We’ve all been there. We’ve finished the book, edited it, got it ready to publish, and now we face the enormous hurdle of writing the book description. It doesn’t matter that the book might be 300 pages long, but that 100-200 word blurb suddenly feels as difficult as reaching the summit of Mount Everest.
The bad news is that those 200 words are among the most important words you will write if you want to sell your book.
The good news is that I’m going to show you how to do it, for both fiction and non-fiction books.
As an editor I see a lot of blurbs come across my desk. As a reader I see even more. And as an author, I have written plenty of them myself and I don’t enjoy the process at all. I actively loathe dealing with blurbs for my books.
That’s why I’ve boiled the most important steps down to a system, and I’ve even got a few fill-in-the-blank formulas for you to use if you really need them.
Remember that unless you’re a household name, a reader is going to need really compelling reasons to plunk down some money for your book.
Even if your book is FREE, you need a powerful blurb. Why? How many free books are on your e-reader right now? How many have you actually read? Unless the blurb grabs someone’s attention, chances are he’ll download it and read it later (=never).
The first element of crafting a compelling blurb is knowing your target audience: readers.
Repeat that after me: Blurbs are a marketing tool.
The intention is to get a reader to buy the book, plain and simple.
So how do you do that?
By making readers want to read the book. Yes, that’s all you need to do.
That depends on whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.
Fiction readers are looking for these elements when they read a blurb:
—Intriguing characters with strong desires, clears obstacles to achieving their goals, and weaknesses we identify with
—A goal which must be achieved, or the character will face death (physical, emotional, or professional disaster)
—A compelling conflict between the main character(s) or between the MC and the antagonist that keeps one or both from their goal.
—A key to the setting, both time period and geographical
—(Romance) A secondary or related conflict that keeps the main characters from becoming a couple.
—Hints at unanswered questions the reader is dying to learn the answers to so he must keep reading, even if he’s late for work or skips dinner or sends the spouse to pick up the kids from school.
Notice I did not mention the plot. You don’t need to tell the reader what happens in the blurb. If she wants to know, she will buy your book. Your mission is simply to make that reader want to know what happens.
Sell the characters and conflict, not the plot.
And that’s just the start of what’s inside HOW TO BLURB.
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