Raise your hand if you’re a novelist and you don’t like writing blurbs. Okay, that’s pretty much everyone.
Most of us would say we prefer writing the 80,000-word novel to writing the 200-word blurb. (I know I’ve said as much.)
Whether you are traditionally published or an indie author, you already know blurbs are the most important tool for selling your book. Now you need to know the elements of writing a good one.
Kristin Wallace, of Florida Romance Writers, recently gave a very helpful workshop on blurb writing. I summarize her presentation here. And I illustrate her points with the blurb for my already-published The Alpha’s Edge that I improved during her workshop.
Writing Blurbs: Step One
Introduce your main characters.
For a romance it will be the hero and heroine. You need to let the reader know who they are and what they do.
Here’s what I know about my characters:
Egon Hanover: He is the Alpha of his werewolf pack and the head of the London-based global security firm G4S.
Misti Shaw: She is a human, and she has just landed a job as bartender at the Hanover Hotel. After years of homelessness, she has now achieved some stability for herself and her beloved younger brother, Ian.
Writing Blurbs: Step Two
Know your characters’ goals, motivations and conflicts.
Egon: The story opens when he returns from a trip and, upon entering his hotel/headquarters, immediately identifies Misti as his mate. The first problem is, she’s a human. The second problem is, two troubling murders in his neighborhood demand his attention and thwart him from instantly making Misti his. He has to balance keeping his pack safe with his need to mate.
Misti: She’s happy with the present state of her life and wants to keep it that way. She feels a strong attraction to Egon but wants no part of an inappropriate attraction. She stays focused on Ian’s well-being.
Writing Blurbs: Step Three
Identify the romantic tension.
Egon, as a werewolf, needs to mate with Misti.
Misti, knowing nothing of the werewolf world, is determined to resist Egon.
Writing Blurbs: Step Four
Hint at the big reveal.
Ian is the unexpected pivotal figure in the story. Egon recognizes early on that Ian may be the reason Misti has come into the Hanovers’ lives, but he doesn’t suspect until the end that Ian may also be the key to solving the murders.
Writing Blurbs: Step Five
End with a hook.
There’s a reason so many blurbs end with either an ellipsis:
“Egon has it all figured out, except for one thing ….”
Or a question mark:
“Can Egon identify the real murderer before it’s too late?”
Writing Blurbs: Putting It All Together
My final product:
Egon Hanover, Alpha of his werewolf pack, is the head of the London-based global security firm G4S. It’s love at first sniff when Egon meets Misti Shaw, a new bartender at his hotel – and a human, no less. Unthinkable, outrageous and she’s a red-head. But she’s his mate, no doubt about it.
Misti wants a good life for herself and her beloved younger brother, Ian, and her job at the Hanover Hotel is perfect. When she first meets her boss, she’s struck by the force of his animal magnetism. Toughened by years of homelessness, determined to do what’s right for Ian’s sake, she summons the strength to resist what she deems an inappropriate attraction to her boss.
When two murders in the hotel’s neighborhood show signs of a grisly wolf attack, Egon has to put aside his need to mate with Misti in order to quash the threat of all London discovering werewolves in their midst. When he begins to suspect that Ian may be the key to solving the murders, he has to use all his wolf’s strength and speed to save his mate and her brother – before it’s too late.
Writing Blurbs: Final Thoughts
The muscles you use to write blurbs are very different than those required to write a novel. Blurbs are advertising copy, the kind that should reflect your brand as an author and convey the tone of your book and/or its themes.
I can’t tell you how many edits I’ve done on these 193 words. But now that I have something I am relatively satisfied with, I have two more tasks:
One: A 50-word description for online booksellers, which I have not yet done,
Two: A 15-word teaser tag.
I came up with:
Werewolves, murders and mating. What’s not to love?
For more: All My Writing Tips
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen