Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blurbing, and how to do it...

Many readers think that writers just tell stories. Writing books takes a lot of time, effort, diligence, and craft to get the story down on paper so that readers can enjoy it.

But writing doesn't stop there. Once a book is written and polished, a writer has to sell it to agents and publishers, not to mention to readers. ;-) Doing all that requires many hours of painstaking work writing in very different forms. Query letters must be constructed to catch agents' attention. Synopses are written to show the scope of the story to publishers. And if all those obstacles are overcome, writers must construct blurbs or back-cover copy to catch a reader's eye.

Ruth Harris says it's never too early to start on a blurb. Check her 8 Tips for Writing That Killer Blurb. for more on her methods. Harris describes good blurbs as a "...little bit act, a little bit craft, a little bit commercial poetry.

Joanna Penn's How to Write a Back Blurbs for Your Book  uses examples to help explain what blurbs must do.

Mark Edwards explains that a well-written blurb/product description helped his book rise to #2 at Amazon.co.uk. Check out his five steps here: Product Description: AKA The Blurb

And Marilynn Bylery's Writing the Back Cover Blurb for genre-specific hints.


So, now for my turn. Here is a first try at a blurb for FRIENDLY FIRE.

Our deepest wounds  come from those who should be our greatest protection.

At least that's what Laura Grace Chandler wishes were true, but she knows the look of a child whose parents are MIA from her many years of teaching. And though she thinks her time binding up the wounds is over, she finds herself caught at ground zero when she looks into Samantha Smith's eyes. 

And now, Laura Grace must act, do whatever it takes to heal the abuse Samantha has suffered. Just when she has finally won her battle to adopt Samantha, she finds her biggest and most devastating battle is yet to come. 

Let me know what you think. Does this hook you? Of is it too wordy?   Come on, be brutal. I can take it... ;-)


Be sure to check out award-nominated author Lori Benton's latest book--The Pursuit of Tamsen Little John  that goes on sale today. Lori is a finalist in The Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Book Awards for 2013 in Inspirational Romance for her debut book--Burning Sky--and a finalist in the ECPA's 2014 Christian Book Awards for Burning Sky. Be sure and check out this up and coming author. I interviewed her August 20, 2013.


  1. Ooo, good links for blurbs.

    Your blurb is a good start. I think the first part is a little jumpy. I'm not sure how the second sentence follows the first. The first sentence is true, especially in Sam's case. Or maybe I'm thinking of earlier drafts but wasn't her mother part of Sam's problems? Didn't she offer Sam to her boyfriend? So why would LG wish that statement true?

    I'm probably no help.

  2. That's why I wanted new eyes on this, Sara! In fact, I think this is from LG's POV and she doesn't know Samantha's story *yet*. Thanks!

  3. I think you're off to a great start here Zan Marie. One suggestion would be to rearrange the second sentence so that it reads something like: "....but, from her many years of teaching, she knows the look of a child whose parents are MIA." Otherwise, the "MIA" and "Many years of teaching" could be misconstrued as going together.

    What a fun exercise and great links!

  4. I *knew* that second sentence needed work! Thanks for the suggestion, Charlotte.

  5. Hi Zan Marie,

    The first line was a bit wordy but it struck a good theme, and it reminded me of something my mother used to say: "No one can hurt you like a friend."

    But it that's what it means, why would Laura wish it were true? And what does it have to do with the rest of the story as you go on to summarize it?

    I particularly like the last line, which shows an arc of rising tension: just as Laura thinks she's solved the problem, it gets worse. All the lines are nice in themselves. I think the task in hand is to come up with a more integrated blurb, rather than one that veers off into several (albeit interesting) directions.

  6. Thanks for the insight, Barbara. The second sentence is totally not what I was going for and it will be ripped out and rewritten. I'll look into the idea of too many directions.


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