Your book blurb is one of the most important components of a successful book launch because it’s essentially your sales pitch. Once you’ve persuaded a potential reader to click on your book’s link, your blurb will be the driving force behind whether they ultimately decide to purchase or not.
Fact: Your book blurb is just as important as your book cover and title.
With thousands of books published every day, you need to capture attention quickly and make sure they have enough information within a few seconds to want to buy your book. Here are a few tips for crafting killer blurbs that will capture attention and sell more books.
Keep it short and direct
Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you want to keep your blurb short and punchy so that readers can scan it in a matter of seconds.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see authors make is in creating lengthy blurbs that feature chunks of endless text. No one is going to read that because most people scan pages of content! So, break your blurb down into short 2-3 line sentences and use spacing.
Study Successful Blurbs
There’s often a formula to a well-written blurb and so the best way to come up with a killer one of your own is to study those that have proven to sell!
Spend some time reading the blurbs from the top 10-20 books in your genre. Take notes. Pay close attention to the format and structure. Write down power words that caught your attention.
Benefits Come First
For nonfiction authors, you should take advantage of bullet points that will highlight the benefits of purchasing your book. Focus on digestible content, broken down into snippets that outline the most valuable information.
For fiction authors, you should always include action words that are genre specific. Keep the text moving with action and energy and start with a strong headline that summarizes the type of story you’re selling. Your sentences need to be pointed and engaging, and you should always introduce your main characters by name. Just don’t give too much away!
Start with describing the tone of your book, identify the conflict and promise a twist.
Tip: Write your fiction book blurb in the style of the actual book. If your story was written in first-person POV, your blurb should also be written in first person.
Use Powerful Headlines
Whether you’re a nonfiction or fiction author, you should always start the blurb with a powerful headline.
Start with your biggest benefit, or in the case of fiction, a shocking or engaging sentence that will appeal to readers in that genre.
Using boldface text throughout your blurb will help your text stand out. Just be sure not to overdo it. Bold only important words or parts that you want to emphasize, otherwise it’ll lose its effectiveness. When writing fiction, I tend to use headlines that immediately introduce my character to the reader.
Meet Angela Parker: Time traveler, skilled in magic, kick-ass witch on a mission.
Or, I start with a headline that identifies the genre with a brief character description:
Two gorgeous dragons, and one woman who gave up on love a long time ago…
Take Advantage of Amazon’s Code
A lot of authors don’t realize it, but you can use HTML code to make your blurb instantly stand out. This includes bold, italics, underlining, strike-through, and more.
Note: You’ll have to do this from within your KDP account as it won’t work when editing your book blurb from within Author Central.
Here’s a link to the full list of available HTML elements:
I don’t use all the HTML elements as to not bog down my content. Using too much of it will also lose its effectiveness. The ones I tend to use the most include:
<b> text goes here </b> – This will bold all text within the open and closed brackets.
<i> text goes here </i> – This italicizes all text within the open and closed brackets.
<h1> text goes here </h1> – This is what I use to make my headlines bold.
Regardless what genre you write in, your blurb needs to hook readers instantly, and stand out in a crowded market.
Writing a blurb for a fiction book is often a lot harder than nonfiction because you need to get readers excited about your story without giving too much away. For many, they go too deep into the story, describing the beginning, middle and end. Why would readers bother to buy the book when they’re given a full outline? That certainly doesn’t get people excited or curious, right?
What I do:
One exercise that’s helped me write strong, concise blurbs without getting too wordy is to set a 30-second timer. Once it starts, I begin to describe my story in as a few words as possible while focusing on the most exciting, energetic and captivating sentences that I think readers would care most about.
By limiting yourself to only 30 seconds or less, you’ll learn to toss out ideas and sentences that do little to invoke curiosity or excitement. Instead, you’ll focus on creating the most powerful pitch possible. Always lead with a hook and keep them glued to the page.
Lead with the greatest benefit. Include a powerful headline, break down content into digestible, short sentences and use bullet-points to highlight important information.
If possible, include a bio, quotes from well-known authors, reviews and any other social proof you have available. Your job is to reassure potential readers that your book offers tremendous value and that you are providing a solution to a problem they’re having.
In Nonfiction credibility is everything, so if you have case studies or research to back up the content of your book, consider mentioning it in your blurb. You could also include an author byline that showcases any awards you’ve received such as a bestsellers title.
Just be careful not to get carried away with an overly lengthy blurb. Again, keep your blurb copy concise and direct.
Cut out the hype, use everyday words that your reader will understand, and do your best to connect to your audience on a personal level by using copy that addresses their concerns, acknowledges their most burning questions and promises to deliver a solution.
End with a Cliffhanger
Your blurb’s objective is to get reader’s excited about your book and leave them with unanswered questions.
If you write fiction, consider ending your blurb with a question, or put your character in peril so that readers are curious to see how they get themselves out of a sticky situation.
Here’s an example of one of my cliffhanger blurbs:
I’m a skilled mage with an arsenal of magic at my disposal. I sure as hell don’t need some cocky, arrogant dragon shifter protecting me, even if he is drop-dead gorgeous.
But what if I’m wrong?
A murderous Warlock is on the rampage, and he won’t give up. The road to survival is marked with betrayal and deceit, some by the people I love the most.
If I want to survive, I must put my life in the hands of a cursed shifter—that is, if I make it through the night.
The blurb above ends on a note of danger. The goal is to keep readers on the edge of their seats and to invoke curiosity about the story and fear for the character.
Here’s another example:
Hannah is no stranger to danger, nor is she afraid to roll up her sleeves and let her magic fly. Battling warlocks, goblins and vampires is nothing new, but when she returns home all hell breaks loose. Literally.
And things are about to get a lot more complicated.
What once made Hannah special has now made her a target, and she’s about to walk right into their trap.
And yet another that ends with a question:
Will Gabriel be successful in his attempt to rescue Senna from danger? And if they make a run for it, will they be able to survive in a world of ruthless aliens and shifters who will stop at nothing to destroy them?
Inject genre-based keywords
Keywords help readers find your books, so it’s important to use them in as many places as possible, including: your book title, sub-title, series name and of course, your blurb!
Here’s a keyword centric blurb for an urban fantasy fiction book:
Accidental Magic is the gripping first story in the Magic & Mayhem Series. If you enjoy stories filled with enchanting creatures, otherworldly monsters, inhuman allies, and a dash of romance in a fantasy setting, this is the series for you.
You want to use words that cater to your audience and are genre-specific.
For paranormal romance, you might use shapeshifters, or Alpha. In nonfiction, a book based on finding a work from home job might include telecommuting, financial freedom, work in your PJ’s, etc.
Words such as “Unbelievable”, “Incredible”, “Amazing” and “Astonishing” are influential, powerful words that evoke curiosity and emotion. Use them sparingly! You don’t want your blurb to feel like it’s nothing but hype.
The bottom line is that your blurb needs to connect with its target audience. A successful description will capture attention instantly and keep it long enough to convince the buyer to click the purchase link.
Test out different blurbs.
Ask for feedback from your street team, beta readers, or mailing list. Readers from my author group have helped tweak many of my blurbs, and since they’re my target audience, they also provide the most invaluable feedback when helping me decide what to write next.
Invite authors to critique your blurb.
Join author support groups and share your blurb with others in your genre. You’ll be surprised just how many authors are willing to critique your blurb and help you tighten up weak points.
Don’t rush this process.
Writing a powerful blurb that motivates readers into purchasing your book takes time. Prepare to rewrite it several times before you’re satisfied. I promise, it’ll be worth the effort.