Book blurbs. What should you include? What do you leave out? There isn’t a secret formula for writing a book blurb, but Laurie Schnebly Campbell is here to give us the skinny on factors you should consider when creating your blurb.
Comment for a chance to win free registration to Laurie’s Blurbing Your Book workshop. (Details below)
All you’ve gotta do is sell ONE, right?
For writers who dream of buying a castle in France and creating a new novel every few years while overlooking their vineyards from the tower library, selling only one book to some incredibly wealthy patron might be the perfect answer.
Most writers aren’t natural sales people.
If we were, we’d be out there selling cars. Or cosmetics. Or office supplies. Or anything that requires an innate ability to make people plunk down their money for whatever we want ’em buying.
But for those of us who are more introverted?
We need to do something else.
We need to write a killer blurb.
Your blurb is what does the heavy lifting when it comes to making people want your book.
Sure, great reviews help. Extroverted friends help. Industry contacts help.
What helps most of all, though, is a blurb that makes readers think “Hmm, this sounds like a book I’ll enjoy. I’m gonna order it right now.”
What makes ’em say that?
Ask any ten readers, and you’ll get a lot of repeat answers. “Great plot.” “Dreamy hero.” “My favorite setting.” “I love that author.” (Yes, we all love that reader.)
But how does this reader know it’s a fabulous plot, dreamy hero, favorite setting and beloved author?
Oh, right. It’s in the blurb.
Or is it?
Well, it SHOULD be. At least some of the highlights of your book need to shine in the blurb, because that’s your one chance at convincing strangers they’re gonna love this story.
The tricky part is that not every reader is going to thrill to the same highlights. One might adore tortured heroes, while another goes for plucky heroines. Another automatically buys any story set on a ranch, while the next one goes for crime-ridden cities.
Humor. Tension. Comfort. Sensuality. Danger. Love. History. Fantasy. Suspense. Your book might have all of those, or just a few, but either way your blurb needs to identify which items are going to appeal to the readers you most want.
Who are they?
Every reader in the known universe.
If we got to pick, we’d want everyone on Planet Earth lining up to read our books. Right?
Okay, maybe that’s a bit unrealistic. But at the same time, it’s easier to say “my book will appeal to everyone” than to do the nitty-gritty work of identifying my target market.
What if we want more exposure?
That’s where a great blurb — a blurb you’ve written yourself — comes in handy. Because it contains the magic ingredients of:
* A focus on your book’s target market
* Compelling “power words” and shoutlines
* Knowledge of your unique selling points
* Right blend of plot-character-setting-opening
* A preview of your style and your voice
* Hot-button triggers that readers respond to
You won’t need every single one of those elements in your blurb. (Although of course the length makes a difference, and you need to determine which length/s will be most effective for your promotion.)
But of those elements you DO include, some deserve a lot more space than others. And of course, drat it, the proportions will be different for every book.
Which leads to:
A (prize drawing) question.
In the blurb for whatever book you’ll be marketing next, whether it’s already off to the publisher or still taking shape in your mind, what ONE element are you absolutely certain you want to include?
Share it here. You might rouse the interest of readers who love that particular element, and even if those people aren’t reading blog today, you might also win free registration to the “Blurbing Your Book” class I’m teaching next month at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BookBlurb/info .
For every 25 people who post, I’ll draw a random-dot-org winner’s name and announce that tonight.
Meanwhile, it’ll be fun seeing what cool highlights we can look forward to in books available for sale very soon!
Bio: Laurie Schnebly Campbell (BookLaurie.com) works in advertising, where her job is to convince buyers they’ll love a particular product. She’s spent years writing about products people might not think of buying, until they saw a message that makes ’em realize “yes, THIS is what I want!” She’s always pleased, but not surprised, when people who’ve taken this class report increased sales with their new and improved blurbs. To learn more about Laurie, visit her website.
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