Guest Post – Cooking up a ‘Good’ Blurb + Ingredients for a blurb’s soul

Blurbs are #1 reason to buy a book and apparently, they have souls.

And this guest post, by the lovely and fabulous Kellyn Roth @ Reveries tells you why blurbs are so important and how to take advantage of that lovely magnet that should pull your readers in. I am beyond excited for the Typewriter Project to officially begin and remember, the applications are now closed so I won’t be looking at any other contestants who enter now. You

Anyways,

let’s let Kellyn steal the spotlight (or skip to the first task)

and perhaps shine some light on book blurbs and how to write them.

A GOOD BLURB

Why do people read a book?

Some would say a great cover. Some would say amazing reviews. Some would say an eye-catching first chapter. All of these are probably important (to a certain extent). However, for me, the #1 reason to buy a book is because it has a good blurb.

What Is A Blurb?

A blurb (also known as a synopsis or summary) is the little ‘about your book’ section. You’ll see it on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever else your book is sold online, and on the back cover. People read it, and if they like it, they’ll buy the book!

You’re going to need to fit everything you want to tell a potential buyer about your book in a little under 150 words. How can you do that? Well, here are some tips.

  • Your blurb has a recipe you need to follow!

  • (or a formula #boring)

I wasn’t able to find out who came up with this, but someone made a formula for writing blurbs. It goes like this.

  1. Situation (e.g. Since her divorce, Adele Collier has pursued her own pleasure at the expense of her daughter.)
  2. Conflict (e.g. When her ex-husband suddenly reappears in their lives, Adele allows him to take Judy to France with him for the summer.)
  3. Hopeful Possibility (e.g. The time apart leads her to realise her daughter is the light of her world …)
  4. The problem with Possibility (e.g. … yet she’s still not sure she’s ready to give up her lifestyle.)

Another, more structured, formula (which I stole from here) looks like this:

When [identity] [protagonist name] [does something], [something happens]. Now, with [time limit/restrictions], [protagonist] must [do something brave] to [accomplish great achievement]/ or [sacrifice high stakes].

Using this formula and putting it into practice on the same book as above (my novella, The Lady of the Vineyard):

When commitment-shy Adele Collier lets her ex-husband take their daughter, Judy, with him to France for the summer, she finds that she missed her baby more than she thought she would. Now, with Judy’s heart seeming to belong entirely to her father, Adele must find a way to earn Judy’s trust.

  • Keep this short, but not so short that there’s no information.

The blurb above (from the second formula) comes to about 50 words. The recommended length is between 100 and 150. You might keep this little blurb for when you might need a shorter one, and flesh it out for Amazon/Goodreads/your blog/wherever else you need to post a blurb.

However, don’t write one long, 150-word paragraph. Write several little paragraphs. Lots of white space. People can’t handle long paragraphs on the internet.

Remember, brevity is the soul of the blurb.

  • Make sure the reader knows your genre.

They should be able to guess by the cover, but confirm it in the blurb. I simply said it was historical fiction in my “final sales pitch” at the end. However, your blurb should give off the mood of the genre … as well as the mood of the story! Also, try to identify things like age-range and basically who will like the book.

  • Include a final sales pitch and/or rave reviews at the end.

The final sales pitch is not really about the book or characters, but it is about the book. Here are a couple examples:

“Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, Indiana Belle follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.” ~Blurb of Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

“The debut novella from Allison Tebo, The Reluctant Godfather is a new addition to the charming fairy tale tradition of Cameron Dokey and K.M. Shea.”

~Blurb of The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo

This is not something you always want to do, but sometimes it is fun.

Also, some authors include review quotes at the end of their blurbs. I personally don’t agree with this practice unless (and this is a big but) some famous/well-known person reviewed your book and loved it. You can also place these in the ‘editorial review section’ on Amazon. You can access this through Amazon’s Author Central.

  • Try something different.

Sometimes you can write a blurb in the first person. You can definitely write a blurb in any tense – past, present, or future. Maybe you need to go for a more humorous mood. Maybe you need to need to be more dramatic.

Try different things until you find what represents your book best. Just be sure that you’re not promising a comedy when your book is a drama.

  • Use emotion.

Some of the best blurbs I ever read were brilliant just because they were so jam-packed with emotion. You already were sitting on the edge of your seat, rooting for the characters, hoping they would accomplish their goals and so afraid they wouldn’t … and you hadn’t even opened the book? What?!

Here’s a blurb that did that to me:

A man. A child. A war.

When German soldiers invade France during World War II, young Joyanna’s perfect world is shattered. In the hands of those who hate her, she battles to comprehend why people can be so ruthless and cold toward those whom they have never met.

David Sullivan, pilot in the Royal Air Force, was certain he would never hate, but a painful loss forces him to either reconsider or do the inconceivable—forgive. He is suddenly challenged by the realization that doing God’s will is not easy, but most important. With the lives of freedom-fighters relying on him, he must learn the difficult lesson that he is not in control, but merely one who must surrender his heart of obedience to One greater.

A sudden turn of events lands Joyanna and David in the same country—but for far different reasons. When their paths cross, David finds he must make a decision that will affect them both for the rest of their lives.

Will he choose vengeance, or will he let his life be ruled by a higher standard? A standard of Honor.

~Blurb of A Question of Honor by Jesseca Wheaton

It’s a little longer than I’d usually recommend (180 words), but it still has a certain something, doesn’t it? I suppose it’s all the questions. Asking questions is very important. Then there’s pacing, the different lengths of the sentences, the emphasis on certain phrases. It’s just well done.

Then I suppose I must say that, other than all the above-mentioned tips, a good blurb has something else.

It has a special wow factor that puts the reader from, “Eh, might read it some day” to “OH MY GOSH I MUST BUY IT NOW!”

In summary …

You may need to rewrite your blurb fifty times. You may need the advice of your friends, family, and random people on the internet. Or perhaps the blurb will just come to you. However when that blurb arrives, you need to keep in mind that it’s the single more important thing you will ever write for your book. It’s the worm on the fishhook if you will.

Now to make them take the hook …

Screenshot 2017-04-14 at 13.22.50

Task #1 – Create your own blurb

*takes back microphone*

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t hard to guess from the theme of this post, but this first SOLO ROUND will consist of YOU creating your own blurb. It will have to include –>

  • A diverse character
  • The word ‘tranquil’

You are allowed to include –>

  • Other author quick reviews
  • a snippet of the ‘book’
  • the actual blurb, of course

The winners will be –>

  • awarded with 5 points
  • judged based on their creativity, and how original they are.

Please send your blurb to me by the 26th of May so that even if you don’t win that round,  you receive two points. If you have any questions, please ask!

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Well, wasn’t that just awesome? Do you love Kellyn’s blog? For the first guest post for The Typewriter Project, how did you think it went? Do you agree with the points mentioned? Or do you have another element to cook up the perfect book blurb recipe? Excited for the task at hand? It’s a solo round so what do you think? Let’s type something new!

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58 thoughts on “Guest Post – Cooking up a ‘Good’ Blurb + Ingredients for a blurb’s soul

  1. Eek, I need to write my blurb very soon! I also have my first performance on the 26th so I will be a busy girl. This was super helpful, though. Thank for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That certainly helped a good bit, Mahriya! The blurb is the one thing that’s getting on my nerves and, naturally, delaying my publishing. *rolls eyes* Believe it or not, I actually wrote one up while reading this post!
    And plus I’m sorry I’m not in the Typewriter Project. I have a lot up my back currently, but I must say it is quite a fun project. The first round sounds awesome!
    ~Mukta~

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, I’m really excited to get on with the first task! Just a quick question about the blurb we write – does it have to be for a real book or can it be for one that we make up ourselves?

    ~Chloe
    littlesnippetsofthought.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great guest post to start it off! This helped plenty. I’m going to get started on brainstorming my blurb. Good luck everyone else participating💛 I’m sure we’ll all have some really nice entries

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay! Thanks for publishing this, Mahriya! I’m excited to do the challenge! I’ve got some ideas, but nothing really good yet … hopefully inspiration will come soon. 🙂

    Like

  6. Reblogged this on Reveries and commented:
    I know I’m not supposed to post today (and I’m not, really), but I decided I had to reblog this guest post I wrote for Mahriya @ My Bookish Life.

    It’s about writing blurbs, and it’s for the Typewriter Project. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know I’m not Mahriya but diverse character normally means someone from a minority group. It’s normally racial or sexual/gender identity, but I guess it could be broadened

      Liked by 1 person

  7. First of all — That was like THE perfect way to tie everything together. Like it’s so amazing???

    Kellyn — fantastic advice! I’ve heard about pitches and those one-line things (I think that’s a pitch??? Idk???) and blurbs, and I’m glad you could spell it all out for us! I will definitely use your tips in writing blurbs for future novels. 🙂 (Although blurbs for books are written by another author, right???)

    Mahriya — OMG YAS THIS IS SOOOO COOOOOOL. I definitely would NOT have thought of writing a blurb for a project like this!!! Yaaaaaaaaas I am so ready for this diverse character. #MayOrMayNotBeModeledAfterMe (hahahaha that was punnyyyyy) But why do you torture us so with the word “tranquil”??? How am I supposed to use that???

    Also can I do something like “Bestselling author [whatever name — could this be my name???] brings you a heartwarming tale of two sisters and their fight for each other” or it keep it to the summary of the book? And yaaas THANK YOU for allowing snippets of the book because I have been ITCHING to write something. (And yet another question: Can we include the title??? OOH CAN WE ACTUALLY DESIGN HOW IT WOULD LOOK LIKE??? *squeals*)

    lol me fangirling over blurbs??? neverrrrrrrr

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh goodness, this is going to lead to me having a bunch of ideas to write about. This is mostly good but then OMG OVERWHELMING. I’m so excited to get started!! Time to start blurbin’

    Liked by 1 person

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