Book Blurbs

The book blurb I wrote for my first novel The Debt Collectors: A Lucy Vaughn Mystery does not reflect how I would write it today. Just like anything, practice and experience help. The blurb read like this:

“Lucy Vaughn is a sweepstakes enthusiast who has recently moved from Virginia to Sacramento, California after winning a large sum of money. Her plan is to get a fresh start away from the problems she left behind. At first, things seem to be very lucky for Lucy, who meets handsome neighbor Thorne and continues to win sweepstakes. But that all changes when supernatural forces disrupt her life.”

After doing some research, writing experts seem to agree on the steps to writing a great blurb. An article at summarizes it nicely:

  1. Introduce your protagonist.
  2. Set the stage for the main conflict.
  3. Establish the stakes.
  4. Show the reader why they are the relevant audience.

If I look back at my blurb above, my first sentence introduced my protagonist (Step 1) and the last sentence alludes to the conflict (Step 2). However, I could do better at establishing the stakes (Step 3) and my blurb does not mention who should read the book (Step 4).

Based on this, when I have time to go back and revise my original book blurb, I will. Right now, I’m using what I’ve learned about writing blurbs to create one for my second novel Christmas in Cave Creek: A Lucy Vaughn Mystery which I’m publishing this year. Aside from using these steps, I also asked some trusted writers for their opinion on the draft of my blurb. The primary question I asked them was, based on the blurb, would they buy the book? Why or why not?

Read blurbs of popular books published in your genre. Why do they work? What elements do you see in them?

There are, of course, professionals that can help with blurb writing. But if you are self-publishing and that is not in your budget, this is a good place to begin.

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