How to Write a Back Cover Blurb


A great title and an eye-catching cover will entice readers to pick up your book (or click on the link), but the back-cover blurb is what will persuade them to read it.
Different Types of Summaries
First, let’s look at some common types of summaries used in the publishing industry; blurb, logline, hook, and synopsis.
Each of these types of summaries has its own unique purpose, but should be used in conjunction with the others. The following guidelines will you help you draft your own summaries, but remember to always follow individual submission guidelines.
Blurb – 100-200 words. Summarizes the story, characters, and conflict without giving away the twists, or ending. Often includes the inciting incident. Found on back covers, book flaps, and online sales descriptions.
*Note: Not to be confused with an Author Blurb which is a short endorsement from a fellow author, usually on the back cover or first few pages of the book.
Logline – 25-50 words. Boils the story down to a single, easily understood concept in one sentence. This term is most often used for films, but can be helpful for authors as well. See my article here for more information about loglines for books.
Hook – Anywhere from a few words to a few sentences. Grabs the reader’s attention while revealing the single most interesting and unique element of the story. Often found at the beginning of a blurb, on a book cover, or movie poster.
Synopsis – 1-3 pages (can even be up to 20 pages, depending on who is asking for it). Outlines the main aspects of the plot, characters, and story arc in detail. The ending and all twists are revealed. Often asked for by literary agents and publishers. Sometimes called a Summary.
Writing the Blurb
Between 100-200 words, the blurb is found on the back cover of paperbacks and on the front flap of hardcovers. The back cover of a hardcover will often display a shorter blurb or an extended hook, and/or reviews, author blurbs, and awards.
Remember the purpose of the blurb is to sell. Most readers skim blurbs and won’t give their full attention unless it grabs their interest. Stick to short sentences, short paragraphs, and use simple yet vivid descriptions and imagery.
When formatting your back-cover blurb use the acronym H.I.S.S. Hook. Inform. Stakes. Style.

Read this entire article in the May issue of Opal Writers’ magazine

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