Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps

Any writer who’s had to write a query or a synopsis for a submission knows how hard it can be.

Trying to boil the essence of your carefully crafted story to a few paragraphs, or a page seems like the hardest thing ever.

I’m here to tell you it’s not. And that’s because there’s a greater horror: a book blurb.

A book blurb, or the book jacket description, summarizes the best part of your book in only 150 words (yep! one hundred and fifty).

If you’re wondering how to do that and where to start, it involves penning multiple drafts, lots of cutting, losing your sanity, and planning your blurb with the help of these steps.

Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps

Step 1: Add A Tag-Line

Open with one catchy line, a question, or a hook.

Step 2: Introduce Your Main Character

Put their name, age (if applicable for the genre), their job (cop, teacher, high school student) and/or anything interesting that is specific to them (a princess, a thief, etc).

Step 3: Write About The Situation/Main Problem

Now it’s time to briefly discuss just one key point of your novel. It could be what kicks the story off, i.e. a murder. The main situation, such as a battle between two armies. Or the main problem, like a priceless stolen artifact and the hunt for it.

Step 4: End With The Stakes/Twist/Cliffhanger

Step four is one of the most important paragraphs. It needs to let the reader know the stakes (what will happen if the MC doesn’t get what they need), or hint at a twist, and end with the reader wanting more.

You want them desperate to know what happens in the story, wanting to open to the first page, wanting to read the book, wanting to buy it.

Unlike a synopsis, your book blurb is not a play-by-play of your story. You aren’t pitching to a publisher or agent, you’re pitching to a wide number of readers and they don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of your story to take an interest. They need hints to make them interested and eager to know what will happen.

It’s not a review, so keep any quotes about the book being “a mind-blowing trip” or “spine-tingling” out of it. They’re fine on your cover, or on the back in a separate section, but shouldn’t be part of the blurb.

Don’t over-think it. Don’t put everything in. Show off your creative writing. Set the tone of the story.

I recently used this formula to write the blurb for my upcoming debut, Blackbirch: The Beginning, which you can read below.

Welcome to Blackbirch. It’s a place no one forgets. Except for Josh Taylor.

The fatal car crash took more than 17-year-old Josh’s parents. It stole his memories and returned him to his birthplace, Blackbirch, a tourist town steeped in a history of witchcraft.

Amongst friends he’s forgotten and a life he doesn’t want, Josh is haunted by nightmares so believable he swears the girl in his dreams is real. Kallie is so captivating he ignores her blood-stained hands, but he can’t overlook the blue glow summoned to her skin.

Kallie says it’s an ancient magic they share and a secret worth hiding, because as Josh discovers, they aren’t the only gifted ones.

To restore his memories and find the true cause of the car accident, he must learn what’s real. And what secrets Blackbirch has buried in its woods.

As you can see, there’s a tag-line, the intro of the MC, a situation, the stakes, and a last line that hints at something more—all in only 142 words! This will go on the back of my book and (hopefully) entice readers to want to pick it up.

I also hope these tips and steps help you craft the best blurb for your book.

Happy blurbing!

— K.M. Allan

If my blurb has piqued your interest and you’d like to read Blackbirch: The Beginning, I’ve got 25 ebook ARC’s (advanced reader copies) to give away in exchange for an honest review on Goodreads, Amazon, or wherever you wish to leave one.

**Update** Thank you to everyone who requested a copy. All slots have now been filled and the ARC has been sent. I hope you enjoy it!

K.M. Allan Blackbirch ARC Banner

61 thoughts on “Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps

  1. Pingback: Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps | wordrefiner

  2. A tip of my own: if you’re active on Goodreads, it might be worth looking through a genre-appropriate groups and see if there are people willing to give their feedback on WIP blurbs. I found that way helpful to squish it from 200+ words to barely over half.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great tip, Tomas 😊. I ran mine through as many different people/writers as I could, and one of the best bits of feedback/advice I got was from someone who said they’re stopped reading a longer, earlier version by the 5th paragraph. It really forced me to cut down the length.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps – Written By K. M. Allan – Writer's Treasure Chest

  4. A great post breaking down the daunting task of writing book blurbs. Yours is fantastic, and thanks to your expertise you’ve helped me craft an enticing pitch. Thanks for all your help Kate, it’s really appreciated.

    Best of luck with your book release. 💜👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Back in the days when you could read short fiction in magazines and newspapers, “short-short” stories of 500 to 700 words were used as filler. Great authors like O. Henry wrote short-shorts. Long ago, I read an interview with an old-line science fiction author (sorry don’t recall his name) who said he wrote short-shorts because they were far more challenging than a longer form of the same story. And, there was a market for them. Think of your blurb as a short-short, and take on the task knowing that even great authors considered them challenging. But challenging doesn’t mean it can’t be done, as Kate shows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t done a lot of short story writing so maybe that was why I struggled with my blurb? 🤔. So interesting that great writers used to write them as fillers for magazines. Thanks for sharing 😊.


  6. Pingback: Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps — K.M. Allan – The Write Nook

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  8. Tom Austin

    Reblogged this on Abitsa and commented:
    I posted this the other day, but it didn’t function as advertised. So without further adieu here is K.M. Allan to explain all about the book blurb. One of these days I’m going to ask her what the K.M. stands for. I’m betting on Katherine Marie or Katherine Margaret.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tom Austin

    I reblogged this piece of sage advice on my site abitsa.worpress.com. Since I’m here, I’d like you to blog about your personal experience with regard to doing this. How many times did you curse, kick the garbage can, tear your hair out, etc. I have never heard of any author saying anything kind thing about the process. While I’m tilting at windmills what do the initials K. M. stand for? I’m betting on Katherine Marie or Katherine Margaret. Enquiring minds want to know and nosy ones too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was pretty frustrating, but I did keep all my garbage cans intact 😅. You guessed the K right, although it’s spelled Kathryn and I’ve always been/preferred to be called Kate 😊.


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