What Is a Book Blurb? Master Blurbs to Boost Book Sales 

JD Caron
August 7, 2023

Discover what is a book blurb and how to create a book blurb to boost your book’s appeal and improve sales by studying our examples of good and bad blurbs.

The simple trick to selling more copies of your books…

Since the introduction of book selling on online platforms, there has been a quiet shift happening in the world of book marketing. Smart self-published authors are finally taking notice and using it to sell more copies of their books.

So, what is this secret tool that helps them capture more readers?

It’s the back cover copy of their book. Specifically, how it’s written. No matter if it’s print copy or on an online retailer page, you need to find a way to connect with your reader before they ever buy your book.

The most important factor that readers use to decide whether or not to read a book is the blurb”                   (Written Word Media)


Because they're proven to sell more copies of your books, book marketers are recommending authors ditch the traditional book description and opt for a book blurb instead.

What is a book blurb?

What is a book blurb?

A book blurb is a short, engaging, and enticing piece of text found on the back cover or inside flap of a book jacket. It serves as a brief summary of the book's content and is designed to capture the reader's attention and generate interest in the book. The primary goal of a book blurb is to give potential readers a glimpse of what the book is about, the main characters or themes, and the overall tone or style of the writing and entice them to take the next step, which is to look inside.

The first step being a front cover inspection. Read more about finding the most appealing cover for your book and how much book covers cost here…

What’s the difference between a book blurb and a book description?

A book blurb is a brief teaser found on the back cover or inside flap of a book, designed to generate interest and excitement. It consists of a few sentences and provides a glimpse of the book's content, characters, and tone without giving away too much.

In contrast, a book description is a more detailed summary, usually a few paragraphs in length, primarily used for online book listings. While both serve to entice readers, the blurb focuses on creating intrigue and marketing the physical book, while the description provides comprehensive information for online marketing and sales.

A book description is just that— a description of your book.

When you write in this mindset, you tend to end up with a long summary/ synopsis with oodles of detail, little or no tension, and an overflow of third-person descriptors.

For instance, you may say that your book is a “ride through a fantasy wonderland” or that “it’ll keep your pulse racing”. These sound like exciting features of your story, but they don't actually allow your readers to feel a part of that action.

In other words, you are committing the cardinal sin of telling, rather than showing.

The other problem here is that more detail generally leads to more text, and thus more effort on the reader.

When it’s difficult to scan your blurb for keywords that the readers are looking for, they’re more likely not to read it at all. And according to statistics, if you lose them at the blurb, they won’t buy your book.

Do you have the best book cover and book blurb but still struggling to get reviews?

 8 Secrets to Getting More Reviews For Your Books:Download our free resource: 

Here's what book descriptions commonly look like:

EXAMPLE ONE - FICTION BOOK

Book blurb example 1

What's wrong here?

  • Telling, not showing.
  • Wall of text.
  • No taste of the storyline.
  • Self-promotion, unrelatable.
  • Unfounded comparisons to successful book

EXAMPLE 2 - NONFICTION BOOK

What is a blurb? Non-fiction Blurb Example

What's wrong here?

  • Repetitive and boring.
  • Run-on sentences
  • Too much detail.
  • Confusing, doesn't make sense.
  • Feels tense and unrelatable.
  • Way too long.

So with that in mind, let’s redefine the definition of what is a book blurb.

What is a book blurb?

A blurb is a short promotional piece intended to make your book seem attractive to buy.

When you write in this mindset, you tend to display the best characteristics of your book up-front and in an interesting way. And, you need fewer words to do it.

You're way more likely to be understood, and you provide an immersive, emotional experience for your reader. In other words, more showing, less telling.

You also allow your readers the chance to draw their own conclusion about how they'll feel when they read the book (i.e. excited, inspired, thrilled, tense, etc.). This is a subtle way to compliment your readers and gain their respect.

All of these factors foster better engagement with your reader, and increase the likelihood of selling them your book.

Let's look at some examples of effective book blurbs:

EXAMPLE ONE - FICTION BOOK

What is a blurb? Good blurb example

What's right here?

  • Minimal and short with lots of breathing room.
  • Bolded sections to make scanning easier.
  • Varying sentence lengths.
  • Strong headline that creates intrigue.
  • Logical flow with building suspense.
  • Clear genre indicators.

EXAMPLE 2 - NONFICTION BOOK

What is a book blurb? Good book blurb example

What's right here?

  • Gets to the point quickly.
  • Introduces MC in a relatable way.
  • Front-loading the bulk of text.
  • Strong social cues (awards, accolades).
  • Clear, concise, easy to read.
  • Clear genre indicators.

For more good book blurb examples, click here…

Key takeaway: What is a book blurb VS What is a book description

BOOK DESCRIPTIONS. . . read like book reports. They’re boring and robotic. And sometimes even painful.
BOOK BLURBS. . . read like movie trailers. They tease, they connect, and they make you FEEL.

Need to learn about video trailers for your book? Click here…

What do readers want from you book blurb?

We used to go to bookstores and spend countless hours reading back covers of books to find the perfect one. We also had the opportunity to touch, smell, and feel the books, and admire them in person. It was a whole event we set time aside for.

Today, where the world has shifted to doing business online, more people are buying books through click-and-deliver retailers like Amazon and Goodreads than ever before.

But, there’s nothing romantic or nostalgic about buying books online because it’s not a fully immersive experience. So, readers just want to get in, find what they want, and get out. Which means we have much shorter attention spans to work with and higher standards to meet.

On average, you only have 7 seconds to impress a potential new reader before they move on and forget you. 

Book blurbs boost book sales

To write the best blurb we can and make this 7 seconds work for us, we have to understand the people who are reading our blurb.

Because they're just browsing at first, new potential readers tend to be lazy, needy, emotional, judgmental, impulsive, superficial, and easily distracted. They’re letting their eyes guide them, then making decisions with their emotions. So you have to be able to get their attention when they barely have an attention span, and force them to do a double-take on your book.

In this sense, your blurb's purpose is to make the decision to buy your book as easy as breathing.

The exciting part about blurbs is that they’re WAY EASIER to write than book descriptions. And, they should be relatively quick to do. Let's dive into that now.

How to write a good book blurb

  • Your readers' main concerns

Your blurb should invite a person in and reassure them that none of their time will be wasted.

All we have to do is formulate our blurb to answer two questions:

"Are you talking to me?" (Is this the genre your reader enjoys reading?)

"Is this worth my time?" (What is the main story arc/message, and is it one they are interested in?)

If you can satisfy their concerns, the amount of money they're willing to spend becomes almost limitless.

Once you answer these two questions, you’ll have the basic structure for a powerful blurb. Now, there are differences in how to answer these questions between fiction and nonfiction books but the root is the same.

Now that you have all the building blocks in place, let's polish it up. There are two components to work on:

  • Visual appeal

Since we know our readers are easily distracted, appearances matter. This is the first barrier to engaging your readers.

Nobody will bother to read the blurb until they feel relaxed and intrigued by the way it looks.

Make sure your blurb has these visual cues to catch readers' attention:

  1. A bolded headline
  2. Clean look,lots of breathing room
  3. Consistent structure
  4. Short overall length
  5. Biggest paragraphs first
  6. Social proof
  • Content & structure

The second barrier is the flow of your blurb and how it makes readers feel.

If the blurb reads as easy as it looks, you'll get great engagement from readers.

Always include:

  1. A juicy headline
  2. Logical flow
  3. Plenty of genre indicators
  4. Clear, simple language
  5. Emotion and power words
  6. Set realistic expectations
  • Length of a blurb

Short is best…

THE BEST BLURBS ARE BETWEEN 100-200 WORDS.

Any more than that, readers will be catching the quickest ride off your page…by jumping to another author’s page and buying their book instead.

If you're stuck on how to start, pretend you're just about to head out the door and your good friend asked you "Hey, what's your new book about?".

PRO TIP:

IF YOU HAD JUST 1 MINUTE IN WHICH TO TELL THIS GOOD FRIEND ABOUT YOUR BOOK, HOW WOULD YOU WORD IT?

Which parts would you want them to know the most? What parts might they find the most interesting? What would YOU want to know in that 1 minute if you were trying to decide whether or not a book was for you?

Key Takeaway of writing a blurb

Make readers feel SOMETHING and do it as quickly as possible.

If you can get your reader attached to your story from when they lock eyes with it, you'll easily sell more copies of your book. Stop wasting your precious time (and pulling your last nerve) on describing your book when you can write a quick blurb instead. You'll have more fun, and you'll attract more readers!

With a strong ad campaign, an engaging book blurb will sell more copies of your book, get you more readers, and give you a strong foothold as a self-published author. And remember to capitalize from your momentum by growing your subscriber base using reader magnets.

Happy writing!

If you need any assistance with blurb writing or anything else relating to preparing your book for release and improving your marketing efforts thereafter, schedule a free discovery call today.

About the author 

JD Caron

Denis was a coach long before he ever knew what that was. From his time in the military, to the decade he spent as a 911 ambulance dispatcher, he constantly found himself in leadership and teaching roles (he knows his way around an emergency). And after struggling to self-publish his first book, he knew he could help others do it better.

Currently, Denis is traveling around Europe, exploring WWII sites and sampling all the delightful cuisine the continent has to offer.

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