View Full Version : Stuck on my book blurb

02-26-2017, 01:27 AM
I finished my 110K novel and now I canít come up with a 150 word blurb. Why is it so Hard?

02-26-2017, 03:01 AM
By "blurb," do you mean synopsis? Are you self-publishing, or querying agents? If the latter is the case, I should point out AW has a whole sub-forum for help with queries.

02-26-2017, 03:27 AM
I finished my 110K novel and now I can’t come up with a 150 word blurb. Why is it so Hard?Do you mean a tagline or a paragraph to add to the back cover?

K.S. Crooks
02-26-2017, 04:39 AM
Try going in reverse. First write a 250-300 word summary- something you would place on the back of the book to make a possible reader interested. After write condensed versions- 100 words, then 25 words. Give yourself the freedom to write all that you think is important to mention about the story, then you can sift out the parts that are not completely vital to explaining the essence of your story.

02-26-2017, 08:07 PM
What I’m trying to do is make a blurb for my book cover and my social media. I am definitely self-publishing. I have no intention in offering my book to publishing houses at this time.

I like your suggestion K.S Crooks, I will try it this week.

02-26-2017, 09:37 PM
Blurbs on published novels might inspire you to write one of your own.

02-27-2017, 04:47 AM
My advice: don't try to condense the entirety of your story into 150 words. Boil it down to focus on the hook. You don't even have to include more than one or two characters. All the extra details and the twists in act 2 and the subtle things don't really belong in there.

I think a lot of writers get confused with blurbs because they spend a long time trying to write queries. The purpose of the blurb is to get the reader to buy the book, and that's very different to convincing an agent.

02-28-2017, 09:00 PM
Perhaps you could look at some blurbs from books you've read and see how they summarize the contents.

I just looked at Game of Thrones (the book, not the TV Series.)

In brief, it mentions the setting and the initial areas and family involved (Winterfell & Starks) and then says it's a tale with lots of plots and betrayals. And some swords.

Marissa D
02-28-2017, 09:36 PM
Yes to not trying to boil the book down. I try to focus on painting a quick picture of the main character, a hint as to setting, and an idea of what the central conflict is.

But I think query letters and cover copy can intersect--at least, the editor for my first published book used the query letter blurb I'd gotten my agent with (and which I guess she must have reused to pitch to editors) as the cover flap copy.

03-01-2017, 06:44 AM
If you have a central MC that essentially all the other characters interact with and which the story revolves around, you might try writing the blurb from their perspective. What would they say about your story if you gave them the mic? How would they relate it personally? How would they present that particular subject matter that they're experiencing without fluff? They would probably know best since the story is particular to them.

03-06-2017, 04:42 AM
Maybe consider just the arc of the MC? How does he/she enter the story, and how are they different at the end?

03-18-2017, 04:55 AM
Lots of good advice here. I especially like Keithy's mention of Game of Thrones' synopsis and its components. I tried something similar for mine and am happy with it so far - just hit the main points, give a taste of what the story's about, maybe a good hook, and you're golden.

03-18-2017, 10:37 PM
Why it's so hard: because if you could have told the story in 150 words, then you'd have a 150 word drabble-and-a-half, not a novel.

Everyone's giving good advice, I think. The thing you have to remember is that you aren't trying to tell your story in 150 words; you're trying to tell your audience why they ought to read it.

04-14-2017, 07:59 PM
Blurbs (jacket copy) are the bane of authors far and wide. Almost as dreaded as a synopsis. We fear those 150-200 words more than a 200k manuscript.

The approach I take is to focus on the primary story arc only. I think of it a bit in the same way as the query letter one might send to agents.

Open with a line that has a hook, a contradiction or juxtaposition that makes the reader stop and think "Wait, what?" that'll get them to keep going.

Next, have a line or three about the main character, who they are, what their situation is (the primary story arc).

After that, mention the antagonist (if there is one - or if it's a character vs environment kind of situation, roll this into the conflict from before)

End it on a cliffhanger kind of statement and emphasize the character's choice if there is one. "The shadows grow darker, and this time, only one person will walk away."

Don't bog down in details like people or place names. Don't try to jam in your worldbuilding. The best storylines can be transplanted from any setting/genre into another and still work. Focus on the story arc, the character's conflict, and leave enough unstated so the reader wants to open the book and finish it.

Laer Carroll
04-20-2017, 06:38 AM
Why is writing blurbs hard? For the same reason poems are hard: you must say much with very little. Every word counts, even every syllable.

"In magic-plagued Liverpool vampire John Lennon tries to create a musical career while fighting his worst urges."

This hits all the parts of a classical story: SETTING CHARACTER PLOT.

Not necessarily in that order. In each part there are two elements. For setting and character ADJECTIVE and NOUN. Plot also has two elements. It identifies the central conflict of the story: a GOAL, and the biggest OBSTACLE to that goal.

Laer Carroll
04-20-2017, 07:26 PM
Editors may require you begin the blurb with its most important part, variously called the LEAD, GRABBER, or TEASE. That might be the main CHARACTER. That would change the above one-sentence LOGLINE to the following.

"VAMPIRE JOHN LENNON in magic-plagued Liverpool tries to create a musical career while fighting his worst urges."

You can expand CHARACTER SETTING PLOT into a few short paragraphs. (In the following SETTING is implied rather than stated.) Leave readers remembering the central conflict by ending with it.

The order of the following paragraphs is CHARACTER CHARACTER ACTION CONFLICT.

"Annalisa King knows she's adopted, and never thought much about that fact. But on her 18th birthday her parents tell her that her birth parents were from a far star.

They pass on to her three presents: a tiara, a suit, and a car. From a super-advanced civilization, each has almost magical powers.

Anna learns to use those powers and her wits to help others, first as a Marine Ranger, then as a covert crime fighter and guardian of the helpless everywhere.

But duty even for an invincible hero has costs. Is she willing to pay the ones demanded of her?"