The thing is that when I start out trying to learn about something, in this case how to write better blurbs for my ebooks, I end up sucked in by good blurbs and buying more books.
But I think—just guessing, mind—that I did learn something about blurb writing by all this flitting about. For one thing blurbs are a lot like the books they’re trying to sell; the opening lines are hyper important; they’re the hook, the rest is fishing line. And all the best blurbs have power words—potent words that appeal to the reader’s emotions and curiosity and (hopefully) honestly convey the tone and tenor of the book.
Now you need to know that this research of mine has cost me, not only in dollars spent, but in endless hours of enjoyable reading. I’ve bought every book listed below and a lot more (“I can attest to that,” whines my groaning Kindle.) Sadly, I haven’t yet read them all, but their blurbs have worked well enough to land them on my Kindle. Learn by example, I say. And I think I learned from these blurbs. (And remember, what’s below is only the beginning of the blurb.)
OFF SIDES, Sawyer Bennett (Have read this book. Fabulous!)
- “I’m not sure what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the impossible expectations I faced, maybe it was my own self-loathing. But I just knew I needed something different to happen. I needed someone…something…to derail me from my current path. Otherwise, I would become lost…a hollowed out shell of a man. So I did it. I approached her, then I pursued her, then I made her mine. And my life was saved…”
Great emotional/personal touch. Maybe it was the first-person, maybe it was those last two lines. Power words: expectations, hollowed, derail, mine, saved.
WOOL, Hugh Howey (Read and marvelled at…)
- Thousands of them have lived underground. They’ve lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside.
Hugh Howey’s work has reached the stratosphere since this blurb was written. Cue recent major (world) book tour and movie deal. But his blurb came first, well, second after writing a great story, and it’s a strong one. Power words: thousands, legends, safe, outside, rules, never.
BREAKERS, Edward W Robertson (read it and loved it)
- In New York, Walt Lawson is about to lose his girlfriend Vanessa. In Los Angeles, Raymond and Mia James are about to lose their house. Within days, none of it will matter.
This blurb tells me that the world is changing in unimaginable ways. Power words: New York, Los Angeles, lose, days.
BOY’S LIFE, Robert R McCammon
- Small town boys see weird sights, and Zephyr has provided Cory Jay Mackenson with his fair share of oddities. He knows the bootleggers who lurk in the dark places outside of town. On moonless nights, he’s heard spirits congregate in the churchyard to reminisce about the good old days. He’s seen rain that flooded Main Street and left it crawling with snakes. Cory knows magic, and relishes it as only a young boy can.
Can’t wait to read this one—magical blurb. Power words: weird, dark, spirits, moonless, magic, snakes.
HOPELESS, Colleen Hoover
- Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…That’s what Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past she wishes could just stay buried.
This book has great reviews and is a huge seller. I haven’t read it yet, but what a blurb. Power words: truth, hopeless, lies, uncanny, captivates, buried memories.
THE RECLAIMED, Phil Stern (short)
- Death is never final in Greenville, a frontier community on a faraway planet. Every year the townspeople vote on who will be Reclaimed, granting them a new life following an untimely, fatal accident. Often the elections are divisive, pitting neighbor against neighbor, or even family members against one another.
Lots of questions raised in this blurb. Power words: death, planet, vote, reclaimed, elections, divisive.
So what have I learned from my blurbing journey down the Amazon? Pay attention to those opening lines, use power words, convey the tone of the book—and don’t mislead the reader. Oh, and after you’ve set the hook, don’t make the fishing line too long; you risk breakage.
Please share some good blurbs. I’m all ears—for a gnat.
EC’s books are on Amazon, here: http://amzn.to/Lgyz0m