The Blurb- Buy or not to Buy




The Blurb

By S.L. Dwyer


The blurb for your book is the most dreaded word once you’ve typed “The End”. We sit and stare at the screen, or paper, wondering how do we even begin to condense a three or four hundred page book into two or three paragraphs.

Yet, the blurb is the first thing a reader goes to when deciding if they want to purchase a book. The reader has to be pulled into the idea of the story, make them want to see how it unfolds with a limited amount of words. This isn’t a synopsis that gives away the entire story, including the ending. It is a concise, pared down to the fewest of words, yet intriguing enough verbiage to make the reader want to take the book home.

The blurb is the most important step in putting your book out for the public, either fiction or non-fiction. So, why is it so difficult to write?

After months, and sometimes years, we have lived with this story. We are part of our characters’ journey, their joys and heartaches, and their reason for demanding we share their story. We want to include everything because we “know” everything. As writers, we all go through this emotional turmoil.

My way of tackling this dreaded chore may not work for everyone, but I’m going to share it here. Everyone teaches us that a story consists of a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is true and is also a basic formula for a blurb. The first paragraph should have a few lines (or more considering the story) about how your story starts—the beginning. Is it an action that propels your major character on their journey? Is it a scene showing the aftermath of an act or action taken against your character? Or maybe it’s a lovely day watching clouds in a field with someone they love. Whatever the cause of the story, it belongs in the first paragraph.

Second paragraph is what the obstacles are that the character must overcome to reach their goals—the middle. Do they have to reach a far off destination riddled with danger? Do they have to find an answer to a question that requires research? Are there other characters that want to prevent the ability to overcome these obstacles? Are they the actual obstacles? Is your character themselves that is preventing them from reaching their goal?

Third paragraph is what the character achieves through the journey or the result if the character doesn’t without giving away the ending — the end.  Does the character reach their goal or has the goal changed? Inferred, but never give the ending away. The final paragraph can be one line that makes a statement- “The clock is ticking” or “She must gather all her strength to succeed” or “The human population is on the verge of decimation”. Give the reader a reason for this character to strive for their goal.

Try not to end a blurb with a question to the reader, i.e. Does Jane find Prince Charming or can David find the killers before they kill again? These questions do not entice a reader, it assumes the reader doesn’t already have those questions after reading the beginning and middle. The last paragraph is the most important since it offers a final insight into the story.

Once you conquer the hated blurb, you will have a great condensed version of all the work you put into writing your story. Who is your main character, what do they need or want, and what happens if they fail to achieve their goal?

Read the blurbs on some of your favorite writers to learn how they wrote theirs that made you want to read the book. Write your blurb and ask a friend to read it ask if they picked up a book with that blurb would they read the book. If they are honest with you, the feedback you receive will surprise you.

Happy writing.

S L. Dwyer is the author of 3 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree books!/author/s-l-dwyer/


The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of authors whose books have been honored with a B.R.A.G. Medallion. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

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