Mistakes to avoid when writing a blurb
By Candice Robertson
Mistakes to avoid when writing a blurb - Feature Image

Nobody wants to make mistakes when writing their blurb. Our posts on “What is a blurb?” and “How to write the perfect blurb” have armed you with all of the needed expertise to create your book description. However, there are a few common mistakes that you should be sure to avoid.

Mistakes to avoid when writing a blurb

  • Telling too much, selling too little

New authors often want to make sure their readership understands the story, and end up making the blurb sound more like a synopsis. Don’t tell the story – rather pitch it and focus on the key aspects your target reader may be looking for. 

  • Using the wrong voice and style

If you’re dark in the novel, don’t be funny in the blurb! Try to keep the tone and style consistent so that the blurb maintains an accurate reflection of the literary content of your book.

  • Thinking nobody can do it better than you

While that may be true for the writing process, you’d be amazed at what fresh eyes can do. Guidance from fellow authors or feedback from readers can help reveal unclear aspects and missing pieces from your blurb.

Examples of good blurbs

Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease by Dr Josh Axe

Cover and Blurb of "Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease by Dr Josh Axe"

Word Count188 words

Why this blurb works: The blurb finds a way to appeal to almost anyone. It establishes expertise and success by starting with an exposition. Then, conflict is provided in the form of a list of diseases that the book will help us escape. While the list is lengthy, he’s bound to mention just about everyone. Finally, the blurb promises resolution and offers the reader all kinds of help, from an explanation of what the Keto diet is, to shopping lists, recipes, exercise routines, and plans to suit your needs. The blurb presents the book as a solve-all product with the expertise and tools to guarantee you success.

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

Cover and Blurb of "Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis"

Word count159 words

Why this blurb worksThis book is positioned as an enticing read for women who feel oppressed, constantly harassed or merely can’t speak up. Hollis starts by focusing on the main character: embarrassed and shy women who lack self-confidence. The conflict here is an internal conflict of many struggling women. She then gives readers faith that she can help them and show them the light at the end of the tunnel. This can only be attained if you read her book.

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

Cover and Blurb of "The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey"

Word Count212

Why this blurb worksThis blurb is a good example of giving the readers what they want to read. People want to learn how to make more money, and so this book promises to not only help with that but to teach them mistakes and clarify a few misapprehensions they’ve been under. The author, Dave Ramsey, makes his book stand out from the crowd with his outlandish metaphors and puns. This makes the potentially overwhelming topic of finances as simple and familiar as eating right and getting fit.

What is the worst thing that can happen if my blurb doesn’t rock?

A Misleading Blurb

For a reader, there’s nothing worse than reaching the end of a book that you’re really excited about reading (because the blurb made it sound absolutely amazing), only to discover that the book didn’t live up to the blurb’s promise. 

If you’ve written a paranormal romance novel and are pitching it for hardcore sci-fi readers, this will have a negative impact on your reviews and on your sales. Imagine picking up a book and expecting to read about an elderly man who kidnaps a small child from her bed, only to discover that you’re reading Roald Dahl’s BFG!

Readers expect accuracy and you’ll get severely punished if you don’t stay true to genre. Even worse, imagine heaps of angry, disappointed readers flooding platforms with equally daunting reviews! Better to just portray your blurb accurately.

A Mediocre Blurb

Even if your blurb is true to voice and style and pitched to the right readership, you still may think it’s not good enough! Many authors play with multiple blurbs to see what works for their audience. Your book sales will be your main indicator if you need to change things up.

And don’t become despondent! Learning how to write a good blurb takes practice and, often, requires help. Don’t be afraid to reach out for expert advice on creating your blurb. Email us on info@preflightbooks.co.za to get your blurb started now.

Book blurb reviews adapted from “10 Tips to Write a Book Blurb That Sells”.

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