Three books displaying different blurbs

You may have heard the term blurb before, but you don’t know what it is! A blurb is a short description of your book and can be found on the back cover. A good blurb is on par with a good cover image and both need to stand out. The blurb has to be engaging enough to convince the audience that this is one hell of a book. It is meant to be a sales pitch and should convince the reader that your book is the right one for them. You have to make sure that your blurb says everything that it needs to without being too long winded. You don’t want to overwhelm the reader with information, keep it concise (short, sweet and to the point). Different genres need different kinds of blurb but here are some general tips for blurb writing:

  1. Look at the blurbs of other books in your genre. This will give you a good idea of what information they include and exclude.
  2. Leave your readers wanting more. Give them just enough information so that they want to buy your book and read it at home.
  3. Be careful about giving too much away. Your blurb should never, for example, give away the ending of your story.
  4. Use language that is appropriate for your audience. If you writing for a general audience, avoid using too much jargon.
  5. Keep it short, sweet and to the point without leaving out important information.
  6. Ask people to review your blurb. Ask them how likely they are to buy the book in a bookstore. If the rating is low, you will need to rethink your blurb.

Here’s an example of a really good blurb. See if you can guess which bestselling book it comes from. Hint it’s from a Nigerian author who has become a global sensation.

“Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.”

 Answer: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

You can add other things to your back cover such as an author biography and reviews. Remember: keep it short! If you are struggling to write your blurb, you can ask your editor to help you. They have read and written many blurbs and will be able to guide you through the process.

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