Your story is done. You have a happy sense of achievement. You think about how cool the front cover is going to look.
And then you think about the back cover, and break into a sweat.
OMG. You need to write a blurb. You kind of know what they are. You’ve read your share. But how in heck do you write one?
Let’s start with what blurbs aren’t.
They aren’t summaries of the story.
They aren’t abstracts.
They aren’t spoilers.
They aren’t story excerpts.
They aren’t comparisons with other books (that’s the purvue of readers and reviewers).
A hook, something to catch the potential reader’s interest. Start with the problem, dilemma, or central idea of the story. Give them the basic beginnings of the plot. Tell them the name of your protagonist, so should they crack the cover, they know who they should be watching for. Give your potential reader a case of wanting to know more, and do it in one or two paragraphs.
NEVER exaggerate or mislead in a blurb. It’s great to leave people hanging where you left off with the start of the plot, as it gets their “What happens next?” juices flowing. But if your blurb states or implies something that isn’t in your story, it doesn’t belong in your blurb either.
It may take several drafts to get your blurb exactly where you want it. Write it, set it aside for a while. Come back to it with the mindset of a person just browsing, looking for something good to read. They know nothing about you or your books. Does the blurb leave you flat, or are you already reaching for your wallet?
Which is not to say that a good blurb will always assure good sales. Readers are by nature a profoundly diverse group of folks. But a tight, well-written blurb can go a long way towards arousing interest in your books.