What is a Blurb?

According to the Maquarie Dictionary a blurb is ‘an announcement of advertisement, usually an effusively laudatory one, especially on the jacket flap or back of a book’.

For authors, the back cover blurb is an essential marketing tool for their book. It tells potential readers a little bit about the book’s contents without giving too much away. It explains why someone should buy and read a book, and shares snippets of information about the author.

Features of a Blurb

Blurbs are usually found on the back cover of a printed book. An ebook blurb is more likely to be at the front. Ebook store websites often use a shortened version of a printed book’s blurb to describe what the book is about to assist people browsing their pages. Readers visiting a book store (either ‘bricks and mortar’ or virtual) will first be attracted by a book’s cover, then head straight to the blurb. A well-written blurb helps to converts potential readers into paying customers.

Blurbs should be brief and punchy; around 100–150 words is ideal. An attention-grabbing headline or tagline is a good tactic to use at the start of the blurb. The tone should be upbeat with a catchy opening sentence that taps into a reader’s emotions. Often the first sentence is a question which is designed to set up a query in a reader’s mind. The genre, main theme and protagonist should be mentioned early, then some mystery should be created around the main conflict. Finally, it’s a good idea to include in a few details about the author that gives them credibility as an authority in their subject field or as a capable writer. This could include the fact that they are already a published author.

Advantages of a Professionally Written Blurb

By the time an author is ready to write the blurb for their book, they have become so involved in the story that they may find it difficult to distance themselves from it. This is where an external viewpoint from someone else who has read the manuscript is useful. And a professional copy writer will know just what to say and how to say it to entice readers to buy the book.

An engaging blurb that is engaging and cleverly written conveys the message to the buyer that they are purchasing a good quality book. Employing a professional to write your blurb is a wise investment and one of the key factors in ensuring the success of your book.