Writing a killer blurb - your tips!

#1

Howdy folks, I’m new to the site and community.

One of the things I really struggle with as a writer is creating a really killer blurb. Good ones draw you in, bad ones put you right off. I think mine always end up being too light-touch; but when I try to add detail it feels like I’m trying to stop myself writing an essay!

Outside the obvious - ie. spelling, grammar - what are your top tips for creating a blurb that pulls readers in? Structure, content types, quotes? How much detail does a good blurb contain? Do you reveal your characters and/or any motivations they have? Do you touch on the journey they might make?

#2

I’m gonna paste what I wrote in a similar thread a few weeks back.

  • Introduce the protagonist
  • Introduce the protagonist’s goals
  • Introduce the conflicts
  • Introduce the stakes at hand

This is the only formula I swear by when it comes to blurbs. While I recognise having quotes or an excerpt accompanying the blurb to be an industry favourite, I personally dislike it. The same goes for dictionary definitions, dialogues, and one-line summaries that start with ‘In which…’

To me, a good blurb is all about you trying to sell your story. What makes it stand out? Why should anyone read it at all? Why should the reader care about what happens to your protagonist? A blurb can make or break this. Too much info and you might as well have given out the plot already. Too little and people won’t be able to decide whether your story is worth investing their time on or not.

Study the blurbs of published (in particular, traditionally published) books and take inspiration from their structures, then practise writing your own. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

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#3

This is good… So if I were to do some kind of example, see what you think.

Your format blurb for my new bestseller, Barry the Cheesemaker
Protagonist: Barry
Goals: To win the national cheesemaking competition
Conflicts: The past; his parents were killed by an errant wheel of cheese / the antagonist, Nathan, his childhood friend turned national cheese critic
The stakes at hand: If he can win the competition, his school, Cheesewarts, can remain open

Barry the Cheesemaker has one goal: win the National Cheesemaking Competition to save his school, Cheesewarts Academy of Cheesemaking and Other Stuff.

Haunted by an accident that killed both of his parents, Barry must overcome both his fear of wheels of cheese and the critique of his childhood friend Nathan. Once closer than brothers, now Nathan, the nation’s favourite cheese critic, is the only man who stands in Barry’s path.

TBH that works pretty well. I’d read that.

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#4

That’s exactly what I meant!

And that sounds like a cracking good book, no lie. I’d read the hell out of it. :joy:

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#5

Not sure if my lawyer would be strong enough to stand against Rowling over “Cheesewarts” :rofl:

#6

I am in favor of the blurb that sells the book rather than tries to summarize the book. Usually I write what they call an ‘elevator pitch’ that goes before the more traditional blurb summary.

To me the most important things about the blurb are:

  • bright words
  • make the book stand out from all others just like it
  • don’t waste words for ‘average, before, usual, intertwine, little does s/he know, just wants to live regular life’ etc
  • does not ask the reader any questions
  • snapshots the writer’s style strength
  • never plays coy
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#7

I mean, you can simply switch out the ‘a’ for an ‘o’ and get ‘Cheeseworts,’ so that should be okay. :joy:

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#8

Mine’s pretty simple.

Write it with heart and show me who your character is inside. Give me a taste of the plot, but don’t hand the whole thing over to me.

Don’t rely on a tag, three sentences or an excerpt to share your story.

Avoid labeling your character (just a normal/average, etc)

Remain invisible (I don’t want to feel like the writer is telling me about the story, so avoid the ‘a story in which’ and ‘read and find out’)

Avoid saying, ‘until one day’

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#9

No one here has said Third Person, Present Tense. So I will.

Third Person

Present Tense

:slight_smile:

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