How to Write a Good Blurb for a Book

You spent so long perfecting your story. How are you supposed to condense it down into a 30-second pitch so that readers will be drawn in? Here are some tips based on my research so that you can write the perfect blurb.

Amanda Rosehart

9/21/20234 min read

white and blue ceramic mug on brown wooden table
white and blue ceramic mug on brown wooden table

After investing countless hours in the creation of your book, the daunting challenge arises: How can you distill its essence into a compelling 30-second pitch that beckons readers into its world? Yet this 30-second pitch, this blurb, is one of the first things a reader looks at to decide on whether or not they’ll buy the book. So much pressure for such a small thing. No wonder they’re so hard to write! Given how important it is to get this right, I researched how to write a good blurb for a book and gathered what I found here. I have also included the sources at the bottom if you’d like more details.

What are blurbs?

First thing’s first, what exactly is a blurb? This is the sales pitch for your book. Similar to a movie trailer, it should include the coolest scenes in your story without giving away the ending. It gives the reader a look into what to expect from the book, both in content and in writing style. These are the descriptions generally found on the back of the book or on the inside flaps of the book jacket. They may include reviews from other authors or companies as well.

person writing a good blurb for a book
person writing a good blurb for a book
woman standing between library book shelves looking for a book
woman standing between library book shelves looking for a book
person using black typewriter to write a good blurb for a book
person using black typewriter to write a good blurb for a book

What goes into writing a good blurb for a book?

The general outline I found for writing a good blurb is hook, character, conflict. You want to write a sentence or two that hooks the reader. You want to introduce the main character(s). You want to show the conflict. Let’s break this down further.

The first sentence. This needs to pull the reader in. If the first sentence doesn’t catch them, they may not even finish reading the rest. So, this needs to be good. If you’re looking for inspiration, I’ve seen some blurbs start with a quote from the book. Is there a sentence from the book itself that perfectly summarizes the plot? Use that!

This first sentence becomes part of the hook. You want to use the first couple sentences to show the reader why your book will be their next favorite.

Now for the conflict. This is the problem that the main characters are trying to overcome. Readers should also understand what the consequences are of failure. A general rule of thumb for the conflict is to focus on external problems. While conflict can be internal, it’ll be easier to explain the external conflict. It’s a lot easier to quickly grasp “hey, there’s an evil person trying to take over the world” than it is to try and empathize with “my beliefs of the world are built on lies!” which takes more context and character building to fully grasp.

If the details of your background are important to explain why you wrote this book, include your credentials to make sure readers know why they should listen to you. Do you have a background in the subject you’re discussing? Have you written other best sellers?

How to write a good blurb for a book

The nitty-gritty

Now that we know what should be included in the blurb, what should a good blurb for a book look like? Here are some pointers.

Ideal length

After looking through multiple sources, the sweet spot for length is 100–200 words. Some recommend 150, while others say you can go to 250. There’s no specific cutoff, but be as concise as possible.

Match your tone

The tone of the blurb should match the tone of your book. You want the reader to know your voice from this small blurb. If you use a bunch of humor in the blurb to try and lure people in, but then change to grim, dark, gritty realism, the readers will likely feel lied to and disappointed. They’ll be more likely to leave a negative review, regardless of how good the book is. You want to be authentically you, always (in life in general, too).

Use the present tense

For a good blurb for a book, write in the present tense. This is a sales tactic. A good blurb will provide some sense of urgency and immersion. You want the readers to feel like they are right there, witnessing the action. Now, If your book is in the past tense, this may seem contradictory to what I said earlier about not changing the style, but there’s a reason sales tactics work, so we’re going to use it here.

Use your own words

Generally avoid clichés and overused phrases. Do they work? Sometimes. But readers also get tired of them, and they may wonder why you used a cliché instead of your own words. I know you’re creative; you’ve written an entire book! Don’t take the easy route here. Readers will notice.

Match genre expectation

Last but not least, match genre expectations. The best way to do this is to go to the library or bookstore and read through a lot of blurbs. Like, 100 blurbs. And dissect them, noting what works and what doesn’t.

Readers are coming to the genre for a reason. There’s comfort in the known. If they’re going for romance, they want the main characters to have a happy ending together. If they’re going for self-help, they want to be uplifted and motivated. If you don’t give the readers what they want in some form, they’ll be more likely to leave a negative review. So if you are trying to turn a genre on its head, you’ll want to make that obvious pretty quickly to make sure you’re appealing to readers who agree with you.

Hopefully some of these tips on how to write a good blurb for a book have been helpful to you. Leave a comment with any questions or things that you’ve found helpful below.

Happy writing!

Resources

https://www.blurb.com/blog/writing-blurbs-for-novels/

https://independentbookreview.com/2022/07/19/book-blurbs-and-how-to-get-them/

https://nybookeditors.com/2021/10/how-to-write-better-book-blurbs/

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-a-back-cover-blurb-that-sells