A blurb is typically what is printed on the back cover your book. It’s purpose is to entice the reader into buying the book or taking it out of the library. It’s got to be precise, well written and engaging. At two hundred words or less, it’s a quick glimpse into your story that’s probably 50k+ words.
Why put so much emphasis on it? Well it’s for more reasons than you may think.
A well polished blurb can be pared-down even more and used in your query letters. Think about it, the blurb was written to catch a reader’s attention and an agent or publishing house is who you want to read the book the most (at first anyhow!). A blurb can be too long for a query letter but you should already have the good bones. You can work off that.
I belong to a writing group that meets weekly. We often have new people stopping in or people who can only make it on occasion. Several of our members give rambling ten minute long descriptions of their story before they read their pages. It’s repetitive for those of us who are there regularly and it takes up a lot of time. If you have a blurb, you can read it and give them some info on the story without taking a whole lot of time.
Have you ever told someone you’ve written a novel and when they ask what it’s about, you find yourself with verbal diarrhea, telling them every piece of witty dialog you’ve written, every sex scene and all the plot twists? Not even your bestest friend or mom wants to sit through all that (and if they do, then they won’t need to read the book, you’ve given it all away!). While it would be unnatural to recite your blurb to them, you can use the blurb to give them a much more condensed version to pique their interest.
It may feel like a chore, trying to take your long story and explain it in a couple of paragraphs, but it will be well worth it in the long run and help you have a better handle on explaining your work.
Share your blurbs with us!