Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Your book blurb is a salesperson. The “book description” area of your online sales page (commonly called a blurb) must sell your book for you. In an online store, there’s no knowledgeable store clerk ready to offer a verbal book recommendation to browsing customers. If you’re self-publishing a novel, you need a book description that works hard to sell your book.
Create a mood
First, the book description has to create a mood. Readers want to slip into a feeling when they dip into a book. That feeling could be suspense, romance, humor, nostalgia. When you begin to write your description, don’t worry about outlining the plot step by step. First, think about the atmosphere you’ve built in your book.
A story with no drama is a story no one needs. Readers desire to be hooked into a situation that seems impossible to escape from, impossible to reach, or off-balance in some way. Again, before you go into a synopsis, bring out the tension that your characters are grappling with. Describe the drama and your audience will be drawn into making a real discovery, finding out whether your character will reach that sought-after goal, or experiencing something vicariously.
Explain what happens, briefly
Sure, your audience wants to know the characters they’ll be reading about and the events that happen. But do this briefly. Mention what your character yearns for. Describe the challenges of the situation. Don’t go into the sub-plot, that’s too much for a book blurb. Speaking of brevity, don’t write too much. A wordy, boring book blurb indicates a wordy, boring book. Give your readers just a taste—and they’ll buy your book to finish the meal.
Ask for honest advice
If you’re self publishing, ask for advice on your book blurb among people who follow your genre. Ask them, does the blurb sell as strongly as it could? Before posting your book, spend some time asking acquaintances if they would be compelled to make the purchase based on your blurb alone? And let them know you want them to be honest. This is no time for pride—welcome their comments, don’t defend your draft.
Remember, other than your cover, the book blurb is really the only exposure to book that you can control. (You cannot control the reviews.) Make your book description as exciting and tempting as possible.
Your blurb has a big job—it’s selling your book on your behalf.