books in my genre to the backs of DVDs that I love. It helps me get in the marketing/copyrighting mindset and pick out great descriptive words that both get my premise across to the reader and hopefully entice them to want to know more. I entered the 140-word blurb for my debut novel in a writing contest last fall and made the top 10 finalists based solely on the blurb! Now that the book is published, I have those exact 140 words printed on the back cover :)

    1. Getting into the mindset is a must for sure!

      Congrats on the writing contest & the newly published book.

      Thanks so much for stopping by & commenting.