Having a great blurb is one way to make your book stand above others...or at least help get the reader to click the buy button. What exactly is a blurb? It's ad copy for your book. And they can be one of the hardest things to write.
Think of it like this. Your are taking a 90K word book and condensing it down into 350 words or less. Your blurb must tell the reader the genre, what the plot is, who the main characters are, and what goal they are trying to reach is, and it should also entice them to buy the book. Again, all in 350 words or less.
Before I get into this, you need to think elevator pitch.
You have a few seconds to get your reader’s attention, keep it, and then make them buy the book. A correctly written blurb will help you do that.
Here is my old blurb when I first published Innocence Taken.
Damien wants out. He wants out of his job and out of Chicago.
But the dead won’t let him go just yet.
He and his partner, Detective Joe Hagan, from the Vicious Crimes Unit, are sent to investigate a murder in the rural farming communities of Illinois. With few clues and forensic evidence left at the scene, Damien has little to work with.
After a second girl is found, an FBI profiler is assigned to the case.
Not only must Damien deal with the mounting pressures that a serial killer may be living in their backyard; he must also deal with the FBI looking over his shoulder, questioning his every move.
Tensions rise, reaching their breaking point, as Damien and his team uncover information that will rip this tight-knit community’s vision of small-town America to shreds.
And begs the question, do you really know your neighbors?
It hits the necessary items like genre hints to let the reader know what genre I write in. However, I didn't like the tagline (opening sentence) nor did it read all that great to me.
Essentially, after looking at several books on writing blurbs and reading some of the more well known author's blurbs (or sometimes referred to as sales pages), I began to see a pattern.
First, you need a tagline. Something catchy that gets the readers attention and conveys the genre. Or at least gives hints as to what the genre is.
Next, the first paragraph almost always told what the plot was. Or the major plot line of the story.
The second paragraph used emotional or character clues to set the tone of what the main character NEEDED to accomplish. This paragraph also pushed home the genre. Leaving no doubt in the readers mind what type of book they would be reading.
And the third paragraph told what would happen if the main character didn't accomplish what they needed to do. Using a cliffhanger of sorts to make the reader want to know more.
Lastly, there was always a call to action. Like, READ THIS BOOK, DOWNLOAD THIS BOOK NOW, something that told the reader to buy the book.
Here are things to think about when crafting your blurb. Also, always write it in present tense, 3rd person. You can use first if your books are written in first person.
Focus on main plot
Use emotional/character clues to convey what must happen and push home genre
Call to action
Sounds so simple right? I will say this, I do think it is easier to craft this while you are writing the book or immediately after you finish writing the book. If a long period of time passes, then you might consider writing a synopsis or outline to help you key into the essential and main plot of the story.
After learning what I really needed to focus on, I rewrote my blurb. This is what I post on my sales pages on all the platforms where you can buy my book. It is also what goes on the back of my books.
Two dead girls, another one missing, and a secret that will rip a tight-knit community apart.
When a missing teen’s body shows up dismembered on the side of the road, Lt. Damien Kaine must crush her parent’s hopes of her safe return. The parents are pushing for details and answers. Two things he can’t give.
The abduction of a second girl brings only one clue. The girls look alike.
As Damien searches for a sadistic killer, a disturbing pattern emerges. The more he digs into the community’s history, the more missing girls he finds.
With the lack of evidence or movement forward on the case, a quirky FBI profiler is pulled in to assist with the investigation. Damien wrestles with disdain for the agent and an equally strong sexual attraction to her, as he deals with mounting frustrations.
Tensions rise with the abduction of another girl. Damien and his team are in a race against time to save her. But the case is about to take a frightful turn. What they uncover will not only rock them to their core, it will haunt them forever.
Innocence Taken is the first crime fiction novel in the Damien Kaine Thriller series.
If you are a fan of CSI or Criminal Minds, believable characters, and sarcastic humor, then this book and series is for you.
Buy Innocence Taken - Book 1 and get sucked into Damien Kaine’s world.
As you can see I don't really have just 2 or 3 paragraphs. This is just how I chose to break up my blurb. However, I am still using the 4 tips listed above.
I use the tagline to lure the reader in. This is the tagline I use for a lot of my ads as well. It conveys the genre almost immediately and sets the tone for the book. It's also so much better than my first one.
The next few paragraphs tells you what Damien is up against and what he and his team are facing. Still driving home the genre.
My next paragraph lets the reader know, there is so much more to come. This hopefully makes the reader WANT TO BUY THE BOOK. I leave just enough of a cliffhanger to entice the reader to want more.
My call to action, the last paragraph reinforces the the title and the series and tells the reader if they like this...then they will like my book. I then tell them to buy the book.
When I changed my blurb, my sales began to do better.
If you are having trouble getting conversions on sales, make sure your covers and blurbs are on point. Check those first before you do any major overhauls.