by Glenna Mageau
You’ve written a story and now you’ve decided to self-publish it. Congratulations. However, now you realize you have an issue; you need to have a book blurb or book description, but you’re not sure how to write it. The truth is that many authors struggle with this and aren’t sure where to begin. Many start with writing a synopsis and then spend hours whittling that down into something catchy. Honestly, there is a much simpler and less stressful way.
First, let’s look at the differences between a synopsis and a book blurb.
The synopsis is the detailed summary of your story that contains everything – the characters, the events, the outcomes, and the ending – all spoilers are included. Its purpose is for agents and/or publishers to decide if they want to read your manuscript. It is something that is necessary to write if you are going the traditional publishing route.
The book blurb, on the other hand, also known as the sales blurb or book description, is an Indie’s best friend. It is the enticing sales pitch that gives a glimpse into your story. Its purpose is to grab the reader’s attention and pull them into wanting to read your novel and hence get your book. The book blurb is used on the book’s Amazon or other retailer’s sales page, and also can be used on the back cover of the print edition, if you have one.
So why not start with writing a synopsis?
In truth, if you start by writing the long, comprehensive explanation, it will pull you into every detail, every word of your story, and that’s the worst place to be to write a fiction book blurb. You will be too immersed in all that you wrote and won’t see the ‘forest for the trees’. You’ll have too much information at your fingertips and as an author every word you write, every scene you craft, is your baby, how do you cut any of that out? The truth is that you don’t and that’s why you can’t start with a synopsis.
“You really have to approach writing the fiction book blurb with a different mindset.”
Believe me, once I shifted how I wrote a fiction book blurb, it saved me a lot of time and stress with my latest suspense/thrillers. Now, I truly enjoy writing the blurb; I even get excited about having to do it.
So if you don’t start with writing a synopsis, where do you start? How do you write the fiction book blurb?
- start with the idea that got you writing your story – if it pulled you in, often there is something in it that will pull the reader in as well;
- write down (in point form) two or three key events that propel your story forward;
- note some key characteristics about your main characters (protagonist/hero and antagonist/adversary) that are crucial to the story;
- setting is always something to include when it is an important part of the story. If you’re writing history, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, etc., it is definitely worth including;
- use who, what, when, where, why and how – to flesh out the key points and elements that make your story unique.
The fiction book blurb is meant to be something short, enticing, and flashy. Its sole purpose is to grab and hold attention. It isn’t meant to tell your story, it is meant to hint at what journey the reader will be taken on when they read your novel. Think of it as taking the best bits and pieces out of your story and weaving them into a mini masterpiece that grabs attention.
The synopsis and book blurb for fiction novels have very different purposes, so therefore should be created differently. So my best advice is: get out of your synopsis to write your fiction book blurb.
What approach do you take to write your catchy book blurb?
Glenna Mageau writes suspense/thrillers under the penname Maggie Thom. When she’s not writing, she runs the “The Write Success Coach”, to help women discover and explore their writing talent. Learn more about Glenna and Maggie at her website and at her Author Central page.