I recently asked a question on a writer’s loop and heard many interesting answers but not the specific answers I was hoping for.
My question was, “When shopping for books, what do you look for in a blurb?”
Most of us grab a book based on a familiar name or an eye-catching cover, but ten seconds later we are flipping the book over in our hands, or scrolling downward if we are shopping on-line, to read the Blurb.
This is the crucial make-it or break-it point in the possible sale of the book. Does the blurb tell us what we are hoping to hear? Readers are quick to pass judgment on a potential buy. They’ll ask themselves, is this our idea of a good time and worth the money and mental energy to consume this book?
An author is often limited to 180 words or less in a blurb so I would like to ask, “What are you looking for in a blurb?” Content, sub-genre, Assurance of a happy ending, key words or themes such as “Master, kidnapped, bondage or bride?” What words are most compelling in a blurb to assure a reader they are getting the book they want?
Sometimes a blurb can be too good. I’ve read a few terrific blurbs that were obviously written by someone in marketing that had not actually read the book. It’s quite disappointing when all you like about a book is the blurb. How many times can you re-read the blurb? It’s sad to get stuck with a book that was misrepresented by its cover or blurb.
Another author asked me. What about the excerpt? Shouldn’t a juicy well-written excerpt sell the book?
Yes, in theory a good excerpt should be the ultimate weapon of seduction but the trouble with depending on an excerpt to make the lasting impression is that in a book store or on–line, often the first thing a customer is offered is the book’s cover and the blurb. If the cover and blurb doesn’t immediately grab their attention-they’ll never move forward to reading the excerpt.
So what’s up with 180 word blurbs? Why is this difficult for me? When you are book shopping what attracts your attention and what warns you away from a book?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.