29 April 2013

SELF PUBLISHING AN EBOOK - PART 2 - Writing A Catchy Book Blurb

The book blurb is the second most important thing you will write (the first being your book).  Think of it as the shop window for your story.  It will tell readers what they might expect when they read your book so, make it enticing by telling enough about your story, but not too much.

The elements of your book blurb

  1. Approximately 250 words max - three or four paragraphs depending on the length of your book.
  2. Start with a hook.
  3. Introduce one, perhaps two characters, and the setting.
  4. Present the main conflict.
  5. Don't reveal too much!  Leave your reader desperate to read your book.
Now, let's face it, compressing your entire manuscript’s story into three or four short paragraphs is a daunting task.    You have to make every word count.  So how do you tackle this?
  • My first suggestion is to look at the blurbs of the books on your bookshelves at home.  Also, the blurbs of books on Amazon and Goodreads, perhaps.  Just to get a feel for what is needed.
  • You can choose a particular spot in the manuscript to focus on as I did in the blurb for Once Upon A Lie.  I centred on the victim's death.

 Little did, businessman and entrepreneur, Michael Rossi know that the telephone call he answered on that fateful Friday would be the catalyst for his death, and the subsequent recovery of his body from the waters of Sydney Harbour the following morning.
  • Or you might choose some words from your manuscript spoken by a particular character that will hook your reader.
  •  Alternatively, you can start by introducing your protagonist, the setting, and his/her quest as I did in The Celtic Dagger.

 When university professor Alex Wearing is murdered in his study, Detective Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn is assigned to the case.  A detective from the old guard, whose methodical, painstaking methods are viewed by some as archaic, Fitzjohn begins his relentless pursuit for the killer, seeing Alex’s brother, James, as a key suspect in his investigation.

However you choose to start, make sure your last paragraph leaves your reader wanting to read your book.  Here are a few examples of last paragraphs in your book blurb.

Unaware of her nephew’s fate, Esme Timmons retires for the evening, unsuspecting of the events about to unfold; events that will, ultimately, expose a grim lie, buried deep in the past.


Feeling compelled to clear himself of suspicion, James starts his own investigation and finds himself immersed in a web of intrigue, ultimately uncovering long hidden secrets about his brother’s life.  Is this why Alex was murdered?

Your main purpose in writing a blurb for your book is to convince readers that it's a book that will provide them with what they are looking for be it mystery, romance etc., and that, according to the blurb they have just read, your book is going to do just that.  But there is one more thing that is very important and that is - remember to be honest in what you say.  Don’t write anything in your blurb that is not in your book.

PART 1 - Self Publishing an eBook - Formatting your manuscript

Get All Your Self Publishing Information In One Pocket Guide


This self publishing pocket guide takes you through what you need to do in order to self publish your book.  From information on formatting your manuscript, deciding on a cover and book blurb to decisions on price, ISBN, and choice of categories, it also includes helpful web site links plus marketing and author platform ideas to enable you to start your self publishing journey with confidence.


  1. Great advice Jill!
    I agree on the importance of the blurb and have even considered paying a copywriter to do one for me. Unfortunately, haven't ever heard of one that specializes in blurbs!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Marla.
      I've never heard of anyone who specialises in writing book blurbs. It's something to investigate.
      But then, who knows your book better than you, so in that respect you would probably write a much better blurb!

  2. More good advice Jill. Blurbs are very important because most readers are going to read those first to see if the book content interests them.

    I found your latest blurb for "Once Upon A Lie" to be very interesting and informative...and an accurate description of your captivating "cozy mystery." Great Job!

  3. Thanks Anna. I think blurbs take me longer to write than the book.

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  5. Thanks Jill...this was very helpful. Writing that blurb is harder than writing the book. Maybe it's the extreme of what Mark Twain touched when he said something like, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."

    Thanks again,


    1. Thanks for your comment, Lawrence. I'm pleased you found my post helpful. Writing book blurb is certainly a challenge. I wonder if it gets easier with practice.

    2. Now that's funny Jill - that's means I have to get busy (busier) and write a lot more books!

      Somehow this reminds me of an author who made the claim on his blog that one needs to write 1 million words before finding one's style. I don't think he appreciated my sense of humor when I commented that I'm totally screwed then, as I don't one million words!

      Anyways, I just blogged about this big (little) ordeal, and it was kind of fun to add a little music and a picture to complement the blurb...would love to hear what you think!


    3. I seem to remember reading about that - 1 million words to find your style. I wouldn't worry about it, Lawrence. I'm sure it's not true.
      I'll have a look at your post.

  6. Whew, thanks Jill...that's a lot of math. :)

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    1. Thank you Michele. I shall. Great to have you here.

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