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How to write a great book blurb

Writing a killer book blurb is very important. Not only will it be the second thing a potential reader looks at ( Cover is the first), it is also a way for you to pull them in with both your writing style and your ability to tell stories.
Is the blurb boring? Are there spelling mistakes in your blurb or does the overall story just sound dull? The reader will probably move on to something else! Here is a complete outline about how to write your book blurb that will help you to write that killer book blurb that will make people want to read your book!

  1. Set the stage

First of all it is very important you set the stage of the book. There is nothing so annoying as to start reading a book that – completely unexpected, takes place in some made up sci fi world while the blurb never talked about this or worse – when the blurb made the world seem completely normal. It is important to set expectations with readers as it is easier for you and your book to meet these expectations when the reader starts reading.

1.1 Introduce your hero

First of all, you will want to introduce your hero. I recently received a book where there was no sign of the hero in the blurb. I mean literally: No talk of the protagonist whatsoever. Who was this book about? I honestly had no idea. And this can be a problem – going back to the expectations when the protagonist turns out to answer to a trope the reader does not like.

For instance: I am not that big into Christian fiction, and not telling this on the book blurb will make me very resentful of the book.

1.1.1 What is his profession?

Honestly, people, do not take this to literally! I mean : what does he do in life. How does he get by? What drives him?
This can be a profession but this can also be a hobby or just a way of life.

1.1.2 Use adjectives that describe his character

A first impression is very important. Especially when you only have the attention of the reader for a limited amount of time. Think about it : How long do you spend reading book blurbs? Yeah, thought so. This is why it is important to make it the protagonist and his or her character stand out by using the right adjectives. Try to mix them up and to use interesting wording. “beautiful”, “strong”, “smart” or “evil” have been used so many times ( yawn) try to look for synonyms.

1.1.3 What makes your character so interesting?

What is it that makes your character stand out? What is it that makes him or her so interesting? Interesting enough to follow his story throughout the pages of your book? This will be the hook to catch the reader’s attention. This will be what makes him or her interested in your character and what will happen to him in your book.

1.2 The setting

The setting is one of the most important parts of your book. It could be that your book is set in 1920’s Boston or Chicago, it could be that it is set in the future… every setting has his or her fans and haters and this is why it is very important to let the reader know what the setting is going to be. I fit is fantasy, you would want to talk about the world and what it is like. Again: every kind of fantasy has its niche so be clear. Will this be high fantasy, low fantasy, science fiction…? Same for historical fiction: you want to tell the reader what time period your book is set in and where. The middle ages in Europe were completely different to those in Peru for instance.

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1.3 Current situation

What is your character’s life looking like? Is he happy? Is she sad? What do they want to achieve? Does she have dreams or are they all shattered because something happened? Try to be concise but leave enough out to tickle the reader’s imagination and to lure him in.

2. Introduce the problem

Now it is time for the overall problem this book, this story is going to solve. What happened? What is going to happen? Where we talked about the hook before, this is the part where you will want to reel the reader in.

2.1 What turned the protagonist’s life upside down?

What happened for the character to be in the current situation? Did someone die, did a war break out? Try not to give away too much information in order to keep the reader interested in your story.

2.2 What is the protagonist’s goal?

What is the hero trying to achieve? What is it that gets him up in the morning and what is – ultimately the goal that will drive the book forward? Let’s, for instance, take Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets as an example. What would be Harry, Ron and Hermoine’s goal? And watch out: we are talking about the goal we are going to write down in our blurb so we have to leave out some things not to give away too much of the story. Their first goal would be to OR help the people that are being petrified OR to find out what strange voices harry is hearing OR to know where Ginnie goes to when she disappears. There are a lot of plots and goals you can talk about, try to take the one that has the most “power” and has the ability to reel people in; the ability to make people open the book and have a read.

2.3 What stands in the character’s way?

Are there any hurdles he has to take? Is there an antagonist he has to get past? Make your blurb more interesting by ading in a problem to counter the goal. The reader will want to discover how the protagonist takes the hurdle and gets to the goal.

2.4 What is at stake?

What is at stake? Is there a life at stake? Is there a big sum of money he can lose or does he need to save the world?

Obviously, these are just guidelines. They are meant to give you a structure on how to write your blurb and how to make it more interesting. It is a way of building up your blurb that will fit most of the books out there and most of the books being written. It may as well not fit yours.

How do you write your blurb?

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