Besides a beautiful book cover and perhaps your author brand, the book blurb is another crucial element that determines whether a customer buys your book or not.
This is where you tell readers what your fiction book is about, what genre it falls under etc.
And this is where you entice them with compelling copy.
Here are some tips on how to write a fiction book blurb that sells.
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1. Start With An Intriguing Tagline
Okay, so this tagline is a personal choice. But I enjoy creating them for my books as well as reading taglines of other books (to get inspiration).
Tagline is a short sentence that
- Creates the tone of the book
- Hints at the plot or conflict
Basically, it’s a teaser that arrests your readers’ attention so they continue reading the blurb.
You can specifically create a book tagline for each book. Or if it’s a series, just use the same series tagline for each book.
2. Introduce Your Protagonist
Briefly describe your protagonist
- Demographic: male or female, young or old
- Species: human, vampire, werewolf
- Special Ability (if any): ability to time travel
You can also include the following if they’re essential to the plot. But I tend to leave this out in the blurb and show my readers how the protagonist looks like as well as his or her personality in the story itself.
- Appearance: short or tall, hair color
- Characteristics/Traits: adventurous, smart
Do consider including the job title too. For example, if I mention that the protagonist is a secretary, readers will know that the book will revolve around office life.
Do not, I repeat, do not list too many characters. Every time you mention a character in the blurb, you’re bombarding readers with another unfamiliar name. This will only confuse readers, especially if your blurb also mentions invented names of fictional places.
3. Introduce The World/Setting
Again, you can briefly describe the world or setting of your book
- Era: present-day modern times, Victorian era
- Geographic Location: United States, United Kingdom, Asia
- Specific Location: school, office
Geographic location, for instance, could be important for ethnic books or books that talk about a protagonist being born in one country and brought up in another.
By highlighting whether the story takes place in the school or office, you also hint readers that it’s a middle grade or young adult book.
Also, if your story happens in a fictional world you invented, you can elaborate further so that readers can have a rough idea of what the world is like.
As mentioned, do not list all fictional locations at once. Readers might get baffled since they’ve never heard of these names before.
4. Hint At Plot But Don’t Give Away Everything
Obviously, you need to state what’s happening in the book. But don’t give away everything!
You can provide brief details or just give your readers a general idea of what’s going to happen.
However, you don’t have to get down to the nitty-gritty.
For instance, you could hint at the potential romance between your protagonist and a new guy she met. But you don’t have to mention how the love confession happened or how they started dating etc.
Leave room for imagination so your readers become curious and eager to know more (perhaps even urge them to buy the book!).
5. Build Up Tension & Hint At Conflict
Just like how most fiction uses the three-act structure, your blurb also needs to have the similar structure of
Your book blurb should build up tension and hint at conflict towards the end. You could talk about
- Your protagonist’s goal, quest or adventure
- Major problem he or she needs to solve
- Difficult issue he or she encounters
Conflicts can also be internal or external.
- Internal Conflicts: character vs self
- External Conflicts: character vs character, character vs nature, character vs society
Do mention the dire consequences if the conflict is not resolved.
However, as mentioned earlier, you don’t need to give away everything. And this includes the resolution. It’s highly recommended that you don’t reveal how the book ends. There’s no point to reading a book when you already know the ending.
6. End With An Impact
This can be done by simply ending with a powerful punctuation like
- Question mark (?): make your readers think about a certain aspect of your book or simply, what would happen next
- Ellipsis (…): deliberately omitting something or not finishing your sentence will intrigue readers
I try not to end with
- Exclamation mark (!): seems rude to me where you’re shouting in the face of your reader
- Dash/En Dash/Em Dash (—): this abrupt break seems too sudden (unlike the ellipsis which is more toned down)
Your last sentence of the blurb should accomplish 2 goals
- Pique readers’ curiosity
- Propel them to buy your book
7. State Genre, Book Length & Series
After the synopsis, you can state your book’s genre and length.
Whether it’s a paranormal romance or sci-fi story. Whether it’s a novella or novel, short or long read.
You can outright mention this like how I did for my book.
- Counting Down To Meeting You, a paranormal romance novella of 19k words, is the first installment of a complete trilogy.
Or you can weave it into a marketing copy like
- If you like [certain genres/authors’ books], you’ll love this
- Embark on a thrilling adventure/sizzling romance
If the book is part of a series, do mention it.
For example, I highlight that it’s the first book in a series and that it’s part of a completed series. This is because there are some readers who only buy books of completed series (they don’t want to be left hanging and waiting for the next book).
Note that if your story is a romance, then the synopsis should be romantic. Likewise, if your story is a mystery, then the synopsis should be dark and mysterious. Set the tone and mood of your book right from the start!
8. Mention Achievements & Reviews
If your book won an award or received editorial reviews, do highlight them!
This will give readers another reason to buy your book. Plus, you assure them that the book is good and well-liked by many.
9. Always Write In Present Tense
Even if your story is written in past tense, you should always write your blurb in the present tense.
Present tense conveys a sense of being in the midst of an event. And by being in the middle of an action, everything mentioned in the blurb is happening now.
This immediacy closes the distance between readers and the story.
Ultimately, present tense compels readers because they are essentially experiencing the events of the book.
Bonus Tip: Get Inspiration From Blurbs Of Top 10 Books In Your Genre
Just check the popular books or hot new releases on Amazon. Note how other authors in your genre wrote the blurbs for their books.
You can even consider keeping a swipe file of interesting blurbs you’ve found!
Bonus Tip: Always Test Your Blurb & Get Feedback
Do consider testing your blurb.
You could showcase 2 versions then ask for feedback from authors, beta readers or even your family and friends.
- How they feel about the blurb
- Whether they can guess which genre the book falls under
- Whether the first line of the blurb arrests their attention to continue reading the rest
- Whether they feel compelled to buy the book
Now It’s Your Turn
Personally, I feel that the author should be the one to write the blurb cause he or she knows the book best.
But you can always hire someone to write the blurb. Because a blurb is essentially a promotional copy. Which might require some copywriting skills and experience. There are many book blurb gigs on Fiverr. In fact, I saw this gig while browsing and the taglines from his portfolio are just amazing.
How did you write your book blurb? What techniques have you implemented?
Let’s learn and share from each other’s tips. And boost our book sales together~
PS. You can learn book marketing tips from classes like How To Write And Publish An eBook and Sell Your First 1000 Books or watch streaming broadcasts of free online classes at CreativeLive. You can also join online courses at Udemy~