“Writing a short book blurb is not only fun, but great practice for writing promotional copy of any kind.” — Marg McAlister
I’ve pulled together information on how to write a back cover blurb.
- Here’s what’s recommended for a back cover blurb.
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Back Cover Blurb Suggestions:
- 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.
- 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.
- Use emotive words. Words that evoke the images the genre promises. However, don’t use vague words, such as “amazing,” “life-changing,” or “unbelievable.”
- End with a question or suggestion of mystery. But don’t give away how issues are resolved.
- Keep it short. Two to four paragraphs. 100-150 words.
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.
- 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.
- 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)
Enjoyed the read. Question did you mean Beaufort, NC or did you create a fictitious town named Beauport, NC? I could not find Beauport?
Great time in CA – a little scary at times driving around with Jim Freeman on the BUSY Highways 4-5 lanes, crazy.
Great weather, off to ball game with Oakland A’s today. Hiked Muir Woods about 3 miles longer than planned up and down hills. Gorgeous.
Scott, it was a typo; I spelled it right in the comment. I apologize to Sheri. Glad you’re enjoying CA.
Zoe, thanks for sharing this info. I Tweeted for you.
Elaine, thanks for your kind words and for Tweeting.
I would like to hear your back copy version for that photo.
I think it would be something about the plight of trees and how they’re ‘ll for e-books to save the lives of their families. Your turn.
Ditto for Jane. Would like to hear back copy version for that photo.
Betty, see my comment to Jane. Now, it’s your turn. :0) What do you think?
Thanks for the Cheat Sheet, Zoe! Writing backcover copy is second only to the synopsis when it comes things that make me tear out my hair.
You’re welcome, Susan. I find anytime I have to summarize upward to 80,000 words effectively a most difficult task.