Recently, one of the subscribers to my email list emailed me a question. He said: "I've finally finished the rough draft of my book and would like to start sending it to beta readers. I realized pretty quickly that I need a good book blurb to attach to the Google Form so they can know what my book is about before they agree to read it. How can I write a good book blurb?"
That is an excellent question! Today, I'm going to break down the different "parts" of a book blurb as well as discuss with you some dos and don'ts.
Note: A book blurb should not be confused with a book summary. A summary would go into detail about your entire book and reveal the ending, while a book blurb is more like a teaser. It's full of suspense and drama, and its main goal is to hook your potential readers and entice them to buy your book.
The Parts of a Book Blurb
Book blurbs are typically 100- 300 words. Word counts typically differ by genre so it's important to do your research! I recommend picking five to ten bestselling books in your genre and analyzing their book blurbs. How long are they? How many paragraphs are they broken up into? Personally, I've seen book blurbs broken up into three to six different parts or paragraphs. Both are effective so I'm going to share both with you today.
-The Three-Part Book Blurb:
First paragraph: Introduce the character and establish the world.
Second paragraph: Introduce the conflict. (Note: Not all of the conflict but introduce the inciting incident. Ask yourself: What kicks things off in the story?)
Third paragraph: Introduce the hook. Why should readers care or be interested in your book?
-The Six-Part Book Blurb:
First paragraph: Identify the setting or time period. Ask yourself: What about your world is pivotal for the reader to understand from the beginning?
Second paragraph: Identify the main character. Ask yourself: What is your MC's life like? How old are they? What makes them relatable?
Third paragraph: Briefly describe the incident that triggers the plot. How does the protagonist's life change?
Fourth paragraph: Identify the most prominent subplot. (Note: This could be instrumental in setting your book apart from other books in its genre. Ask yourself: What makes my book stand out from others and be more than just another *insert your genre here* novel?
Fifth paragraph: Identify the plot or problem.
Sixth paragraph: Hook the potential readers. Ask yourself: What's at stake? What does the MC have to lose?
Book Blurb Dos and Don'ts
Don't reveal all of the main characters
Don't reveal too much
Don't use adverbs
Don't include a lot of world building
Don't info dump
Don't use cliches
Do include the MC right away
Do use present tense
Do use exciting verbs and challenge every word
Do include as much action as you can
Do make your blurb dramatic
Do highlight the conflict
Other Important Information to Note:
Just how you would never publish the first draft of your novel, you never want to settle with the first draft of your book blurb. In fact, if you can, don't worry about any of the "rules" when writing your first draft. Instead, first, get out everything you want to include. Then, edit and revise it over and over again. When revising, you want to keep and choose only the most important things. Ask yourself: What is absolutely necessary for the reader to know now? How can I entice the reader into buying my book?
It's also important to do your research! Earlier, I mentioned that you should analyze the book blurbs of five to ten bestselling books in your genre. However, be careful and don't copy those book blurbs too closely. You want your book to stand out. Therefore, when drafting your book blurb ask yourself: What makes my story unique?
Read your book blurb aloud! This will help you identify parts that don't flow as well or that don't accurately get your point across. Also, utilize beta readers, critique partners, and people that read your genre. Ask them to read your blurb and make suggestions. There are some great Facebook groups and Goodreads forums for this so make sure you utilize them. When you have the majority of people telling you that your blurb makes them want to pick up and read your book then you know your blurb is good and ready for publication.
Note: Some authors like to include a call to action such as "Fans of such and such will like this book" or "Buy this book if you enjoyed such and such." However, other authors advise against mentioning other novels in your blurb, especially if you're the one doing the quoting. If a reader picks up your book and expects it to be similar to Divergent, but feels that it isn't, then they may be angry and bash your book to their friends or across social media. Therefore, it is recommended that you let other, credible, authors compare your book to other bestselling books in your genre.
I hope this blog post was helpful in helping you effectively write a book blurb for your book. If you have any additional tips, tricks, or examples, please leave them down below. Also, if you want feedback on your book blurb you can leave it down below for myself or others to critique or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org