Writing Wednesday: The blurb

Piece of cake. Right? No? Come on, how hard is it to write a 250 word summary of the book you spent the last several months, sometimes longer, writing, revising, and polishing?

Okay, I’ll stop. Blurbs are hard. It’s tough to get a book of any size summed up in two, maybe three, paragraphs. It’s something I struggle with along with all other writers. And after the millionth try you can feel like this.

Depositphotos_12553096_l

Yep. I’ve been there. Too many times. lol. Don’t worry I’m here to help. At least try. The steps I’m about to share is what works for me. They may not work for you, but I hope there is something that helps you develop your style.

First, what is a Blurb? Now I know we all know what a blurb is, or at least most of us, so bare with me. The blurb is the summary on the back of the book and the description section on the purchase page on the many eBook stores on the web. It’s usually two paragraphs. Some will have three. Many short stories and novellas will have one. But the general word count is no more than 250 words.

When I first started writing, I did some research on blurbs and what agents and publishers look for. In that research I came up with the two main points  below that need to be addressed.

  • Two to three paragraphs: one for the heroine and one for the hero and one that ties it together with a nice hook.
  • Each paragraph must have the h/h goals, motivation, and a consequence  (or conflict)

Now do that and include the love story summary of the manuscript. Oh and it has to be under 250 words.

What?

In many novels the goal changes, or another one is set. By the end there could be four or so goals. That means new motivations and a new conflict. So what is your blurb supposed to include? The first goal that deals directly with the couple. Period.

When I sit down to write my blurb, I focus on the first three chapters. If you have long chapters, you may only need to concentrate on the first two. I also focus only on the couple. You want to intrigue the reader with the love story, not the back story. Then I ask the following questions for each paragraph.

Who is she/he? The first sentence of each paragraph is the intro to the characters. Include their job, special talent and their personality.

What is the goal?  What do they want or need in the first three chapters.

Why? What is the motivation?  (to be truthful, sometimes I combine this one with the goal in one sentence)

The consequence: If they don’t reach the goal, what will happen? You can also put in the the conflict–who or what is standing in their way. If the hero and heroine have a common goal, then I put the conflict section after the two paragraphs as a standalone sentence.

So you’re probably wondering about the love story. If you center on just the couple, then the goals and motivations will include them. If not, make the conflict in the blurb about it. Like the distraction of each other could jeopardize the mission. Sorry that’s a bad example. I write paranormal with suspense and HEAT. So my blurbs include the love story or some kind of sexy conflict. 😉

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

 

Happy writing!

Lia

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