What Is a Blurb in Publishing

Glossary > Blurb

💬 Definition of a Blurb:

A blurb is a short book description found on the back cover. It's meant to engage the reader through a short, catchy text that is descriptive, informative, and intriguing.

Related questions about blurbs:

Are blurbs and summaries the same?

To put it shortly, no. Blurbs are closer to teasers–a marketing tactic meant to intrigue and spark interest. They give insights into the story without spilling too much information to avoid spoilers. Summaries, however, are short and condensed descriptions of the storyline. 

How are blurbs different from reviews?

Mainly because of their length. A blurb aims to persuade the reader to buy the book, while a review is a critical reading of the book published in magazines. Blurbs are always laudative, praising the quality of writing and mentioning how engaging a book is while inciting curiosity about the topic or storyline.

How do you write a blurb?

Ideally, in writing a blurb, you follow the five S golden rule:  

  • Keep it short and simple. You aim to reach a vast audience, and it needs to speak to as many as possible. As for length, remember less is more. People don't have time or patience to read the full cover text.
  • Tell a story. Include hints about the plot and try to get to your reader's heart.
  • Include the main selling points of the book. You have the power to make a lasting impression on your readers. Do not waste it.

You will achieve this by sampling first through as many blurbs as possible. 

What are the elements of a blurb?

A blurb is a short description of the book (150-200 words) aimed at capturing the reader's attention while making the book stand out. This is what you would call a hook. Then it briefly mentions at least a character or the book's conflict without spilling too much about it. It should not summarize; it entices, avoiding cliches and cheesy lines and mainly appealing to the reader's emotions. It should be written in the third person.

Write more.
Worry less.

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