Saturday, February 25, 2012

How Not to Write a Book Blurb: Part II

In a previous blog post I discussed creating a book's "cover copy". In part I, I listed three things not to do. Here I continue with Part II.

1. Don't overwhelm the blurb with names. It's not necessary to give people's last names, particularly if there are more than two characters in the blurb. Try to avoid listing names of secondary characters. Sometimes relationships are enough to identify them. Her brother, her boss, his mother, their children, is preferable. The same thing goes for locations. Don't overload the paragraphs with names of cities or states or regions unless it matters. Don't present lots of names of coffee shops or hotels or companies, no matter how clever you think the names are, if names aren't really critical to the story.

2. Avoid the temptation to give long, poetic descriptions of character's physical attributes in a blurb. Go especially light on describing eye-color and hair-color. "When smoky-eyed, blonde Gemma first sees tanned, green-eyed, curly-haired Ronald, sparks fly." Really? Is the eye-color important? Will a reader buy the book because the heroine is smoky-eyed? Romance/erotica blurbs are permitted to describe a bit about the characters' hotness, like hunky or sexy.

3. Don't provide long excerpts of reviews in the blurb. Self-pubbed folks often list review after review in the description, hoping to lend credibility to their work. It doesn't impress. It usually results in a potential purchaser giving up. A reader wants to know what the story is about. Sure, if you got a review that says "..altogether superior" from some bigtime reviewer, put it in your blurb. Use a very short excerpt (no more than a phrase), the attribution, and only one review. Don't list awards the book has won unless it's a real contest everyone has heard of. Blurb real estate is valuable. Don't waste it.

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