A book blurb is a promotional piece of information about the book written on the backside of it which reveals nothing about the book but allures the target reader into purchasing the book. This article is about what is a book blurb, what is its importance, how to write one and the book blurb examples which may help you with your blurb.
When you enter a bookstore, apart from being overwhelmed by the sight of so many books, what else do you do? You look around to find the book you have wanted to read all week.
Now that you have entered the section where they keep the books of the genre you are looking for, you will scan through the books with enticing book covers. Once a book with an interesting cover does catch your attention, the first thing you do is, flip the book and start reading.
What you read first is actually the book blurb. It is that piece of information about the book which will determine whether it will go with you back to your house, or will it be replaced by another book.
As a writer, we often struggle with writing a blurb; writing about our book in short, concise and lucid words so that it sells itself.
Before I give you some book blurb examples, I would like you to know why it is so important for us writers to write an interesting, enticing and a selling book blurb.
One thing you would need to remember is,Tweet
Blurb = Marketing of your Book.
All of us write stories, novels, non-fiction books. Most of us get stuck at how to write a novel, some of us, at writing our protagonist, many at marketing their book. And a lot of us simply cringe away from writing a book blurb.
A blurb is just like a movie teaser, only with less hassle. An effective length of 100-200 words on the backside of the book will ensure if the reader will buy your book or not. But, a book blurb is NOT the synopsis or summary of the book.
There are different terms for all the information printed on the backside of a book:
The Book Description:
It is everything printed on the backside of the cover, which includes the blurb, reviews, author’s bio, name of the publishers and sometimes, the name of the cover designer.
A Book Blurb
As mentioned earlier, concise lucid information about the book and what it contains, basically for it to capture the reader’s attention.
These are the one or two-line sentences, usually with only adjectives which work as a feedback of the book.
The Book Summary
It is the short but detailed outline of the book, basically written for the editor or the publisher to sell the idea of your book.
How to write a blurb that sells (with book blurb examples)
We all want our book to sell and maybe become a bestseller. And how will a blurb help in achieving our ultimate goal? Let’s find out:
What does a blurb Include:
A blurb usually includes the following:
- Elements of interest.
Take a look at this book blurb example:
“Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their leaves. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realizes that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.”
This book-blurb example is of Khaleed Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. In this, the main character, Amir has been introduced, the goal: redemption has been depicted and the conflict- an event that shatters their lives, has been shown. All of this is written in a simple but engaging way. It arouses the interest in a reader to know more and that’s how the blurb sells the book.
Keep the blurb concise and crisp:
You do not want your readers to know everything from the blurb and you will not want your reader to get confused or uninterested upon reading the only sentence of your blurb. You will be required to keep your blurb short, crisp and lucid.
Let’s take a look at this book blurb example:
“Six interlocking lives- one amazing adventure. In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of humanity’s will to power, and where it will lead us.”
The blurb of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is a simple, concise and crisp narrative of what the book contains, everything ranging from the setting of time, number of characters and the goal.
Primary Theme in the Blurb:
Is your book about romance? Redemption? Justice? Sacrifice? Vengeance? Adultery? Animosity? Your book blurb should convey the primary theme to the reader. If your target audience is the one that reads suspense and thriller, you would depict a conflict that identifies with the murder, mystery, crime or vengeance. If your book is about self-help, or food recipes, or ‘how-to’s, your blurb should speak about the same. Identify the primary theme and include it in the blurb. It’s a tip to the quick selling of your book.
Begin with a Hook!
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” The blurb example is of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
This is a hook. Or you can take a look at another book blurb example:
“Do not read this book if you are faint-hearted!”
Such beginning of the blurb will immediately captivate the attention of the target readers. This, alongside a hook, will give away the reasons why the readers should pick up your book. Just keep in mind two words- Tease and Tempt.
Use the Third Person:
A good blurb is in the third person, an omniscient narration which will have a better impact on the potential reader.
Check this book blurb example out:
“When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for the matter, is Sophie herself? To solve the riddle, she uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.”
From Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World, this blurb is a perfect example of a captivating, third person narrative short information about the book.
Try a different approach
Almost everyone writes the blurb like prose. If you wish to catch your target reader’s attention more quickly, try something different, like Poetry.
Here, have an example:
“She is young and radiant, Until he throws corrosive acid in her face. Her plans are in pieces, Her pain is unbearable, and her life is a disgrace.
The man who was once smitten by her looks, Now denies having met her in his lifetime.
In the world obsessed with external beauty, Living with a facial deformity is indeed a crime.
What do you reckon she’d do? Let her scars take over her? Let her faceless identity crumble? Let her heart find the vigor?
If you respect courage, If you are not obsessed with a pretty face, If you value endurance, Here’s a journey you need to trace.”
The Chapter Black by Bushra Rahmani has the blurb example which is poetic, rhymes and speaks about an acid attack survivor.
What to Avoid while Writing a Blurb:
- Long Sentences.
A good, intriguing blurb is short, precise and concise. Another gripping book blurb example, that is short, interesting and yet again lucid is:
“Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls her ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister, Nettie, and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamourous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.”
THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize)
This book blurb example contains not-too-long sentences, is precise and crisp and exactly what you’d call a promising one.
- Misleading Blurb.
Suppose, your book is a non-fiction about how to cook italian food and your blurb speaks about it like a crime thriller, it’s obvious your target reader will get confused and won’t even shy away from keeping it back on the shelf and move on. So, avoid the blurbs which do not speak about what your book actually consists of.
- Cheesy Lines.
No matter how great such sentences make your blurb look good but these are overused and obsolete. You would not want your readers to put down your book just because they found the blurb too basic and nothing extraordinary.
- Summarising your story.
Yes, avoid that. A blurb is NOT a summary of the book but a chunk of information about it which includes the main character and the conflicts he/she will face, maybe the antagonist, and question about the ultimate goal.
Take a look at the blurb example for that:
“Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come to her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.”
A blurb of The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey what you’d call an appropriate, bewitching and a promising example and it does not give away the whole story.
End your book blurb with a hook
At the end of the blurb, write a hook or an exciting sentence or a question.
Take a look at this blurb example:
“From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries. If only he could land and look about him.As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place. With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small. Except, it seems, someone has been there before them…”
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell is a blurb example which ends on a mysterious note and a hook.
Now that you have come across plenty of blurb examples for you to explore on the hems of the words to knit something out of your own, just remember that a good blurb is a key to selling your book. With a blurb beginning and ending with an interesting and a gripping sentence, the readers are sure to look inside your book and take it home with them.