What is a blurb?
By Candice Robertson
What is a Blurb? - Feature Image

While book covers catch reader’s attention, blurbs grip shoppers and convince them to buy books. This makes them absolutely essential in selling your books, so make sure to write a book blurb that sells.

What is a blurb?

The blurb is a promotional description, found on the back of the book. Here’s where things get tough: you have 100-200 words to impress and attract your target readers. It should introduce your main idea, give some insight on the content, depict genre and arouse interest.

Keep in mind at all times that blurbs are what sell books. It is essentially a very creative and short sales pitch to convince readers to buy your book. Many publishers believe that it needs to sound like a movie teaser (without overdoing it!).

The blurb should include any information that best represents the book and intrigues readers. This can even involve quotes, endorsement or praise from others.

Image of a book cover that highlights the position of the tagline, blurb, testimonials and author/book information.

What makes it good?

Here are the five “S’s” to get you started on writing your book description:

1. Simple

A book travels the world. This means that you never know which reader, in which part of the world, will lay their hands on your book. It is always best to keep your blurb as simple as possible and keep in mind the vast readership that your book will target.

Unless you want your book to address a niche audience, the blurb should be written in everyday language. So make sure to avoid long and complicated sentences, jargon and specialized terminology. These can make your book description seem complicated and limits the readership.

2. Short

Most people don’t have the time, or the patience, to read a long description of a book. A short, crisp blurb that says a lot in a few words is sufficient to spark the interest of a reader. Also keep in mind that many bookselling websites have a word limit, and your entire blurb might not be visible to readers unless they click “read more”.

3. Samples

To help you discover what will work best for your book, you should look at as many blurb samples as you can. Visiting bookstores and browsing through blurbs of all genres may help you find something that fits your book’s requirements. You can even find some blurbs online! This will give you ideas about what authors are writing and what readers look for in a book description.

4. Story

All good stories begin with a blurb. Ask yourself questions like: Does it tell a story? Will it make the readers want to know more? Often, there is a ‘twist’ that makes the book sound interesting, and the blurb is the perfect space to drop hints about it!

5. Selling Points

The blurb provides you with a space to highlight all of the selling points of your book. It can be helpful to make a list of reasons why your book will hook readers: What is it that readers would want to know? How can my book add to the existing literature? What makes my book different? Who am I selling my book to? Answering these questions can help you gain clarity about your work, and you’ll know exactly what to include in your blurb.

Still stuck? Read more about “How to write the perfect blurb”. Or even better, email us on info@preflightbooks.co.za for expert help on writing your blurb or to have an experienced editor write your blurb for you!

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