Monday, December 31, 2012

Mastering the Heart of the Book Blurb

First off, let's take a few minutes on this first day of 2013 to make a resolution to achieve a goal you're sure is impossible.

Impossible dreams make for long reaches and long reaches pull in more of the goodies we want. One of my impossible reaches is to master the art of  consistently writing good promotional copy for my books. I've been trying for a few decades and I'm convinced it's impossible, but I'm going to reach again.

Since 'hooks & blurbs' are Much Cheaper Than Therapy's blog topic for the  month, I decided, being that the blurb is not my strong suit, this was my wake-up call to go research the skill. I found some really interesting blog sites and some valuable tips.

The sites I chose to recommend each have their own strengths.

So, if you're just finishing up your first book and are now asking, "Blurb? Blurb? What is this blurb?' then the following links are where you should start.
This Yahoo site gives a basic overview:
Savvy Writers gives some great tips on the fundamentals we should never forget.
Tips for Writing Back Cover Copy — Guest: Roz Morris writes guidelines for both genre and non-genre fiction.

Jami Gold's blog has links to lots of fascinating subjects that might tempt you to wander off to read some. Just remember to come back to Much Cheaper Than Therapy because there is still more to discuss here..

As you dig in you'll probably find that the above tips helps you achieve on again/off again quality in your blurb writing efforts,an achievement I've also reached, but don't find that it's good enough. The following articles add some tools to apply finishing touches.
This one is more comprehensive and provides links to other articles.
This is the Romantic Times online site ant the page is on a blurb writing contest. The contestants each posted their blurbs for feedback from Kristen Nelson, a well-known and established agent. Take the time to study what Kristen had to say and notice the huge disconnect between each writer's coach's comments and the comments from a professional in the industry.
Last but not least is an article from Angela Booth, in which she presents an often cited formula for writing your blurb.

Each and every story is composed of the same five basic elements:  a (1) hero who finds himself stuck in a (2) situation from which he wants to free himself by achieving a (3) goal. However, there is a (4) villain who wants to stop him from this, and if he’s successful, will cause the hero to experience a (5) disaster.
I'd forgotten about this formula and am so happy I ran across it because now I can write a decent short blurb, another skill that's needed in today's changing and impatient marketplace. The above sites were talking more about longer query letter or back cover copy but eBook publishing is changing the way blurbs are written. Instead of flowing sentences and connected paragraphs, the small space given on eBook publishing sites and the very nature of the online reader begs us to summarize in just a few quick snappy sentences. Bullet points are often used. These would state the situation, the obstacle, and the consequences of failure. Often names aren't even used.

And with that I've reached the end of my knowledge on this subject but I am always studying and always blogging, so there may be more to come. In the meantime, I also got an education and hope this summary was of benefit to you.

I am curious, I must say, about the experience other writers have had with blurbs. Do you find them easy to write? Do you find them so impossible you have someone else write them? Are you on again/off again in quality? Do you love them? Hate them? Drop in a leave a comment about your experiences. I love to chat with readers.

A Christmas combination of two paranormal romances THE FIRE OPAL and SHADOW OF THE WOLF and one short romantic suspense OLD BONES all in one combined package.  Available through  

The books of Connie Flynn, a bestselling, award-winning author of ten novels and several short stories, are become popular with eBooks readers these days. She writes in several genres, including paranormal romance, romantic comedy and romantic action/adventure and contemporary fantasy. Look for several more new releases from her in 2013.


Romance, She Wrote said...

Hi Connie - I actually think that writing the blurb isn't any easier than writing the book When my short story book is finished and I need the blurb and synopsis I may just hire someone to help :)

Thanks for the good information. Maria

Connie Flynn said...

Glad it helped. And I feel your pain about blurbs.