Over the busy Labor Day weekend, our Critique Team Leader, Sherry Chamblee, put together a blurb workshop for CWW members in the main Facebook group. She gathered tips from some authors and feedback from readers. I’ve tried to encapsulate all that we learned from the workshop in this post.
What is a blurb supposed to do? What should a blurb include?
Sherry pointed out, “I think that often as authors we write our blurb thinking about what we ‘intended’ our book to be, rather than what the final product really is. And you know, sometimes those two things are not the same.”
Maggie R. David said, “A blurb should be one big, hook that makes people want to scroll up and click buy. You need to capture the person’s thoughts, make them think what it would be like, make them FEEL, hit their hot spots, their emotions”
Dori De Vries Harrell also said that blurbs should be “snappy and fast paced, with all nonessential words cut out.”
Throughout the discussion, we found that the blurb should show the reader the main character(s), match the tone of your story/writing, and reveal the main conflict.
Author, Liwen Ho, stated: “I write romance and I try to include some personality descriptors of the main characters that readers may be able to relate to and one conflict the characters face in the book.”
Mary Campagna Findley (http://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com): for some feedback about blurbs. “It’s actually a bad idea to tell the story. You want to make the reader buy the book and read the story. I try to pull them in by giving some enticing tidbits about characters, setting, and problems that make the reader want to know more. Hint about coming romance, or danger, or somebody pulled out of his or her comfort zone. Find a hook that fits the age group, the genre, or something that will draw readers in. Show how your characters are going to save/change/make the world better.”
How long should it be?
More from Mary: “In my opinion, under 300 words Is less really better: Yes. The shorter it is, the more likely people will read it. The more concentrated it is, the better it will communicate without giving too much away or tiring readers out.”
Mary said, “Get feedback. Most of us can spot weaknesses in the work of others better than in our own.
Dori De Vries Harrell also advised, “Have your editor go over it!”
One reader, Nadine C. Keels, added that sometimes blurbs can be misleading. “It seems that blurbs oftentimes tell me too much, they don’t quite match the story itself in details or tone, or they lay on language clearly designed to “sell” the book but the effect just sounds overdramatic or corny to me. One heartwrenching decision might shatter her world and transform her destiny forever! Sometimes there does seem to be a challenging pull between wanting a blurb to be interesting but not wanting it to make the book sound like something it’s not. Too many blurbs that I’ve felt misrepresented their books are what turned me off of blurbs. But when I do read (or scan) them now, I prefer something honest and concise over an “intriguing” description that sets me up for something other than what the book itself is really offering. Like if the blurb is worded to sound thrilling, but the novel itself is mostly contemplative, or if the blurb makes a big deal out of an event that turns out to be minor or beside the point the author is actually trying to make through the story.”
Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.
You can connect with Sherry online in the following places: