By: K. Marie
The Indie Author’s Book Blurb Debate
You finally did it! After months, and more likely, years, you’ve completed your very first novel.
You’ve gone through the angst of various drafts, editing, revisions, and proofing. Finally, it’s show-time, the moment you show all of your hard work to the world. If you are an indie author, as many of us are nowadays, you go onto Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to load, lock, and hit send on that baby! Only, when you get to the “description” section, you scratch your head, at a loss.
I don’t know about you, but that was certainly my own experience. I asked myself, how do I give a good description of my book, what is important to include, or to omit, without essentially writing a summary of the entire book? As authors, we believe all the parts of our stories to be important.
However, as an avid reader, I could never understand the book descriptions that basically tells me the entire book, negating the necessity of reading it. You know the ones. Major spoilers. Why would I want to read a book that has already told me the beginning, middle, and the end?
Likewise, I’ve read many descriptions that were way too brief to give me a real idea of the story, or to entice me into wanting to read it.
So, how do you find a good balance? How much is too much or too little? What should be included?
I did some extensive research before writing my description blurb, and I’ll share with you what I learned from industry experts.
First, the technical stuff. What is a book blurb?
For indie authors, the description blurb will be your most important tool.
The book blurb is essentially a sales pitch for your book, to perspective readers. The blurb gives an enticing glimpse into your story, grabs the reader’s attention, draws them in, and hooks them into wanting to read your story. You only get one shot to make it happen, so you’ve got to get it right.
The description blurb is often an after thought, the last thing authors think of, but, it’s actually the most important thing you will write. Because, if you can’t draw those readers in, they’ll never get to know what’s on the inside of that book you’ve so lovingly slaved away on.
My Two-Cent Tips
• First, I suggest going onto Amazon’s website to peruse similar books in your genre. The best sellers, or 100 Top Paid in Kindle store. Read their blurbs to get some ideas for how they are structured, what buzz words they use.
• Start your blurb with an attention-grabbing line, something that stands out, and grabs the readers attention; making them want to read further. This is important, because only the first three sentences of your blurb will be visible on the Amazon page, before the reader has to click on a “read more” button to see the rest. So, those first three sentences must be impactful.
Here’s a sample blurb from my book, Wreckless Engagement (The Russian Engagement Series)
‘You just couldn’t make this sh*t up if you tried…
A hot man, a one-night stand. Five days in Miami, that was the plan.
Things went sideways real-quick. How could what started off as a five-day girls’ trip have careened so quickly out of control?’
In that quick blurb, a prospective reader can get a quick glimpse into what the situation is, who’s involved, where it takes place, and that some type of drama is sure to unfold.
• Mention your main characters by name (protagonist/antagonist), give a quick characterization (beautiful, ego maniac, gorgeous, sharp-tongued, etc.), make them interesting, convince the reader that they want to know more about your characters.
• Establish the setting. Let the readers know where the story takes place, give a standout detail, quickly bring them into the story’s world. For example, in my book, I dropped the line; ‘Bodyguards, paparazzi, and high-stakes might have been more than I bargained for.’ That line lends both insight and intrigue, it world-builds, giving the reader a titillating foreshadowing of what’s to come.
• Use short, one-line sentences, be succinct and to the point. Try to keep your blurb at 150 words. Use action, hyperbolic words for impact, and to highlight details. Rewrite and revise as many times as necessary before your final submission. Get other’s opinions.
• End your blurb with a crafty hooker of a cliffhanger. If everything stated before it was impactful, your crafty cliffhanger will leave the reader wanting more, and to clicking on the “buy” link to download your book.
• Finally, a book blurb is meant to be short, enticing, and flamboyant. Its entire purpose is to grab and hold the attention of a prospective reader. The book blurb is not meant to tell the entire story, but only to hint at what the reader will get when they read your book. A short, succinct, and titillating bit that entices the reader, draws them in, and hooks them into purchasing your book is what you want. Full stop. You are not looking to give them all the goods, before they’ve even read the story.
I am a new indie author, who’s gone through several years of learning experiences before finally publishing my debut novel. I’ve seen it all and done it all, as is the rite of passage for any indie author. I’m happy to share my experiences and insights with others, in hopes that it will be helpful. Indie publishing has both benefits and drawbacks, but is entirely worth the effort, and the freedom that it allows with autonomy.
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