Definition of a Blurb

A blurb is the teaser for the plot of a novel that appears on the back of a paperback or the inside flap of a hardcover book. Its purpose is to entice a reader into buying the novel, but not give away the whole plot.

Reasons for Writing a Blurb

  1. A publisher requests it as part of the proposal package
  2. A publisher requests it for the first part of the promotional package
  3. It can be a brief summary of the content of your book to be used as part of an introductory package when you speak somewhere as an author.
  4. It can be used as a brief description of the novel on your website.

Possible Structures of a Blurb

  1. Start with a question that leads to the plot description. For example: What would you do if the husband you thought long dead suddenly returned home?
  2. Make the whole blurb a question.
  3. Begin you blurb with the first exciting scene in the novel, so the reader learns that it was the starting point for the story’s plot line.
  4. Use a two to four paragraph structure. Introduce the hero and heroine, hints at their internal conflicts, and quickly sets up the plot in the first two paragraphs. In the next two paragraphs, hint at the external conflict(s) and opposing goals.
  5. Use a two paragraph structure, introducing the main characters, their conflicts and goals in separate paragraphs. For example, this is from one of my books Deadline…Whenever:

Ø  Tori tried to find the courage to walk into the church and face her former friends and neighbors, and to see her father one final time. In a casket. He hadn’t even told her he was dying, but then they hadn’t been close. She flung the car door open and right into someone who swore a blue streak in a deep, melt-your-insides masculine voice. She knew without looking that the voice belonged to the boy she’d once had an enormous crush on. Such was her luck. Wrong time. Wrong place. Wrong man.

Garrett stared at the dazzling beauty, remembering the gangly girl she’d been. Not that he’d paid much attention to the much younger sister of his best friend in the past. She was impossible to ignore now. She was also just plain impossible. He quickly figured that out when she got all bristly about having inherited both a percentage of her father’s newspaper and him as her partner.

General Tips about Writing a Blurb

  1. Keep the length short to between 75 and 200 words.
  2. Do not make a blurb sound like a synopsis.
  3. Study blurbs on the books you have bought or in bookstores to see how they are written, particularly for a book in a similar genre as your novel.
  4. A good blurb will entice a reader, arouse curiosity about buying and reading the novel.
  5. Make the blurb effective by using emotive words.

Additions to a Blurb

  • Mention any good reviews or positive critiques of your book. This is more important for books published with big print publishers. List only well-known reviewers, such as Publisher’s Weekly.

Links to More Advice on Writing Blurbs

© 2010 Starla Kaye

The Smarts Button

This website is the work of Starla Criser, an author who has published more than 50 stories, both traditionally and through self-publishing routes.