I know you are here for some great and truly easy to use tips on how to write book blurbs that sell, but first, an admission…
I have a degree in advertising. I worked for multiple newspapers helping small business owners develop ads and advertising campaigns.
Then I became a traditionally published author and just fell into line with what publishers did so far as book blurbs.
I knew some of the blurbs for my books were just BAD, but the basic idea of what they should include, I accepted. And when I went the indie publishing route and had a chance to write my own book blurbs, I followed their example.
Stupid, stupid me.
Don’t be like Lori… at least THAT Lori. Be smart. Remember a book blurb is meant to SELL YOUR BOOK.
Don’t be shy. Sell it!
By using some tried and true methods of advertising copywriting.
Six Tips on how to write book blurbs that sell your book
- Start with a hook
You know what a hook is. The first line of your novel hopefully has one. The hook for your book blurb though should be a bit, well… more hooky. It should be short… try for six words or less… and it should raise some question or emotion in the reader’s mind that makes them want to read more.
- Sell the sizzle, not the steak
This is an old, but valuable advertising principle.
You think people buy a product, but really people buy an emotion or an experience. They buy what they think that product will do for them.
If you want to sell a steak, you don’t just give them the bland facts… how much protein per ounce, that it comes from a cow, etc.
You sell them on hearing that sizzle on the grill. On the juicy taste. On what that protein (if you choose to highlight it) is going to do for them.
So, for your book, what is the sizzle? It’s the emotional payoff someone gets from reading it.
Where do you find this? Reviews. Look at what readers are saying about your book. If you don’t have reviews yet, look at what readers are saying about books they love in your genre. Then make it your sizzle.
- Break the blurb into short sections
In advertising, there are different types of ads and some of them do include long blocks of copy, but for a book blurb, a big old info dump with no line breaks is not your selling friend. Go for two sentences at most before a line break.
- Don’t tell us much
Readers don’t care that the hero whose name is Jack Jones went to the grocery store and met May White who owns a dog boutique. Then the two ran into a robber who grabbed May’s purse which held her much loved Pomeranian.
What do they care about? The sizzle!
With that in mind, give them just enough about the book to work in any tropes, etc. that you know readers will be looking for… friends to lovers, alpha hero, whatever. Then sell the sizzle and HOOK them.
- Use a YOU statement
That’s right the dreaded second person. As novelists, we don’t use it, but in selling, it is golden.
The use of “You” reminds readers that this sizzle you are selling is going to work for them. You are talking to them.
- Ask for the sale
This and the You statement seem to be the thing authors have the most trouble with. But, seriously, you need to tell people to buy the book! “Get (my fabulous book title) today!” That simple.
Okay, so now let’s put this all together, shall we?
How to Write Book Blurbs that sell… Book blurb example
from my Rae Davies Dusty Deals cozy mystery series
No one’s perfect.
At least that’s what Lucy tells herself.
Then she meets her boyfriend’s rodeo queen ex-wife.
Even her dog is perfect.
What’s Lucy going to do?
Lucy’s dog can’t herd sheep, she loses her wallet, and oh yeah…there’s that dead rodeo queen she just stumbled over.
Lucy finds herself out of money, out of love, and maybe this time, out of luck.
You’ll love this rollicking good time of a cozy mystery.
Get Cut Loose today!
This is a vast improvement on the facts laden blurb I had before. And, the beauty of self-publishing is that I can monitor its results and tweak as I like.
Oh, and another tip? Amazon lets you use html to format your book blurb. Use that! Here’s a link to a site to help you with this... or you can use your WordPress blog or hand code it yourself. Just be aware that Amazon has its own styles set up, so it may require some trial and error of posting and then changing to get the breaks, font size, etc. like you really want it.
I hope you found this article on how to write book blurbs that sell useful. Do you have a book blurb you are struggling with or a revised book blurb you love? Post it in the comments!
Lori Devoti is the author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult fiction. Under the name Rae Davies, she writes the USA Today Bestselling Dusty Deals Mystery series. Check out her books at www.LoriDevoti.com and RaeDavies.com. Looking for help with your writing? Lori also does developmental editing and critiques for other authors and publishers. See our Editorial Services page for contact information and pricing. Or check out Lori’s classes at the Continuing Studies Department of the University of Wisconsin.