I had no intention of writing about the importance of a book's blurb or how to go about writing one. I've done that post before HERE. I was actually going to blog about my reaction to the DEXTER series (just finished it up this weekend by watching several missed seasons on NETFLIX, including the final episode of season eight. This blog post will come. I have too much to say about it not to--Darn you, DEXTER!)
But low and behold as I was scanning my news feed on Facebook this morning a sponsored ad popped up about a book that I thought looked interesting. I clicked on the link and it directed me to Amazon for the purchase. Once there, I decided to read the description or blurb. It went a little something like this:
"The entire earth's population is annihilated by a horrible virus, but somehow Jamie lived through it and through a telephone call with his mother, who happens to still be alive on the opposite side of the USA and who also works for a company that makes cures for terrible diseases, she tells him she has the cure for this one. He just needs to get there and find her before it's too late. So Jamie and his two best friends take his family car and start driving to New York. As they drive, they realize that no one is around. It's a really bad situation. They stop at a gas station and guess what? They find another survivor. They add the girl to their group and keep driving. Then they come across a huge fire and several road blocks as they drive. It seems like these things aren't nature made but human made and that's scary. Who would do it? Jamie doesn't want to find out. They keep going, but decide to get some guns, just in case. At a small town they find two more survivors, a boy and his dad, and add them to their group. They keep driving. They get hungry. They stop and eat. Several times they do this. They find a dog and add him to the group. He's a cute dog and very friendly. Dogs are great to have on road trips. He comes in handy too when they run into bad guys. The dog attacks one of the bad men and he kills him in a gruesome way. The other men run away. Good thing too, because Jamie's journey isn't over yet. He still has to fight a flash flood, a burning mountain, and a flock of crazy birds. He does all this successfully and arrives at his destination to only find out that he had the answer all along. The medicine he takes for his asthma is what kept him alive while others died. Come to find out, everyone in his group has asthma. What are the chances of that? Come follow Jamie on his journey across the nation...."
Umm...no. Okay, I exaggerated this blurb a bit, but SERIOUSLY, the one I read followed this exact pattern. That's not good. Let me tell you why.
YOU FREAKIN' TOLD ME THE WHOLE STORY! You took away the surprise for me. It's gone. I know Jamie will find survivors. I know Jamie will fight off bad guys and win. I know Jamie will make it to his destination, and I know Jamie will have the cure in his pocket the whole time. So why in the world would I want to read the book now? You basically gave the whole thing away. There's no surprises.
Now, I've read some book blurbs that were bad, real bad. Like ones where the blurb is only quotes taken from reviews that say something like, "This book was awesome! I loved it! Everyone should read this book!" or "Mr. Smith knows exactly how to put words on a page. I love his prose!" Reviews without a description of any kind tells me nothing. I want to know what the book is about but I don't want to know EVERYTHING about the book. I want to discover the journey myself.
But writing book blurbs is hard, you say. Apparently so... but that doesn't mean you write a crappy one. Writing book blurbs IS hard for reason--THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE. Writing a book blurb is perhaps the hardest part of the entire writing process for me. It's a hook to get a reader interested. I want to give the prospective reader a taste--an addictive taste--and hope they find it intriguing enough to go on and purchase the book. The blurb has to taste great. So why is that I tend to see a lot of blurb that kinda taste like poop? The answer is simple: writing a blurb is hard and most authors don't know how to write one. But here's the answer to that: DO SOME FREAKIN' RESEARCH! There are tons of blogs that can help with the blurb writing process. Take advantage of them. Here, I'll give you a starting list to get you going:
How to Write an Effective Blurb for a Self-Published Book
How to Write a Blurb (Back Cover Copy)
The 5 core elements of a book blurb (and why you should know them)
How to Write a Brilliant Blurb for Your Book
Are you having a difficult time writing a Book Blurb? You're not alone.
Do some research and then pass it by a few beta readers and get their opinions. This is your shot, and you don't want to blow it. You may have written the best darn book out there, but with a crappy blurb, no one will ever know it. Don't let that happen. Take your time. Polish that blurb and make it stand out. It should enhance your book, not take away from it. Just because you finished writing the book doesn't mean your done. That blurb needs to be as close to perfect as you can possibly make it.
What kind of book blurbs have turned you away from buying the book? What's the worst kind of blurb you've run across? Do you have any tips or examples of what makes for an excellent blurb? Please share.
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