From Authors to Authors: The Power of Writing Great Blurbs

Hello everyone and welcome back for a new post in the blog’s From Authors to Authors series. Our guide today is Clare London who will guide you through the maze of writing great blurbs and explain why you should never underestimate their power. I know we all complain about writing blurbs quite a bit, so I hope you find this as useful as I did!

My son (as a child!) used to call them Blubs – my hubby calls them The Waffle. Both are referring to the Blurb on the marketing of a book.

It’s just a brief summary isn’t it? Guidance as to what the book’s about?

Don’t Underestimate The Power of the Blurb!

It’s the part of writing a lot of us hate – how do we squeeze all that book into 200-odd words and why the hell should we? – and I’ve helped out a few fellow authors recently. It’s as much a struggle for me, believe me, but I’m starting to enjoy the challenge! And whether you publish with an agent or not, with a traditional or independent publisher, or self-publish, you’ll always be asked for input on a blurb.

After all, you’re the one who knows the book best!

In selling a book, the cover initially catches the eye, but I believe the blurb reels the reader in. Examine your own buying habits!

I’ll be drawn by a cover, then will look immediately at the blurb. Firstly, I need to know whether it’s a book in my favourite genres(s) (though the blurb may tempt me to try).

Then – thanks to Amazon’s “read inside” option – I’ll read a sample to judge whether I’ll like the style. Again, the Blurb links in with this. A bland blurb (try saying that after 6 glasses of new year prosecco) probably won’t persuade me that this is a fresh, new, vibrant telling of one of the main tropes of fictionlandia.

For example, do you think…

Janette woke up at six, washed and brushed her teeth, then took the No. 65 to work in the local supermarket. At around 11 o’clock while she was stacking tins of beans in Aisle No. 32, she saw a young man watching her. She thought he was really handsome, but then he suddenly grabbed her arm and started pulling her out of the store behind him.

… could be better as? ….

Janette thought her life was horribly dull until the day she was snatched against her will from Aisle 32 of the local supermarket, by possibly the most attractive young man she’d ever met in her life – or he would have been, if he wasn’t pointing a gun to her head at the time.

Tips on Writing Great Blurbs

I often write the blurb at an early stage of a book. It’s a different animal from a synopsis, but it helps me lock in the feel and voice of the characters. Here are some of the basic rules I follow, but of course it’s all up to your own style.

  • Keep the sentences short and snappy – you don’t want your reader to be confused before they’ve even started.
  • Mention only the main characters, for the same reason.
  • Don’t bother with much subtlety/mystery/lyricism – give information plainly but sparingly, to encourage the reader to look for more inside. That’s when and where they can discover your amazing story for themselves.
  • Use words that are emotive, exciting, dramatic. Shocked, astonished, sudden, amazing, aching.
  • Find a few key words (only) for each of the main characters, and also the theme. Workaholic, careless, loyal, passionate, shy, conflicting, hostile, desperate, hopeful.
  • Use evocative words, rather than description. Try making those few words tell your whole story by creating the mood!

I use three paragraphs usually, in this pattern:

(1) About Character #1 / about the tension in his/her life.

(2) About Character #2 / about the tension in his/her life.

(3) What they face together in this book, and a sentence to sum up the story in its entirety.

Your blurb should address:

  • The genre (romantic suspense / romance / crime / paranormal etc).
  • Your main characters / protagonists.
  • The overall mood of the book (hard-boiled / sweet / erotic / thrilling).
  • The critical issues in the plot (though not in detail).

Spoilers?? Definitely not! We’ve all read blurbs/ reviews and seen movie trailers that show so much, you don’t feel you need to see the whole thing.

Intrigue the reader, if you can, though try not to manufacture needless melodrama. Will self-employed accountant and author Clare ever manage to escape the rabid robot werewolf and paddle up the Amazon in time to save the world?

Don’t lie! How annoying is it when you buy what appears to be a thriller but the drama is wrapped up in 3 chapters and the rest is steady plodding?

However, look on it as a sales pitch in itself – as a mini story. Use it to showcase your style, with a thrilling race against time rather than a trip to her auntie’s.

If your character is snarky, reflect that in the blurb. If s/he’s under pressure, use a clipped tone.

Should it end on a question? It’s a familiar technique. Will he or won’t he? Can it ever…? Who’s the person who’s…? I use them less myself nowadays – it feels too contrived. Your mini-story should create enough of a gateway to the book that you don’t need more teasing.

Good luck, and good blurbing! (yes, it’s a word, I just invented it 🙂 )


And to show off (!), I finish with the blurb for my Feb novella release…

How the Other Half Lives by Clare London

Compulsive neat freak meets chaotic slob: Can their living space survive the conflict?

Martin Harrison keeps himself to himself and his Central London flat as neat as a new pin. Maybe he should loosen up and enjoy more of a social life, but in his mind, that’s tantamount to opening the floodgates to emotional chaos. He agrees, however, to join the flat-sitting scheme in his building and look after another tenant’s flat in exchange for a similar watch over his when he’s travelling for his work.

A floor away in the same building, Russ McNeely is happy with his life as a freelance cook and a self-confessed domestic slob. He also joins the flat-sitting scheme, both to be neighbourly and to help keep his flat in order, as Russ also travels for his work.

For a while, the very dissimilar men never meet. Martin is horrified at the mess at Russ’s flat, while Russ finds Martin’s minimalist style creepy. But in a spirit of generosity, each of them starts to help the other out by rearranging things in their own inimitable way.

Until the day a hiccup in the schedule brings them face-to-face at last.

Meet Clare London

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:

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A pleasure to meet you! I’m Alina Popescu, an author, traveler, and hopeless coffee addict. I write urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and sometimes even contemporary stories. A significant number of my books are LGBTQ fiction and romance.

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One Response to “From Authors to Authors: The Power of Writing Great Blurbs”

  1. […] Want more writing advice from Clare? Check out her post on writing great blurbs! […]

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