Thursday, October 14, 2010

Writing Blurbs

Thanks so much for the questions posed last week for my Ask An Editor segment. I'll probably start answering one a week here on the blog very soon, so keep the questions coming! Every publishing house and every editor is different but I'm hoping my experiences will be informative.

This week, however, my topic is one of my favorites. Writing blurbs. I love, love, love writing blurbs! I know that a lot of writers don't enjoy them but I sometimes find them even more fun to write than the book. My advice for writing a strong blurb is pretty straightforward.

* Try to match the tone of your book with words that pack a lot of punch. Is your book sexy? Make sure your blurb oozes heat. Does your heroine have a quirky sense of humor? Try to convey that through your word choices.

* Show off your voice with action words. You're selling your book in the fewest words possible and this is definitely the time to skip the passive sentence constructions if you can. Make sure each sentence does double duty. Most epubs that I know of want your book's blurb to be 200 words or less. Sounds daunting, I know, but practice really does make perfect (or closer to it!) in this case.

* Save the in-depth story for the synopsis. Think of your blurb as the ultimate tease. You're trying to "pick up" your reader, so just hit the highlights while focusing on showcasing your voice.

One more great thing about the blurb? For a non-plotter like me, writing the blurb before I write the story has become a micro-capsule way for me to see where I might have a hole in a manuscript. Since I like ending blurbs on a "cliffhanger" - will she marry Bob or will she decide her life in Montana is all she needs? that sort of thing - I can sometimes spot where I have an undeveloped conflict between the H/h. If I can't find a way to make the conflict dramatic enough for the blurb, I might have a problem.

Since writing queries and blurbs are one of my favorite subjects, I'm sure I'll be visiting this topic again. Happy blurb writing!


Taryn Elliott said...

okay seriously...can you just write mine?
pretty please?


awesome post, cp o'mine. you are so right on the finding plot holes thing with the blurb. i have unfortunately found many of them trying to write one. lol

great subject!

Melissa said...

Hmmm, I find the idea of a blurb daunting. Same with queries. Could you give us some more hints and techniques you use to do these? Or some examples of a strong one?

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