Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Book Blurb (It Totally Matters)

Don't fall off the blurb cliff.
A book blurb: also known as a summarization of the plot of the book. If you are an author, you know that there are few things more important that getting the blurb of your book perfect. A blurb is meant to give potential readers an idea of the story you want to tell them, and if it sounds interesting enough, they just might buy your book...and the rest will be epic literature history. 
J.K. Rowling, anyone? 
I'm asked to feature or review books all the time, so I've seen the best of the best and worst of the worst. Let me tell you what works. 
Here are a few foolproof tips to making your book blurb amazing. 

  • Practice Makes Perfect. You should be able to sum up your book in a single sentence. If you can't, you don't know your story well enough. One way to practice this skill is by making a list of your favorite movies and summarizing their plots in one sentence. For example, a sentence summary for Air Force One would be: Air Force One is hijacked by terrorists, and the President of the United States is the only passenger who can save the innocent lives aboard the jet. 
  • Study the Best. Pick up a book at Barnes & Noble. Turn it over. What do you see? If it's a paperback, you'll see a plot summary, or a book blurb (yes, there can be promotional blurbs, too, but that's another story). What is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone's blurb like? What about City of Bones, Twilight, or The Hunger Games? What about those plot summations draw you in? 
  • Don't Overdo It. Let me tell you something. The best blurbs are short and punchy. They hook you into the story. So if your blurb is looking like a book report, or a mere recitation of the plot facts, good luck selling your book. Make. It. Shine. Yes, shorter really is better, because less is actually more. The more words you have in your blurb, the less likely people are to read to the last sentence. Read some of Jennifer L. Armentrout's book blurbs and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about: her blurbs are so entertaining, you forget that it's a blurb. 
  • Pretend. Pretend you have one chance to pitch your story to Paramount or Disney - and the grand prize is a five book deal, a movie contract and a screenwriting gig. It's amazing what motivation does. 
Before I end this, let me give you an example of the plot summary for my NaNoWriMo book: 
What would you do if the world as you know it ended in an instant?
How far would you go to survive?

How much more basic and simple can you get? I can go into more detail underneath that so-called blurb, to give people a feel for the characters, but in just a couple of sentences, I've posed a question while giving people insight into the subject of my story. Both things will make them think about the question (which will make them remember my book), and get them curious. So they'll keep reading more. And let's face it: that's the whole point, my friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Get fictional - it's fun! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!