Last week I discussed the importance of cover art. In fact, I said it should be your number one focus when marketing, because it is absolutely the most important marketing tool to get readers interested in your novel. It is the your first chance to wow potential readers and you must draw them in. This week I am going to discuss the second most critical marketing device when self publishing… the dust cover blurb, or flap synopsis, or that description on the back of your soft cover or on the inside flap of your hardcover that tells you what you are going to be purchasing.
But why write an article on writing a books brief description? It’s so simplistic.
If it was, do you think I would be writing this? No, probably not. I would tell you to write as much info with as few words as possible and be done with it. But, like the cover, this is the second introduction to your book. And I know you think your story is amazing and everyone will die once they read it because all other books will pale in comparison, and reading will forever be tainted, but readers won’t know this if your book doesn’t draw them in. Your masterpiece will sit alone and unread on the virtual shelves of B&N & Amazon. What’s more, gone are the days of the tactile experience when purchasing books, so your blurb might be just as important as the cover. And if you are writing it, it means you are self-published without the backing of a marketing team that will strategize your targets and carefully insert keywords that speak to your audience.
So lets discuss what you should really focus on if you are a self-published writer and how to get your blurb to draw in those readers.
- Make sure your blurb is an accurate description of your book, represented under the genre that it technically falls under. You don’t want to deceive your readers because not only will they return your book, but you won’t be trusted in the future. (Especially for books that deal with sex and love or have violence – you don’t need to put a warning label on it, but don’t make it sound clean when it is in actuality dirty, dirty, dirty.)
- Look in your genre and read blurbs. But gravitate to the books that sell well, they don’t have to be good books, but focus on bestsellers. Then go to some that aren’t in your genre and see the different tactics others are using. This helps mix it up a bit, and prevents a carbon copy of similar books.
- Try summing up your entire book into one sentence. In the film industry, this would be your logline. (i.e. A boy escapes his sinking his ship, leaving behind his entire family, only to find himself alone on a very small boat with nothing but a survival guide, one crate of food and a tiger. – Life of Pi). Once you have done this, take those main elements and try elaborating a little.
- Hook your audience without giving any key elements away. The hook(s) in the above created sentence would be “stuck with the tiger.” You want to know how that is even possible. Will he survive? Make sure you allude to the conflict, not just the rising action. You don’t have to spell it out. Instead, use creative ways to express your points without spoiling the story. (DON’T: She marries Joe and they fight about her flirting with Bob at the bar; INSTEAD: Trouble arises and their relationship is put to the ultimate test.)
- Create questions with your writing. Intrigue your audience and get them thinking. Draw them in and then create mystery by leaving open-ended statements and cliffhangers. (i.e. If the open ocean and torrential weather don’t destroy this young boy the tiger just might.).
These are also subtle points that I think you need to be equally aware of:
- Make absolutely sure there are NO typos in your blurb. I just read one that had a misspelled word in the very first sentence and that is unacceptable.
- Have several people read the blurb who aren’t going to be biased and ask them to tell you if they would read this book, but don’t tell them it’s yours.
- Don’t write a dissertation. Try to keep it around two to three paragraphs (about 200-250 words) but you can look to other books to see what is the norm in your genre.
Remember, this is not an all-encompassing “how to” it is just a couple of ideas on how to perfect your marketing plan, getting your book sold, read and building a platform for your future works. If you have any questions, please contact me and I would be happy to help you.
If you don’t want to write you blurb, feel free to contact me at Gliterary Girl Media, because we would be happy to write it for you. Gliterary Girl Media
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