#018 - How important is writers blurb?
There are many good books out there adequately describing the process of writing a 'blurb' for your next blockbuster. The dictionary definition of blurb is as follows; A promotional description, as found on the jackets of books ... So, that confirms it then. The size of the jacket or back cover of a paperback will more or less dictate the size, or number or words contained within your blurb ... and the average will probably be within the range of 200 to 300 words. Obviously compressing a storyline of some 90,000 words or more into an eye-catching two or three hundred is a major feat of writing skill in its own right, but then there is the frustrating process of distilling it even further into possibly 100 words or less for promotional purposes. If you are pushing your work on social media, then often you have space for only one single sentence or a limited number of characters.
A good blurb is the second pull or hook for a reader, with the first one being the cover image combined with a meaningful title. As the influence of EBook publishing increases, the self-published as well as the traditionally published author now relies very much on electronic book sales for a major part of their income.
With a limited amount of space available on a web page and with only a 'thumbnail' size image to wet your potential reader's appetite, the short blurb of up to 100 words becomes more and more important. It's now recognized as part of the smart marketing process, inviting a browsing reader to delve more into your Web link, eventually opening up your book, and reading the first few pages.
Some fortunate individuals, along with many traditionally published authors, they will have professionals employed to write 'blurb' for them, but the rest of us simply have to buckle down and get on with what is one of the most difficult processes of being a self-published writer.
So, how do I create my own blurbs?
Well, the easy way is by reading through the blurbs of others that catch your eye and are recognizable as the nearest subject matter to your own work. You will be able to pick perhaps whole sentences, or maybe a phrase or two that describe similar situations to those you wish to emphasize in the blurb for your own story. Reading through other authors blurb for books containing similar subject matter to your own, with an idea to copying the general layout and construction, it's often difficult to get away from that particular author's description ... no matter how much you try to re-invent it. Most writers have no problem putting many thousands of words together to produce an 'un-put-downable' story, but those same writers find it often nearly impossible to write a blurb adequately revealing the pace and passion contained within their story ... in 100 words or less!
If the book you wish to write blurb for is say a 'Romance', don't forget to have a look at some examples under other headings as you may find just the phrase or sentence you are looking for requiring only a slight bit of tweaking!
What you are looking for are examples of snappy, eye catching blurbs that you can change and re-edit to provide an immediate hook to your potential readers. Remember, your finished blurb must be original, written by you, the author, and first offered as part of the package put together for your publication and your publication only.
Finally, as stated previously, the combination of blurb and cover image are really at the heart of how successfully you will be able to market your book to potential readers. In effect, the blurb is the key element in tempting the reader to open the very first page. The cover image is designed to attract attention, but it is the blurb that actually advertises to the reader, what might be between the covers. There is a popular saying in the world of commercial advertising that goes like this.
"Good advertising can clear shelves; great advertising can build factories ..!"
So, you need to spend some time on getting your blurb right ... it is your single 'advertising' opportunity at your point of sale ... and can perhaps 'allow you to build factories'! Don't forget to distill with care, making sure the key elements of your story remain after a final fierce edit. Get some other opinions on your final blurb. Ask friends to read it and tell you honestly if such a hook would persuade them to buy the actual product.