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Book Blurbs and Back Covers
What's a Blurb?
Your first question might be, “What is a book blurb?” You know that descriptive dialog that goes on the back of the book and gives you a hint of what the book is about…that is a book blurb. But knowing how to write a good blurb doesn’t come naturally; indeed, it takes some thought and planning.
The front cover of your book is the first introduction your reader might have to your book; it is the photograph-like-image of what might be waiting for your reader on the inside. The cover is like the beautiful envelope of a very special invitation but it is what is on the back cover – the blurb – that will actually present the written invitation.
What should the book blurb have? Like the swish of Nike, it is the sales pitch that invites your reader to look inside. It should be short, no longer than 250 words maximum, and it needs to be simple and to the point but not give away the entire story. Present an invitation that invites the reader to come in, but don’t tell them the ending.
Keep the blurb short, using clipped tones. Think of catchy advertisements that you have related to, such as the Coca Cola advertisements. White bear. Snowy background. Cool for bears to drink. On sale here. Who of us doesn’t relate to that adorable polar bear drinking Coke? While your book isn’t going to be about Coca Cola, you need to present a hint of what’s inside in a short and succinct way like the Coca Cola bear. Yummy. Good.
Endorsements and Reviews
If your book is non-fiction and has received endorsements from recognizable names then it is a good idea to include the one-or two-line testimonial, being sure to keep it short. If your book has been read by reviewers, then using honest feedback such as, “I couldn’t put it down” or “This was the best book I’ve ever read.” Again, short, sweet, and honest.
Non-fiction books are a bit of a different story. Usually, they are larger than the fictional novel and can be as large as 8.5” by 11” and might even be a hardcover book. In that case, the word count for the blurb will be higher than fiction and will include endorsements from well-known individuals in the field you are presenting. Also, your credentials should be listed, enough that it lends credibility to what you have written on the inside.
Another thing that should go on the back cover of your book is your photo and bio. A professional headshot photo is best, but it definitely has to be clear with no background noise/interference. Your bio needs to be short giving just enough information to the reader to make him/her want to know more. If you want to write a long bio, consider putting it inside of the book but definitely not on the back cover.
Your blurb needs to have a hook! A hook is the line that draws you in and makes you want to read the book. Each chapter should begin with a hook and end with one, you know the line at the end of each chapter when you are so tired you can hardly stay awake but you can’t put the book down because you have to see what happens next! That is a hook. You feel you have to know what is happening next.
Learn from Examples
If you aren’t sure how to write a blurb for the back cover of your book, look at what other authors have written. Go to your library and look at the books written by your favorite authors. What is it that pulled you in – hooked you – and made you want to read their book? Look at authors in your genre and compare them. Emulate them, don’t copy or plagiarize them, but use their work as an example. By all means, keep your blurb honest about the contents of your book. Don’t make it look like it goes off in a direction that isn’t true to your story. This is your story and you felt compelled to write it, now the object is to write a blurb that will make a reader compelled to not only buy it, but to curl up with it for an all-nighter!
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About the Authors: Daniel J. Mawhinney & Darlene Shortridge
Dan & Darlene have a passion and a heart for helping independent authors to successfully publish and market their stories worth telling and messages worth sharing.