Topic: Book blurbs

Now that our good friend and TNBW fellow Mr. Jake J. Harrison, AKA cobber, has published State of Vengeance, I checked the blurb he wrote for Amazon (yes, that one right under the title and the available editions and prices). The blurb is certainly appealing and it conveys the message that the book is full of action, mystery, and emotion. Only at the very end, in the last line, there’s a praise for the book, from another of our fellow TNBW writers.

I signed up at the Fussy Librarian and Riffle to receive a weekly “ebooks deal” email--I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Half of the time, the 2-4 lines blurb under each recommended title contains a brief synopsis of the story, long enough to pick your attention, short enough not to spoil the story. And half of the time it’s only praise.


Pearl Chin and her sister May have out their father gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls the girls as wives to suitors who have travelled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides.


From a #1 New York Times bestselling author. “Masterful. Like nothing else out there now”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review.

Which one actually invites you to read the book? I prefer the first one because it tells me what the book is about. The second one is no guarantee, even if the book is reported to be a bestseller (the rest of the world may have gone wacko buying it for all I know). I’ve never purchased a book because it’s a best seller or because Kirkus Reviews thinks is masterfully. It may be masterfully for them, but beauty is on the eye of the beholder.

So, when you write a short blurb, one that needs to fit in 2-4 lines, rather than praising your story—even if it surpasses several of Shakespeare’s works—I think the best tis o make a short summary highlighting the elements that may attract the reader. However, it seems there are a bunch of writers/publishers who think that readers buy books only because other people buy them, even if they ignore what the book is about.

What do you think?


Re: Book blurbs

There are blurbs and there are blurbs. When I think of a blurb, I'm thinking of a short summary of the book. Blurbs that are essentially bits from a review are different. A book needs both. And on Amazon, if you post lines in "editorial reviews," you get both.

3 (edited by j p lundstrom 2017-10-02 23:07:07)

Re: Book blurbs

These are different things, all useful in their proper place.

Blurb--A blurb is a short promotional piece accompanying a creative work. It may be written by the author or publisher or quote praise from others.  Blurbs were originally printed on the back or rear dust-jacket of a book, and are now found on DVD and video cases, web portals, and news websites.(Wikipedia)
Not a technical term, this is what you write to pique a potential reader's interest in your book.

Summary--Abridgement, the act of reducing a written work, typically a book, into a shorter form  (Of the several types listed by Wikipedia, I felt this was the most applicable)
A three-page summary is what an agent/editor may request. (Some of you may have had a different experience.) This includes the entire plot and ending. Too long to be a blurb, it would be a spoiler if it were to be presented to potential readers.

Synopsis--A book synopsis is simply a very short description of the main theme of a nonfiction work. The synopsis deals with the novel’s central characters, their conflicts and their relationships. However, it does not get into any subplots unless they directly affect the central plot.
The book synopsis is typically used by editors to determine if they want to work with a new (or seasoned) author. Though editors (and agents) will probably read a sample chapter or two of a novel first, they’ll then want to skim the synopsis to get a feel for the whole work. (Explore Writing) … e-one.html
Again, TMI for a blurb.

Review--A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review may be a primary source, opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review. (Wikipedia)
This is what someone else writes about your book. It might claim that your book will be a bestseller, or it may not. Ii's entirely up to the reviewer.

Sorry--I can't help it. I went to a school for pre-law where every discussion began with "define_____." Hope it helps.  JP

Re: Book blurbs

If pre-law is 'define ____', does law school begin 're-define _____'?

Re: Book blurbs

njc wrote:

If pre-law is 'define ____', does law school begin 're-define _____'?

I don't know--I didn't go. I got tired of being in school. It was the sixties, after all.  JP