Whether you’re working with a publishing house or are an indie author, your story must have an enticing (cover) blurb. One that makes the reader open your book because they have to know more. Think of the cover blurb as a cure-all for some ailment the reader didn’t know they had until right then. Because that’s what the blurb is–an advertisement.
I’m going to assume that you’ve already attained a fabulous, eye-catching cover and title. Both the cover and title must clue the reader in to the following:
So what elements are required in the blurb?
- Genre: What does the reader expect from the genre?
- Protagonist(s) defined (three-dimensional: past (old world), present (new world), future (what they want their world to look like)
- Character Flaws (Enneagram is a great place to get ideas)
- Inciting Incident
- Who or what stands in the way of attaining Goal (Antagonist)
- Risk (What will they lose if they don’t attain their goal?)
Your job is to take the above information and weave it into the format below.
- A hook,
- The problem,
- How your main character plans on fixing that problem; and
- What will happen if she doesn’t get her goal?
If it’s a romance, include the second protagonist too.
That’s it. Check out blurbs in the genre you write and compare. It’s fun!
Below I’ve created two examples. Notice the similar formats but also how I’ve used different words to hint at the mood and tone of the book. Also try to limit the blurb to 150 words.
Example 1 (Dark, Erotic, Paranormal Romance):
Demon Slayer Cassie Munroe is no angel (hook). Or so she thought. Eons ago she made a rash (flaw) bargain with the Demon Lord (antagonist) to save her sister’s life (primal; catalyst) and lost her soul (wound)—a soul that unknowingly unlocked the Holy Grail. And one she’s devoted her life to reclaim by hunting down the lord’s lineage to halt the inevitable world destruction (Goal).
When Incubus (job) Lucas Grant (Protagonist) targets the sensual beauty, he gets more than the primal romp of an unabashed human female; he discovers Cassie is his soulmate (Inciting Incident). And as their passion ignites and he discovers she’s the Grail Keeper, he’ll stop at nothing to protect Cassie from his family’s secret that would surely destroy them both.
But when Lucas goes underground and Cassie discovers her soul is the source of Lucas’s family’s power, she can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing her all along… Going after what she’s been designed to guard, will Cassie have to slay the only man she’s ever loved to save the world from destruction? (Risk)
Example 2 (Contemporary Romantic comedy):
Cake and Bake owner Cassie Munroe is no Martha Stewart (hook). Her mother’s made that point clear (wound). Inheriting the business (catalyst), she made a doughy (flaw) contract with the bank (antagonist) to secure her Main Street location, but she needs help in the kitchen if she’s to keep her family’s business going and prove her mother wrong (primal; inciting incident). Finding a partner who matches her high standards (flaw) is the only way she’ll keep her ovens baking (Goal).
When Pastry Chef (job) Lucas Grant (Protagonist) targets the floured-faced beauty, he gets more than sugar and spice. Yet as their passion heats up, he discovers Cassie isn’t only bad with finances, she’s been trekking to the Cupcake Queen two counties over to fill her bakery cases so she can prove to her mother she’s not a failure.
With Lucas’s help, will Cassie’s heap of cookbooks be enough to keep her doors from closing? Or the man she’s come to love from buttering his last roll of phyllo? (Risk)
To design an awesome blurb that grabs the reader’s attention and has them running to purchase your book, combine the four elements: hook, problem, how your main character plans on fixing that problem, and what will happen if she doesn’t get her goal.