IWSG — Back Cover Blurb Blues

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. IWSG_Badge

I’ve been working on the back cover blurb for Book 2: Trouble By Any Other Name. The problem is that there are so many important elements to the story — how do you include them all and still keep it short, yet interesting enough to entice readers to take a chance on the book? Obviously, some of the elements have to be left out, because there’s just not room enough on the back of the book. Therein, lies my frustration.

I craft a blurb and think, wow, this is great. Then something else occurs to me that really should be included. Back to the drawing board. Okay, now I’ve got it… but, wait, I need to include this other detail. Back to the drawing board. Okay, this one is really good… oh, wait… You get the idea.

Trying to condense a complex 600-page book into a couple of paragraphs is an exercise in hair pulling and teeth gnashing. But if it’s not right, no one will buy the book, even though it might be something they’d like.

I know every writer goes through this, but man, it can sure drive you nuts. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board…





© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

32 thoughts on “IWSG — Back Cover Blurb Blues

  1. I think the blurb is one of the hardest things ever. I know a lot of stuff got left out of my blurb just for the sake of keeping things streamlined. I had to do the same with my synopsis. I keep thinking, “but there’s so much more!” Alas, sometimes the simpler stuff is better.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. To create my fiction blurbs, I respond to these few questions:

    Who is the hero/heroine?
    What does the hero/heroine have to do?
    Why are they the only one that can do it?
    What stands in his/her way?
    Who or what is the antagonist?
    What will happen if they don’t meet their goal?
    Somehow in all this, suggest the genre, hint at the conflict/mission/potential for love/death.

    I still REALLY hate to do them. It always feels like I’ve missed so much out, but I try to remember that less is more when it comes to hooking readers.

    Shah X


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the key is knowing where the heart of the conflict lies. All the details are fun, but as long as the reader has a sense of setting, characters, and a hook, that’s all they need. (Especially the hook.) They’ll read the book for the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is the third blog I have read this morning. The first one was about writing for yourself and not for others and the second was recrafting their summary and cover as their sales weren’t doing well. This is definitely a hard thing to craft…a blurb/summary that will grab peoples attention. I know I’m stressing out about mine as I edit away. Have you had friends/other writers read it and maybe give you some advice on what you can say? Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Writing my blurbs is when I use critique partners or beta user who haven’t read the book yet. Craft the blurb you think is best & give it to them. They can tell you what parts pique their interest and what parts just muddy the description of the book. Have you ever highlighted your hair? You only want to include the really blond sections of your book in the blurb. 😉 Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I second what Shah said. Those are the main questions that should be answered in the book’s description. Everything else should be left for the reader to read. I also agree about getting feedback. Also, consider taking books you’ve read and read their descriptions. That way you can get an idea of what they focused on and how much they left out that is important but not necessary in the blurb.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can imagine. I’m very bad at keeping things short. Word limits have always been my downfall. Take your time and come up with several options and then test them out to see what people respond to perhaps. Things are rarely perfect on the first, second or even third attempt, so it’s ok not to settle on one too quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s easy to write a blurb if it’s someone else’s novel. That’s the key. We’re too emotionally involved to see what works best. It always surprises me when I read the blurb of a book I’ve read and the blurb is vague and unappealing. I think to myself, they should have asked me to write it. So, my advice, list all the elements you want the surfer to know, then pick the most powerful. The one you know they won’t be able to resist. Now, don’t you dare read my novel’s blurb. They’re boring.

    Liked by 1 person

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