In another topic on here, In Defence of Short Blurbs, we discuss short blurbs. Now, let’s examine longer ones. A rule of thumb for a book blurb is 120 to 200 words, the length which fits comfortably on a back cover. It should include:
- names and sketches of the main characters;
- an idea of the setting;
- a hint of the plot and the conflicts;
- mystery or questions to intrigue the reader; and
- words — possibly even hyperbole — to evoke strong images.
To draw the reader in and to hold their attention, it makes sense to use the concept of the elevator pitch for the first paragraph. This conveys the essence of the story while the following text adds substance.
Readers often shy away from beginning a long paragraph, so write a few short ones, each intriguing further.
Here is an example of one on which I am still working. Suggestions for improvement are welcome:
Set in an environment of extreme wealth in contemporary London, this is a story of tender new love trying to flourish while a tragic past conspires to destroy. As Valentine’s Day approaches, two lonely people begin breaking out of their social shells.
Valerie has been celibate since she was raped and had her reputation smeared. From nothing, she’s rebuilt her life, and she now concentrates on three things; running her corporate empire, guiding her inquisitive daughter through puberty, and volunteering in the community.
Lorne is still grieving a fiancée who died in his arms, but when he meets Valerie in a down-and-out soup kitchen, desires stir. Unaware of her identity, he takes a bold step and invites her to Valentine’s Day dinner.
Their relationship escalates with blinding speed and all the comforts of a billionaire lifestyle, but the bliss is interrupted when pornographic photos of Valerie flood the internet. She wants to crawl back into her shell. What does Lorne want?