Top Four Best Practices for Writing Great Book Blurbs

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

Your blurb has to sell your digital book for you.

Your blurb has to sell your digital book for you.

When you sell your book online, your book description, or blurb, must be persuasive enough to compel people to buy.

According to the Pew Research Center, 38% of readers rely on the information presented on your book’s online sales page when making a purchase choice. Your blurb must convince your audience that there’s no better place to spend their time than inside your book. Since the blurb is such an important factor in book sales, it pays to be aware of—and follow—these best practices for writing great writing blurbs.

Related: How to Craft an Effective Book Blurb that Sells

1. Create a Mood  

Your book description must allow readers to slip into the same feeling that they have went they dip into the book. Readers want to know what kind of emotional state they’re going to be in while they’re reading your book. Is it a dark dystopian tragedy or a humorous contemporary romance? As they read, they will be transported to some kind of environment. Let them know what yours is like. Even if your book is nonfiction, readerswant to understand your unique perspective. Tell them whether your book is serious and non-emotional, or folksy and friendly. Your book’s feeling may be humor, romance, suspense, nostalgia…whatever it is, let your readers get a feel for the atmosphere.

2.  Make It Dramatic

A story with no drama is a story that nobody wants to read. Book buyers want to be hooked into a situation that seems impossible to escape from, or a goal that’s impossible to reach, or a situation that’s out of balance in some way and needs to be set right. Your blurb should describe the tension that the characters face, the drama in the story, and the emotions they feel. If your book is nonfiction, there’s drama in it somewhere. Find the excitement in your book and state it clearly in your blurb.

3. Don’t Summarize

An effective book blurb is not a summary of the plot. Don’t write, “This happens, then that happens…” Instead, give the readers a glimpse of the situation, the problem that thwarts it, and the hopeful possibility that things may change. Describe the characters, the setting, the time period, and any other special elements, such as multiple narrators or the fact that it’s part of a series. Give the readers a taste and they’ll purchase the book for the whole meal.

4. Write Like It’s Word of Mouth

According to the same Pew Research survey mentioned above, 75% of people get book recommendations from family, friends and coworkers. So word of mouth is actually more influential than your written blurb for spurring book sales. But as an author or book marketer, you can’t personally speak with all your potential readers. So write your blurb so it sounds like it’s coming from word of mouth. That way you’re combining the two most powerful influencers and your book blurb will really make an impact.

Your book blurb is your chance to pitch your book, and if your description includes these best practices, it will work harder to clinch the deal and turn browsers into buyers.

To learn more, join me for a new course I’m instructing at Digital Book World University, “Create a Book Blurb That Sells,” a hands-on online seminar for authors and editorial, marketing and publicity professionals designed to help you fine-tune strategies for connecting content with the right audiences. Learn more and sign up.


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