The reader picks up a book because the cover or title catches his eye. The next thing the prospective book buyer does is read the back blurb. A book's cover design and title, well done, is the first stage to success. The second stage is a magnetic blurb.
A blurb is the description found on the back of a book which represents a book's contents. Blurbs can sell the book; therefore, it must grab the reader's attention. Writing a blurb begins with determining the market for the story: romance, mystery, non-fiction, or science fiction.
Use these tips in writing a compelling blurb:
1. Introduce the main character, plot and conflict.
2. End with a statement or question to entice the reader to read or buy the book.
3. Use forceful words that produce effective images and resonate with readers of the genre.
4. Add a hint of the plot
5. Be grammatically and mechanically correct.
6. Add a couple of endorsements from reviewers or other authors.
What is the important information to keep in the blurb? A book is foremost about one person so that person must be part of the book description. Hook the reader with the protagonist's world.
The following is an example of a blurb for a book about Emily Dickinson's poetry.
Emily Dickinson wrote over 1800 poems. Only eleven of Dickinson's poems were published in her lifetime, anonymously. After she died, her sister Lavinia found booklets of Dickinson's poems sewn together that she had hidden in boxes in a drawer.
Reflecting a sense of loneliness and longing, Dickinson's poetry conveys inspirational moments or feelings. In fact, her poetry challenged contemporary thought as her poems reveal a woman's voice speaking out over numerous male poets who set the stands which Dickinson chose to ignore.
A unique American poetic voice--Dickinson chose to retain her silence while she lived, and then let her poetry speak for her once she was gone. In 1955, the world was introduced to the "hermit from Amherst" when all of her poems were published for the first time. Thomas H Johnson, an eminent Dickinson scholar, places Dickinson's poetry into a book Final Harvest "to stand like a monument at the end of a very long road in literary history." As the poet wrote in her poem 466, literature can take a person anywhere.
There is no Frigate like a book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry...
Johnson, Thomas H. Final Harvest. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.1955.