This is a guest post by Ashley Halsey. Ashely is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com and is also involved in several nation-wide projects. A mother of two, she enjoys reading, traveling, and attending business training courses!
Today, she tackles one of the most annoying things about being an author: writing the blurbs to your books! I have shared some nice tips on writing blurbs in the past, but the whole subject still seems to be a nightmare for most authors, so I hope you’ll get inspired by her tips.
Top Tips on Writing a Book Blurb That Really Sells
They say not to judge a book by its cover – but let’s be honest, we all do exactly that. The cover and blurb are crucial in drawing in potential readers, sparking their interest and, in many cases, can be the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. Bearing this in mind, hook your reader from the start with a blurb that sells!
Hook Your Reader
From the get-go, your reader should want to read this book. Start with a catchy one-liner, a question, a ‘hook’ that makes them want to know more.
“If your first sentence is dull, your audience probably won’t read the rest of the blurb, never mind the rest of the book. Think of it a bit like chatting up someone at the bar – you should be clever, enticing, and interesting,” explains Gill Fitch, a marketer at Draft Beyond and Last Minute Writing.
Let Them Meet the Main Characters
If your reader is going to buy your book, they need to become personally invested in your characters as well as the story. Introduce your main characters by name and their ‘thing’, whether that be bad-cop or vampire!
Aim for Over 150 Words
The figures speak for themselves – a book with a blurb of around 150 words sells better, according to Amazon. It can be tempting to write more and describe your book, characters, and plot in detail.
Firstly, a blurb should be a taste of the book, not a description.
Secondly, you must always think of the reader, standing there in the store perusing novels. Their attention span, and time they are willing to spend reading a blurb, will likely not exceed 150 words.
Split-test Your Blurb
Don’t just take my word for it, or guess what you readers will want – there is actual data out there you should make use of.
While Amazon is notoriously cryptic it comes to data, services like Manybooks will allow you to test two versions of a blurb and see which is the most popular with readers. Likewise, you can send different blurbs to your editors and reviewers, create a poll on your website or social media.
“You can go one step further and run Facebook ads with different ‘pick-up’ lines to see which gets the most clicks, and set up email test using providers like Constant Contact, GetResponse or SurveyMonkey,” suggests Nicola Adams, a book editor at Writinity and Researchpapersuk. This way, you can include a link to the book’s Amazon page and see which gets the most click-throughs.
A Template for Writing a Fiction Book Blurb
If you’re still stuck, here’s an easy step-by-step blurb template to follow:
- Hook your readers with a situation,
- introduce a problem, and
- promise a twist.
Another way of wording this would be to:
- Expose your story,
- illustrate the conflict and
- hint at the potential climax.
These blurbs usually then end with an overall description sentence, setting the mood of the novel. You may want to hint at a resolution, too, that can be found by… Yes, you guessed it – purchasing your book!
A Template for Writing a Non-Fiction Book Blurb
Non-fiction blurbs should definitely differ from fictional blurbs. Your blurb should give the reader what they expect, and so starting a non-fiction book about gardening in a thrilling style would certainly confuse your reader. However, in general, you want to stick to the same formula:
- Set the scene, exposing the main idea, theme and character or author.
- Introduce the need for the book – whether it be a problem to do with nutrition, a how-to for rock-climbing, or a parenting manual, your reader should understand how your book will help them.
- You should then ‘thicken’ this outline – illustrate what problems the book will solve exactly, and how. For example, if your book is about health, outline the main topics it will cover – diet, lifestyle, genetics, and so on.
- End with hope – show your reader how your book will provide them with the answers to solve their problem.
So there you have it – our top tips for book blurbs that really sell. Armed with a killer introduction, lovable characters, and the perfect word count, your blurb can mean the difference between a book that sells well and a book that, well, doesn’t. By following the formulas above and split-testing (writing several) blurbs, you may well be on your way to writing a bestseller!
Excellent post, Nicholas. Must get it into my head. From this, I reckon my blurb for the first mystery in the series is too long. After I don’t know how many revisions. Sigh.
That’s why writing blurbs is the bane of my existence 😀
Very informative, thank you!
Thank you, Kally! I’m glad you found it useful 🙂
never thought of the blurb as a work of art unto itself!
Good ones are 🙂
I have bookmarked this post for future reference. Thank you!
Yay! Thanks and welcome to my blog 🙂
Thanks for this great post, Nicholas. The blurb is my worst part of the entire writing process.
I don’t think you’re the only one to feel that way, Robbie 😀
A very informative post! The book blurb is perhaps the biggest seller of books, more so than the reviews. It has to be perfect. Thanks for sharing Ashley and Nicholas.
Glad you found the tips here useful, Michelle 😀
Very helpful thanks Ashley and Nicholas.
Glad you thought so, Sally! Thank you 🙂
All are terrific suggestions. Thank you!
I doubt you need them, but thank you 🙂
Thanks to you and Ashley for the blurb tips. I will come back and read them again, if I ever write a book. 🙂
Best wishes, Pete.
I hope you do so soon, Pete 🙂