Monday 30 September 2019

Blurbs - Hook Your Reader

by Enisa Haines

You've completed your novel and now it's time to write the back book cover blurb. Those 150-200 words on the back of the book that grab a reader's attention, intriguing them and enticing them to buy.

How do you write the blurb? In an earlier post author Marilyn Forsyth described the many ways (The Blurb - Make it Count!) and what I learned is that it's not a shorter version of the synopsis as I'd somehow convinced myself. The blurb is a teaser mentioning the setting, the main characters, the conflict and a glimpse of the plot. Most important of all are the tagline, the hook that snags your reader, and the last statement, the hook that leaves the reader yearning for more.

The back book cover blurb to Under Currents by Nora Roberts -
"The perfect facade can hide dark undercurrents" - gives a sinister feel and readers know immediately the story is romantic suspense.

The back cover book blurb final statement to Marry in Secret by Anne Gracie - "But Rose never did follow the rules, and as she takes matters into her own unpredictable hands, Thomas finds himself in an unexpected and infuriating predicament: he is falling in love with his wife..." - tempts readers into immersing themselves in a sweet, romantic tale that promises a happy ending.

How to perfect the tagline? The last statement? Think about your story. What is it's selling point? Is it the main characters, or the plot point that sends them on their journey and pits them against each other? Know the answers to these questions and what to include in the blurb will be clearer.

Do blurbs catch your attention? Do they convince you to buy? Are there any blurbs so memorable you'd like to share? 

Love to love: impulse buys when a blurb reels me in.

Love to laugh: at some of the blurbs I've written - mediocre at best (that's laugh after a good, long cry!)

Love to learn: how to write the perfect blurb.


  1. Back cover blurb is so important! I always put a lot of time into crafting mine (even though I know my publisher will make changes). A sentence from one of my favourite blurbs is 'He shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that she becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire, and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives'. If you know me well, you'll know exactly which book it's from.

  2. Hi Marilyn. Blurbs can make or break a book. They are vital if you want to attract readers. Re your favourite blurb, Jamie perhaps? 😀

  3. Back cover blurbs are difficult to write, but so important in marketing a book. One of my favourite lines from a back cover blurb is from "the Rosie Result" by Graeme Simsion. Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman's son Hudson is having difficulty fitting in at school. Simsion writes, "Don's spent a lifetime trying to fit in - so who better to teach Hudson the skills he needs?" This one line persuaded me to buy the book. I knew the skilfully constructed humour of the other Rosie novels would be there. I wasn't disappointed.

  4. Hi Sharon. Yes, the blurbs got me to buy The Rosie Project and the sequel. And I was glad I did. Loved the books.

  5. It's definitely important to have a good blurb but I have to say I really struggle. Unlike Marilyn, I don't spend a lot of time crafting it because I know mine always get changed by the publisher and (I absolutely admit), the publisher gets it done so much better!! A regular reviewer that I have on Netgalley also writes lines in her reviews that I read and I think, 'Gosh, I wish I could've seen that and used it as a blurb or tagline!!" Some people just have the knack I guess.
    Thanks for an interesting post, Enisa.

  6. I always read the blurbs! It can be a deal maker or breaker for me! I admire the people who come up with the catchy phrases that reel readers in - although I think some readers are very happy to be reeled into romance. Me, for example. I think they're really important, and if I don't get a sense of the book, one book among many others, I confess I sometimes move on and don't linger to read the first page. Shallow of me, I know, but Romancelandia gives us such a smorgasboard to enjoy. I really love that blurb from Anne Gracie, and the book is a winner.


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