Writing Blurbs

Blurbs are those wonderful pieces of hype stuck on the back cover or tucked into a press release to urge people to buy the book.  Most publishers rely on other writers they’ve published to supply blurbs, which isn’t always ideal as sharing a publisher doesn’t necessarily mean the blurb-writers share the publisher’s enthusiasm for the new book.

There are no hard and fast rules but a blurb must:-

1.   Avoid cliché – it implies the book is clichéd.

2.   Avoid absolute hyperbole – no matter how superb the book is it is not and never will be the best ever written.

3.   Convey the contents of the book – people need to know what it’s about and why they should read it.

4.   Avoid questions that give potential readers a get-out before they’ve decided to buy – eg don’t ask “do you what to know why she got a call after midnight?” as the potential reader can say no and pick up another book that says “That call after midnight shocked her into discovering her husband was not who she thought he was.”

5.   Avoid talking about the writer themselves – it implies the blurb-writer didn’t like the book.

6.   Be short – using twitter as a drafting tool is helpful!

Here’s one used by Original Plus:

Employing strong visual pictures … many of Emma Lee’s poems stick in the mind’s eye long after the book has been closed. … Emma Lee’s poems are sharp, spare, and economic, without missing out on the important details.

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