Blurbs Are Hard

How do you summarize 100,000 words and make it sound enticing? It’s the question I’ve faced as I worked on a blurb for my upcoming eBook. A blurb would be second only to a cover in getting someone out there to purchase something I’ve written. So I’ve been working hard on it. And anguishing over it. What’s important enough in this story to include? What can be left out? How long should it be? How much is some stranger willing to read before they conclude the summary is just too long? How can it sound interesting? It’s all a real pain in the ass.

Where to start? First, I read through some of the blurbs on Amazon. Each author had their own thing going. Some are short. Some are paragraphs. Some are even in the first person. Well, that just wouldn’t work for my novel. But all of it gave me some idea of how a blurb can work. Don’t stuff it with too much plot or backstory. And don’t make it more than a couple paragraphs.

Second starting point: last year’ abysmal failure. You see, when I was drafting query letters, I had a similar predicament. My solution to that was not only coming up with one summary, but at least three, and then seeing if any of them worked. Spoilers: they didn’t. Technically, I can’t fault the summary as much as the word count, but I’ll write about that some other time. Probably. But I read through the bunch I had and decided to pick what I thought was the best and start from there. For one of the blurbs.

Yep, I decided to write three and let my friends pick which was best. So my third starting point was a single sentence that had been bouncing around my brain as the opening for a blurb. That became blurb number two.

As for blurb number three, I decided to keep it short and simple. And it reads a lot like something you’d find on the back cover of a novel. It’s my favorite. But I haven’t shown any of them around yet. So I’m biased. I know which one I’m likely to go with. We’ll see if my friends agree.

Cross-posted on Tumblr

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