By Brooke Thompson
Whether you are writing for an online audience or trying to sell your book for the youth in a store, it’s important to entice your audience to read your story. While a fascinating book title is half the battle of attracting a potential reader, an interesting blurb is a must.
Sometimes creating a blurb can be tricky, as we can get carried away with details (or lack thereof). And that can easily turn away potential readers, including teens and young adults, and buyers, such as parents and teachers.
So: how to write a book blurb? How do we as authors craft an eye-catching blurb that tells the reader enough information about the book yet does not give the plot away?
First, let’s understand the purpose of a book blurb.
Table of Contents
What is a Book Blurb?
A blurb needs to satisfy three things:
Who the main character is (or characters are),
What the story is going to be about, and
What the story genre is.
When formulating a blurb, go ahead and write what your story is about. After you’re done, reflect on it. Ask yourself these questions:
Does the blurb seem too long?
Does it contain too much information?
Does the blurb leave my audience wanting more or less?
Does it make my book sound interesting or cliché?
Sounds easy enough, right?
Common mistakes authors make when formulating their blurbs include writing a blurb that has too much information, is way too long, or has a weird dialogue-synopsis blend. Or, worse, the synopsis does not properly capture the essence of their own story, causing a major turn-off to readers.
But how can you avoid making these errors when writing a blurb? Here are four ways to write a dazzling blurb for your children’s book.
You may also like: How to Self-Publish Children’s Books Without Crushing Your Spirits (A Comprehensive Guide)
How to write a blurb for your children’s book
1. Be mysterious
Humans by nature love a little mystery. The key to creating a successful blurb for your children’s book is telling the audience enough information about the story without giving explicit details about what will happen.
While it is fine to give away a plot point or two, try not to reveal several. By adding too much information, your story will lose the element of surprise.
Thus, this will make your potential reader wonder, “What’s the point of reading this book if I already know what’s going to happen?” You don’t want that.
At the same time, do not make your blurb too vague. This results in making your book sound either cliché or boring.
To give an example, look up the blurb for Looking for Alaska. It is the epitome of vagueness. While the blurb gives you an idea of what kind of story you will be reading, you don’t really know what is going to happen.
Based on the blurb, all you know is that it will be a coming-of-age type of story featuring a boy named Miles who goes to a new school and seeks a “Great Perhaps.” He meets a girl named Alaska who shakes up his world.
It sounds like the start up to any cliché coming-of-age/romance story. However, this one sentence at the end of the blurb shakes up the mold: “After. Nothing is ever the same.”
The last sentence makes the potential reader think, “After? After what happens? ‘Nothing will ever be the same’ after what happens?”
The mysteriousness in that line is an example of what draws people into reading a book like that.
2. Add a scene from the book that captures its essence
If you are struggling with creating an interesting blurb, why not add some dialogue or even a short scene from your story?
Your reader gets a taste of what is happening and clues them in on what kind of book they are picking up.
Twilight is an example of how a snippet from a book can create a successful blurb. The snippet in question was taken from a scene in the novel where the protagonist Bella is reflecting on her thoughts about Edward – the mysterious boy at her school.
To give a simplified version of what was chosen as the blurb, it states that: Edward is a vampire; he is a danger to be around, and Bella is in love with him.
The blurb satisfies these three things: who the characters are, what the story is about, and what kind of story it is.
While it accomplishes that, the blurb also adds an element of suspense as the reader (provided they didn’t watch the 2008 movie) will be wondering how a relationship between a human and vampire will work out.
3. Write a book blurb of less than ten sentences
This one might be a little controversial, but talking from personal experience, nobody enjoys reading a wall of text. As a YA book lover, it’s easy to lose interest in a book whose blurb goes on for 15+ sentences.
This kind of relates back to being mysterious. Remember: less is more. Try summing up your story in about ten sentences.
Look at the blurb to The Hunger Games. Six sentences make up that entire blurb, yet the readers have a basic understanding of what the story is about, who the main character is, and what kind of book they are getting themselves into.
Also, just as it is important to have an interesting first sentence of a story, try to apply this principle with the first two sentences of the blurb. While it depends on the website, some, like Quotev and Wattpad, will only display the first two sentences of a blurb in the description feature.
Therefore, it is imperative that you have a hook in those sentences – something that really draws the reader in.
4. Get feedback
Just like any writing, getting feedback is very important. If you are feeling unsure about your blurb, ask a friend to look over it. Ask them (and make sure they are honest) if they would read your story based on the blurb.
If not, ask them the four questions at the beginning of the article and amend your blurb from there.
Formulating an amazing blurb for your children’s book isn’t exactly rocket science, but it can be when we are trying to attract readers to our stories.
Your blurb is an introduction of your story to the world. And we all know how important first impressions can be, for books or otherwise. So just be sure to take your time with it.
If all else fails, remember: be mysterious and write less than ten sentences. Or, if you’re feeling stuck, use a scene or some dialogue for a blurb. Using these simple tactics can really help you create an effective blurb that will dazzle readers.
What do you think? Do you have any tips on creating an effective blurb for your children’s book? Let us know in the comments what you think.