Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blurb or Blub?

I can't believe it's not Blurber.

Sadly, this blog has nothing to do with Fabio...

Writing blurbs for me is a struggle. I find the task almost painful. It just doesn’t come naturally to me while others seem to do it with ease.

I recently asked this question on a writer’s loop “When shopping for books, what do you look for in a blurb?”

I heard many interesting answers but not the specific answers I was hoping for.

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.

We all have to ask ourselves is this book, my idea of a good time and worth the money and mental energy to consume?

An author is often limited to 180 words or less in a blurb, so I would like to ask as a reader what are you looking for in a blurb? 

Are you looking for content, sub-genres, assurance of a happy ending, or key words or themes such as Master, kidnapped, bondage or bride?

What words are most compelling in a blurb to assure a reader they’re getting the type of book they want?

Judging a book by its blurb can easily go wrong…

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 because the blurb had little to do with the actual story. Too bad for me. I've often wished the person who wrote the blurb had also written the book. 

It’s very disappointing when all you like about a book is the blurb. How many times can you re-read the blurb? No one enjoys getting stuck with a book that was misrepresented by its cover or blurb.

Another author asked me. What about excerpts? 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 blurb. If the cover and blurb don't immediately grab a reader's attention-they’ll never move forward to reading the excerpt.

So what’s up with 180 word blurbs and why is this so difficult for me?

When you're book shopping which words attracts your attention and what warns you away from a book?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.


PS Happy slightly belated birthday Fabio, you're still fabulous!


  1. Okay, I admit I repurposed this blog from an older post and tacked on a photo of Fabio because I was desperate and had nothing interesting to say.
    However, March 15th was Fabio's Birthday and he is still fabulous. I stand by that. lol
    XXOO Kat

  2. Blub! Love it! I've read more complaints lately from readers about blurbs not matching the content of the book. Not mine, of course! But then, I do write my own and I try to stick with the facts - the more exciting facts.
    A well-written blurb is important, but if it's inaccurate, you sort of screw yourself. Readers get pissy and I don't blame them - it's the old bait and switch routine.

  3. You're right Julia. We write our own blurbs but many presses allow the marketing department to take full charge of the cover. There seems to be a trend toward a certain type of blurb whither it suits the actual book or not.
    XXOO Kat

  4. I wish I could answer what words make me buy a book, but I can't. I guess it's more of what they're promising in the premise.

    As a writer I dread writing them because I know it's a selling tool. I had to write one yesterday for Just Another Rainy Day. Took me all day to feel comfortable with 130 words.

  5. Exactly... I do the same thing and I have the advantage of having 'read" my own book and it's still hard. lol
    Amber, I'm impressed that you made it work with 130 words.
    XXOO Kat

  6. 180 words to sell a book is not much. Today, maybe nothing will be right or maybe someone else mention the book and that will be the selling point. But most often, the blurb and cover must complement each other. If there is a discrepancy, 85 % of the time, I will not buy the book. If the blurb grab me (why? I do not know) I will go to the website of the author and try to find more about the book. Usually that will be the final answer: to buy or not.

  7. I find blurbs harder to write than the book itself! I definitely buy books based on the blurb so I understand how important they are. I don't like too much "mystery" in the blurb. I feel it should be a clear indication of the time period, and subject matter. For example, if the story is menage, don't just mention 2 main characters.

    On a Fabio note, back in the day, I was a proud member of his fan club, had pictures of him everywhere, slept with my Fabio pillow! I'll never forget reading the first book he "wrote" - my friends and I laughed uproariously over the attention to detail regarding all things male endowment and prowess!

  8. Why have I not read a Fabio book? I strongly suspect I'm missing out on throbbing good time! lol
    XXOO Kat

  9. Don't shoot me, but I enjoy writing blurbs. Now don't get me's not that I find it easy...just that I like the challenge.

    They are important and I wish I had the answer for you, but it's not just words, but the general feel I get from a blurb that makes me buy the book.

    Amd Fabio, I can't imagine him writing a book, but he definitely was a great cover model. I have to give him that!

  10. As an author, I like writing blurbs. I have to work hard to use active and accurate verbs, and I get help from my critique group when I'm stuck, but when it works, it's magic. :-D
    As a reader, sometimes I want a book with a certain theme, like cowboys, dukes, and werewolves, oh my! (Ok, I couldn't help that one. lol) Other times it's just a feel for the book or the mood I'm reading for.
    There's no magic formula, sadly, but when it works, I think both the writer and reader know it.


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