The Do's and Don’ts of Writing a Blurb for Your Novel | Blurb Blog

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Blurb for Your Novel
09 Oct 2014

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Blurb for Your Novel

When writing a novel, there are few selling tools as important as writing a solidly written blurb. Sure, the cover design creates intrigue, but, if you have caught a potential reader’s attention, the blurb is what will sell your book—and convert readers. A “blurb” can refer to both a “description blurb” that you write for the back cover of your book and a “review blurb.” For the purposes of this post, we’ll be focusing on the former, and how you, the writer, can craft the best possible blurb.

Do’s

  • Reference the genre and central theme
  • Create intrigue around the main conflict
  • Dive right in and introduce your protagonist
  • Keep it short and punchy
  • Reference your book-writing or professional status, if it relates to your book.

Don’ts

  • Give away any spoilers, no matter how tempted you are
  • Give a summary of the first chapter
  • Open with “In a world,” or any other overused phrase
  • Give everything away
  • Say how amazing your book is
  • Compare yourself to other writers or your book to other books

The anatomy of a blurb

While there’s no perfect formula for writing the best blurb for your next novel, there are some patterns worth taking note of: Calling out your success in the book-writing world, introducing the reader to the protagonist in a way that creates intrigue without delving into all the assorted details, and referencing the central point of conflict—without explaining how a resolution may come about.

Take a look at the blurbs below for Bella Andre’s most recent title, Kiss Me Like This, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and E L James’ need-no-introduction Fifty Shades of Grey. Take note of any patterns. Any consistencies. And what the authors seem to be saying—and not saying.

Kiss Me Like This, Bella Andre

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Bella Andre, comes a New Adult contemporary series about The Morrisons!

Sean Morrison, one of six siblings and the top college baseball player in the country, is reeling from a heartbreakingly painful loss. Nothing seems to matter anymore … until the night Serena Britten unexpectedly ends up in his arms.

Serena is a world-famous model who has only ever wanted to be normal, even though her mother has always pushed her to become a superstar. Though it isn’t easy to try to leave everyone and everything she knows behind, Serena is determined to enroll in college. More than anything, she wants to turn her love for books into a new career that she actually loves. Only she never expected to meet someone like Sean on campus—or to be instantly consumed by their incredible chemistry and connection.

But when the pressures of her high-profile modeling career only get bigger and more demanding, will it make living a normal life as a college student–and falling in love with the hottest guy on campus—impossible?

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love—and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Fifty Shades of Grey, E L James

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

While each author has approached it differently, the gist is clear. Introduce your main character, create intrigue, and don’t give it all away.

 


Milena Canizares

Milena’s a Canadian writer who moved across the pond to lovely London. She’s passionate about writers, books, and getting good ideas off the ground. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire and iVillage, amongst others. When not wordsmithing, you can find her on a mini-break around Europe or exploring the many watering holes around London. She’s addicted to diet coke, obsessed with sushi, and takes way too many pictures of clouds.

  • Pingback: Self-Publishing Resources | elena johansen()

  • Pingback: The Blurbery | Eric Lahti()

  • Ernest L.R

    Thank you so much lady! This really helped me creating my own blurb!

  • Maha Erwin

    Thank you, Milena. I found writing the blurb more difficult to write than the whole bloody book. I’ve read some many “good ones” and yet I’m still struggling to make ours sound intriguing AND interesting. If only you could butcher it as an example. No joke.

  • Brandon Vaughan

    I’ve been asked to write a blurb for a friend. My own novel is not yet released. Do I list myself as an author at my publisher and not include the unreleased book title?

    • Kent Hall

      Hello Brandon,

      That’s a good question. I guess it depends a lot on timing (and what you’re publisher thinks). It might be a good way for you to build some advanced buzz.

    • great article Milena, thanks for comment!

  • Extremely informative! Thanks! I’m going to go try again.