Never underestimate the importance of first impressions
Writers spend countless hours and months working on a manuscript, but then throw their book description together in a week (or less), almost like it's an afterthought. I hear many authors lament about how hard it is to write a blurb, how 'impossible' it is to get it right, but here's the thing: if you've just written a novel, are you seriously going to try to convince me that you can't write three paragraphs? Think of those few paragraphs as your first impression to a potential reader. You have thirty seconds to hook them into taking that next step and buying your book or at least reading the sample chapters.
Here are common mistakes to avoid at all costs:
- Procrastinate tackling the dreaded book blurb at all costs. Hey, stop doing this! Begin toying with your book blurb while you're revising your manuscript. Tweak it, give it to beta readers, let your writer's group give feedback on it, tweak it again. This is not a last minute task so stop treating it like it one.
- It's just a blurb, why edit it? As an editor, I often ask my clients to send their blurb to me when it's completed or while I'm editing the manuscript. I don't charge extra for this if I'm already editing their book and most editors won't, but do you know how many authors have actually taken advantage of this service? One in the past year. ONE! This is a mistake! Just like your manuscript and your other promotional materials, you need to have an editor look at your blurb for clarity, typos, grammar, and the all important hooks.
- Treating the blurb like a synopsis. They are two different things. The blurb is a selling tool designed to hook the reader, questions must be posed but not answered. The synopsis, on the other hand, is usually sent to an agent or acquisition editor who needs to know all the plot details and have things wrapped up. Do you see the difference? Leave out all the layers of plot development and character revelations, give enough to entice and seduce into a purchase in order for the reader to find out what happens.
- Being too generic in your approach. Perhaps you believe your book crosses many genres and most books do; however, in your blurb you need to allude to a specific genre so it appeals to those fans. If a mystery reader is reading your blurb and it sounds too much like something else or doesn't have those mystery hooks that appeal to him or her, then you've lost a potential fan. Read other book blurbs in your primary genre and notice their word clues. Are you using them or are you sounding to broad? You must clue a potential reader in to exactly what genre you are writing (primarily) so that they know what to expect. The last thing you want is to misrepresent it and get a bad review in return because the reader feels betrayed by the author.
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.