Book Plug Friday! Selling Books is Hard. Bad Blurbs Make It Harder.
Yeah, okay, I know. Yes, we still have tons of interviews. And this is not Friday.
The explanation for its being Sunday (and no, it’s not Friday somewhere) is that I – Sarah – have managed to catch a double ear infection which made impossible for me to write coherently. (Oh, you’re a card. Charlie, please find the young man who made that joke and give him an exploding cigar.)
Anyway, I thought we’d take a break from the interviews to talk blurbs. Every time I link books for our book plug I come across blurbs that make me want to crawl away backward.
I am not the expert on blurbs among my group, but I can give you some clues about what to do and what not to do. Because some of these blurbs are so bad anything will improve them.
Let’s start by establishing what a blurb is. Recently I’ve seen it used in two senses: the blurb at the back of a book, aka the “book description” and a line or more given by a more published/better known writer that helps “push” your book, or at least get their fans to look at it.
One is not the other, and shouldn’t be confused with the other (yes, I’ve seen that.)
If you want to have a better selling writer blurb your book, do so. Just make sure they’re better selling, and that they have time to read your book/it’s the type of thing they read. For instance, people keep asking me to blurb horror. I will not blurb horror, because I don’t read or like horror. The closest I come is dark fantasy, and yes, there is a difference.
If you have one or two lines from better-selling authors, put them after your description of your book. Do not have entire paragraphs. No one will read them. If the better selling author gives you something like “I love Mary Jones’ book. Her writing thrills me, transports me, makes me want to marry her on a sunny slope on Christmas day.” Cut it down to “[Mary Jones]’s writing thrills me, transports me.”
Now your blurb, also known as your “description” of the book. I keep finding these in two modes. The first is “this is a book. Read it” or more often (using Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as an example “This book is about an upper-class woman falling in love with an upper-class guy, with a lot of misunderstandings and pride.” I’ve been guilty (as charged) of this type of blurb. It usually happens when I’m re-releasing a book I wrote ten or twelve years ago, and whose rights just reverted. I can’t even remember the nuances, much less figure out which will appeal to readers. Yeah, I know, I have a backlog of re-reading of my own stuff, though. If you find yourself doing this and it’s not a re-release, you’re probably exhausted. In either case, ask your beta readers to give you the high points about the book. Then do a blurb.