How to Make Your Back Cover Blurb Entice Readers for a Sale

“Writing a short book blurb is not only fun, but great practice for writing promotional copy of any kind.” — Marg McAlister

 

by click
by click

I’ve pulled together information on how to write a back cover blurb.

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  • Here’s what’s recommended for a back cover blurb.
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Back Cover Blurb Suggestions:

  1. Give the set-up. Include a headline that gives the big idea. Name and introduce main characters in a way readers will expect to identify with a hero or heroine. Give an idea of setting and a simple hint of plot. For romance, give what tears the hero and heroine apart. Include the external conflict.
  2. Answer the question: What’s in it for me?The blurb’s a sales pitch. It builds curiosity. Promises to deliver something the reader wants. Shows how this book is different.
  3. Use emotive words. Words that evoke the images the genre promises. However, don’t use vague words, such as “amazing,” “life-changing,” or “unbelievable.”
  4. End with a question or suggestion of mystery. But don’t give away how issues are resolved.
  5. Keep it short. Two to four paragraphs. 100-150 words.
by Pennywise
by Pennywise

EXAMPLE: A Deeper Cut by Sheri Wren Haymore (Thriller)

A PRANK GONE HORRIBLY WRONG…

When Hunter Kittrell and his beautiful friend, Miki, arrive in Beauport, North Carolina for their summer stay, they decide to liven up the small town by pulling a harmless prank. That “harmless prank,” however, quickly finds them deeply entangled in a blood bath face-off with a knife-wielding serial killer.

As the usually-peaceful town is dragged into chaos, Hunter and Miki find themselves drawn more deeply into the investigation, and it turns out their connections to the murders may not be as tenuous as they seemed at first. As the investigation continues, burning questions bubble to the surface: Why is Hunter being framed for the murder? And why are there mentions of his long-lost father popping up all over town?

Everything comes crashing down to a startling conclusion on Hunter’s 21st birthday, when he’s finally forced to confront the truths he’s been running from all his life.

COMMENTS:

  • The header piques my curiosity. What was the prank, and how did it go wrong? The first paragraph names and introduces the characters. We’re given the setting: Beaufort, North Carolina. The simple plot and external conflict is the prank and how it puts them in a face-off with a serial killer.
  • What’s in it for the reader? The last sentence of the first paragraph assures me I’ll get a thriller.
  • The emotive words run from lovely images to those of horror: beautiful, harmless, blood bath, face-off, and knife-wielding, to name a few.
  • The blurb is within the suggested length: 150 words long, including the header. And it has three paragraphs.
  • In the second paragraph, we’re given stimulating questions we can’t answer. They’re unlike the tired question for some romances: “Will they rise above their problems and fall in love?” Yes. If it’s a romance, they better.
  • The third paragraph tells us we’ll read toward the hero’s 21st birthday when we’ll learn the truth. It doesn’t give away the resolution.

 

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  • Try these 5 suggestions for an enticing back cover blurb.
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What do you look for in a back cover blurb to decide if you’ll read/buy a book?

(Sheri Haymore’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SheriWrenHaymore)

What do you think is the back cover blurb on this book? by niera94
What do you think is the back cover blurb on this book?
by niera94

How to Ground Your Reader at the Start of Each Scene


“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
— Tom Clancy

file000335411245.jpg 

We’ve looked at the importance of the first lines of chapter one, scene one. But how about all the other scenes?

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  • Your scene openings must not leave your readers feeling like they’ve just snapped out of a coma.
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file000782821910.jpgThe first lines of a scene must let the reader know the “who,” “where,” “when,” and “mood” of the scene so the reader is ready for new action and events.

Let’s look at two scene lead-ins that do well in grounding the reader, and see why that is.

EXCERPT 1: The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren (Chapter 3/Scene 1)

file0001593792043.jpgShe hurt everywhere – her arms, her legs – her entire body ached, right to her bones. And her head. As if a vise gripped it, pain screwed through her, eliciting a moan from places deep inside.

“I’m right here, Noelle.

The voice brought her forward, from the webbed blackness, from the place where pain held her prisoner. …

Where’s the grounding? This opening shows me a female is just realizing her pain from an event. In the dialog, Warren quickly lets us know it’s Noelle. Then in the next sentence, we learn she’s been unconscious.

I like this because instead of Warren telling us right up front that Noelle realizes she’s been unconscious, she lets us experience the confusion with Noelle. In this case, the reader experiencing uncertainty about the “where” works.

But Warren soon removes the confusion. In the next paragraph, she uses smells and sights to let us know Noelle is in a hospital. Now we’re ready to roll.

EXCERPT 2: The Narrow Path by Gail Sattler (Chapter 4/Scene 2)

file9311242742595.jpgAch, you should not be here in my kitchen getting your own tea. You are a guest.” Susan extended one arm in the direction of the doorway. “You should be showing your pictures and good ideas to the men. I will bring you more tea when it is ready. Go into the living room.”

“Thanks,” Miranda said. Nervously, she ran her hand down her slim skirt. …

Where’s the grounding? From the Ach, I immediately know the speaker is one of the Mennonite characters. Then I know we’re in the kitchen and the speaker is Susan. I know some tension exists. And from information in prior scenes, I’d know the other person’s identity by what Susan says the person should be doing and that she’s a guest. But in case I don’t know, Sattler tells me it’s Miranda in the very next paragraph.

I like this because Sattler used dialog effectively to ground me. And interesting dialog, at that. The foreign expression hints at the speaker’s “who.” Susan’s accusation gets the “where” established. Her advice shows the other person’s identity.

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  • Look for interesting techniques to ground readers at the start of a scene.
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What advice and cautions do you have on grounding the reader in a scene?

How You Can Start an Easy Blog Hop—A Live Example

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

 

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  • Would you like to start an easy blog hop? Learn with me.
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Below the dot points is the actual Blog Hop.

How this Blog Hop works.

An original host set the topic and rules. Unlike some blog hops, this one has no widget button, set duration, or contest. It hops to multiple blogs, introducing visitors to writers’ blogs and to their writing.

For example:

  • After Sandra invited me and two other writers to join this blog hop, she sent us the four questions the original host created.
  • Then Sandra let us know when she posted on her blog her answers and the links to our blogs.
  • We waited one to two weeks so the visitors she sent to our blogs could view our normal blog posts.
  • Now we’re answering the four questions on our blogs, and we each give links to other writers’ blogs. And on it goes.

Here’s the actual Blog Hop.

I thank Sandra Ardoin for inviting me to this blog hop. Sandra writes historical romance and historical romantic suspense. Visit her blog, where she posts book reviews under many genres and advice on writing. Here are Sandra’s answers to the questions.

What am I working on? 

quarter.jpgHeads and tails. I’m at the head of the process for a new contemporary romance. This week, it’s off to my agent to send to the editors who requested it at writers’ conferences. Proposal blurb: “Forced to caddy for her father, a young golfer meets her ideal man; he’s noble, he’s an amazing golfer, and his father is the sleazebag who stole her dad’s golf scholarship.”

 

5580-5608_ivc3a1n_melenchc3b3n_serrano_morguefile-2.jpgI’m on the tail end of the process for my first contracted contemporary romance, Calculated Risk, soon to be released. Now the promotion work begins. Cover blurb: “What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing rep? Romance becomes a calculated risk.”

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Cheeky comes to mind. In these novels, I get to say the things I sometimes think. That confessed, I share my faith in God through the difficult journeys of my characters—in between the sass and humor.

I’m a retired actuary, married to one, so it was fun to give the little-understood profession to my hero in Calculated Risk. (An actuary is a mathematician responsible for evaluating the financial risks of insurance companies.)mp900405508.jpg

How’d I jump from actuaries to the love story of two young golfers caddying on a PGA tour? How could I not, when I saw the two cutest young caddies standing together on a putting green at a golf tournament? The what-ifs abounded.

Why do I write what I do? 

Cheeky comes to mind… Seriously, I can save money making my heart melt writing my own love scenes, laughing at my own humor, and crying at my own tender moments. Seriously now, after four unsold manuscripts, I found what every writer hopes to find: my writer’s voice. Now, I can’t stop chattering in any other voice.

How does my writing process work?

sw_editing_n10_20130809_230442.jpgSlowly comes to mind. I’m an edit junky. I edit as I write. I polish what I’ve edited before I submit chapters to my critique partner. I edit as I incorporate her suggestions. I edit the whole manuscript. Then I edit again after my husband reads it. I think maybe I edited the life out of my first four manuscripts. I’m more careful now.

Please visit the blogs of the writers listed below. In a week or so, enjoy their answers to the above questions.

Joanne Sher – Joanne writes children’s picture books. She is a regular at several blogs: Jewels of Encouragement; The Barn Door; The Internet Café; and Faithwriters. So hop over to her blog, to read a post there or to be directed to hop to the blog she’s posting at today.

Sally Jo Pitts – Sally Jo writes stories “steeped in the mysteries of life and love.” She posts Personal Background Investigation – Assignments on her blog: Sally Jo Pitts Investigative Prose. Fun personal stories.

Jane Thompson – Jane is working on a pre-Columbian novel. Her blog, Glimpse of Peace encourages healing and wholeness through Jane’s many experiences, including those as a missionary in Honduras.