How to Write a Good Blurb

How to Write a Good Blurb

Writing a blurb for another person is not as difficult as writing the blurb for your own book. One fellow writer even stated: “I don't even think authors should be doing it by themselves. It's not possible. We're just not objective enough.”

This is because an author is so engaged in their own stories that they believe every tiny bit of it is important. It may be important but not for the blurb. Before learning how to write a good blurb, we need to clarify what a blurb is and what purpose it serves.

What is a Blurb?

A blurb is an introduction to the MC’s world and the conflict that must hook the reader to read the story. The word count should be 120-150 words.

As simple as it might sound, it’s not so easy to implement. A good blurb for each genre will be different. This is why authors need to be aware of their genre and readers’ expectations for that genre. E.g. The conflict in Romance is always about whether or not the MC and his/her love interest will become a pair. The obstacle in Romance might be internal (some beliefs MC needs to change), or external (family circumstances and so on).

As you can see, even in one genre there’s a variety of potentially good blurbs. So, how much should be told in the blurb?

My advice is not to include content beyond the inciting incident. (If the story is well crafted and highlights are presented correctly, it’s no further than ⅓ of the story). Now, we have reduced the events in the story we need to focus on for our blurb. We also need to pose a question at the end of the blurb. This question is raised by highlighting the obstacles that stop the MC from getting what they want to achieve.

Let’s sum up what the blurb should have:

  • Introduction of setting, MC, and his/her wants;

  • Conflict/Obstacles standing in MC’s way.

One thing authors usually misunderstand (especially in fantasy) is the needs/wants of MC. There’s the belief that the blurb must show the MC’s need to save the world.

The truth is that a protagonist who needs to save the world is boring. The concept is so overdone it has lost the weight it used to carry. The conflict should be unique because of who your MC is as a unique individual, so highlight their personal goals.

There’s one more thing I would like to highlight about blurbs. The focus of the blurb varies depending on the length of the story.

  • A blurb for a flash would be 2-3 sentences and focus on the event that the MC faces.

  • A blurb for a short story or novel would be 120-150 words and focus on the MC and their inner conflict.

  • A blurb for a book series would be the same length as the one for a novel, but it will focus on the overarching theme for all the books in the series.

A blurb needs to set the mood for the story and get the readers hooked.

Now, you know everything that you need to nail your blurb. Go and revise it.

You can find more analytical insights on my book marketing and developmental editing blog.