1) Always compose a book blurb in present tense. Here’s why: Present tense suggests immediacy: Something is happening right now. Don’t miss it!
Example: A serial killer has come to Connecticut. He is watching, honing his skills, waiting, for the perfect time to make them pay for what they’ve done. And when he’s through, home will never be sweet again. (35 words) … Don’t Be Afraid by Rebecca Drake.
2) Introduce the two main characters in the first couple of sentences. Tag them with their names (and ages if appropriate) and one flaw. Briefly describe the catalyst that brings the two together. Mention a third character if that character is a villain who will keep the characters apart, prevent a mystery from being solved or has the answer to the crime, betrayal etc.
3) A blurb needs to describe the essence of the story. Two paragraphs and 300 words is the ideal composition for a blurb. Less is better.
Example: The murder of a successful advertising executive leads Virgil Flowers to the unlikely scene of the crime: a peaceful and bucolic wooded resort. But one with as many suspects as secrets. (31 words) …Rough Country by John Sanford.
4) Remember that old adage “Put your best foot forward?” A book blurb is your story’s footprint. It speaks to the reader. It tells if you know how to write or NOT. Most blurbs can be read and grasped in fifteen seconds or less. That’s all the time you get to impress the reader. It is the most important fifteen seconds of your book’s life. Ask a few other writers or close fans you respect to read it, critique it and make suggestions. Send your finished blurb to your ereader from your computer. Wait a couple of days before you read it. Surprise! You will find an error in grammar, punctuation, verb tense or dropped words as ‘the’ or ‘a’.
5) Okay. You’ve produced the best blurb you can. Not all of us create great blurbs. We write books, we write long. Blurbs can be edited. Here’s a tip: Read the title’s reviews. Some reviewers grasp the essence of a story and include it in their reviews. Grab it. Edit it. Make it yours.
6) Declutter your book description. Think of it as cleaning out a closet. You don’t need all of those extra wire coat hangers. You only want essentials. You don’t have to mention how many pages in the book. Amazon takes care of that in Product Details. Your book description/blurb does not include the author telling the viewer it is a “cozy mystery,” or the book “is a page turner.” That can go in Editorial Reviews or From the Author, but actually, both of those comments need to come from reviewers. And if they don’t, maybe it ain’t.
7) You need several blurbs for a single book. Here’s why: Many promotion sites won’t allow more than 150 characters. That includes spaces and punctuation. Some sites, such as Indies Unlimited allow but a single sentence. Thus, for each book make a blurb file and note the number of characters.
8) For every fifteen or twenty authors who read this, only one will review his or her blurb(s) and make corrections. Smart you!
Here’s an example of the same blurb, long and short:
Need Help? Hire a Ghost. She Cooks. Lottie Roberts has been sitting on her bones since the Civil War, waiting for her ticket to heaven until Justine Hale moves into Lottie’s two-hundred-year-old house with three generations of emotional baggage–her mother, her ex mother-in-law and two pesky children. Lottie senses in Justine a kindred spirit—filled with heartache and in reduced circumstances which mirrors Lottie’s situation exactly. Justine needs help. Lottie is of a mind to provide it, but before she can say squat, Tucker Highsmith arrives. His dark eyes, lazy grin, and sexy Alabama drawl coupled with the dern braggart’s Mr. Fix-it talents just might be the answer to all of Justine’s problems–or, maybe not… Because Lottie has her own agenda, one she has been waiting, hoping and praying for since she discovered her bones on a hidden staircase. (140 Words)
Alternatively: Need Help? Hire a Ghost. She Cooks. (7 Words)
Any more tips? Share them in the comments…