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How to write a killer blurb for your next novel

18 April 2019

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The blurb is usually the first contact anyone will have with your novel before deciding to purchase. Therefore, it needs to be catchy and enticing for your potential readers.

With such a limited word count it’s not always easy to write a blurb. Here’s how to get it spot-on and write a killer blurb for your next novel.

1. Maximise your word limit

The first thing to nail down is the vocabulary for your blurb. With a limited word allowance (on average 150 - 200 words) you need to use vocabulary wisely to maximise and captivate your target audience. Start with an opening sentence that will really draw your readers in.

Also, try to use words that your target reader will be familiar with and which will help you set the tone of your novel in relation to the audience. By using simple writing techniques such as hyperbole and alliteration, you’ll keep the skimming reader interested as they quickly read your blurb to see if your novel is right for them.

2. Introduce your characters

It’s a good idea to introduce some of the main characters in your novel’s blurb. By describing some of the motives, thoughts and feelings of your main characters, you give your readers a chance to discover and relate to them before reading a single page.

While you don’t need to go into too much detail here, it’s important to familiarise your readers with the key characters in your story.

A top tip to quickly introduce your characters is to describe their occupation or any vital information you want people to be aware of, through the use of one or two nouns or adjectives before their name.

3. Set the scene

Your readers want you to set the scene to really capture their interest and familiarise themselves with the basic plot.

Don’t worry too much about trying to explain any complex storylines or aspects of your novel’s universe - this is a common mistake for first-time authors who attempt to cram as much information as possible into their blurb.

4. Use a cliff-hanger

When setting the scene, remember not to give too much of your story away! You want your potential readers to finish the blurb wanting more, so make sure you end your blurb on a high.

Some recommend that you use rhetorical questions or reveal a potential clue to a major secret or plot outcome to capture the reader’s attention.

5. A final tip: read some examples

If you need some extra inspiration or ideas on a structure for your novel’s blurb, read some examples to get you started!

Many blurbs tend to follow a similar structure (depending on the genre in question) so you’ll be sure to find a structure that fits your novel.

Wrapping up

The blurb of a novel is an important selling point for any book.

By following some of the above tips, we hope to have helped you on your way to writing that killer blurb for your next novel!

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