Blog: Blurb Writing Process

Blog: Blurb Writing Process

Reading Time: 6 minutes read

Book blurbs are a necessary task in the writing process—from query letters to self-publishing, you need a good blurb to get any hooks. Your blurb tells the audience what your book is about in as few words as possible. I try to keep mine under 200 words. 

Thanks to a friend (Vincent Yam, go check out his books), I have a tried and true format for writing blurbs. In this article, I’m going to break it down and show how I use it. 

Blurb Format

Initial hook (1-2 lines tops)

The hook is, arguably, the most important part of the blurb. It’s what catches the reader’s eye when they first start reading about your book. The hook needs to summarize what your story is about in about 1 to 2 sentences.

Here are some examples from my works:

Freedom comes with a price, even among the skies.

—To the Sky

Dragons aren’t the answer to all the world’s problems, but they certainly help. 

—Serenity

When the King of Hell comes to call, you answer.

—Sandalwood

They’re all short and tell what the book is about from the beginning while being catchy, too. 

Introduce MC and briefly the setting

This is where we tell the reader who they should be rooting for, and where the story takes place.

Tessa is the only child of the Winderian royal family. She’s grown up sheltered in a world where magic is taboo. On the other hand, James is the sky pirate captain of Coincidence. He has the freedom of a mostly law-abiding civilian. 

—To the Sky

This one starts with Tessa, one of the point of view characters. It also explains where she’s from and has some small information on the setting. Then we learn about James, and learn that there are sky pirates in this setting. 

Rueben has just been promoted to Captain of the Royal Guard…Avery the High Paladin struggles to balance the demon attacks and the kingdom tearing away from the Church.

—Serenity

We learn in Serenity’s second part that Rueben and Avery are the main characters. We also learn Serenity’s setting is the kingdom and Church. 

Dakota Halloway is a witch in Silver Valley, Nevada. They own a successful metaphysical shop downtown, and they live with their demon companion named Lou. The city is teeming with all sorts of supernaturals—both known and unknown. 

—Sandalwood

For Sandalwood, Dakota is the main character. The reader learns witches exist in this setting, alongside demons and other supernatural creatures.

Introduce stakes

Here we tell the reader what threatens the main character(s) of the story.

It is one thing that Tessa’s betrothed is an evil sorcerer that wants to take over Winderia by any means necessary, but what she does with that knowledge is much more complicated.

—To the Sky

Tessa’s betrothed is an evil sorcerer. What does she do about it?

Young and eager to prove himself, [Rueben] sets out to wake a long-slumbering dragon and bring an end to the demon killing spree…With the help of the rest of the Council, he puts pressure on the king to maintain the connection between the kingdom and The Way.

—Serenity

Rueben plans to summon a dragon to defeat demons killing his people. Avery has to contend with the king of the setting. 

Something is killing witches around town. Dakota is positive it’s a demon doing the killing, and has taken it upon themself to investigate the murders without the help of the police.

—Sandalwood

Dakota wants to stop the person/thing killing the witches in their area. 

Heighten stakes

Now we take the stakes and heighten them. What happens to make the story more dangerous/interesting?

Running away gets her nowhere; not with James set out to bring her back to her parents.

—To the Sky

Tessa runs away from home—from her betrothed—but is brought back home. How does she deal with the sorcerer now?

Their different approaches will bring them closer to the demons than either of them ever wanted—Rueben with the demons, and Avery with the man who’s summoning them.

—Serenity

In Serenity, Rueben and Avery come face-to-face with the demons and the man who’s summoning them.

Then the King of Hell arrives and makes Dakota his new pet. He insists on being in every facet of Dakota’s life, including the murder investigations.

—Sandalwood

Dakota gets a visitor—the King of Hell—who complicates every aspect of their life.

Final hook (1-2 lines tops)

The final hook summarizes the complications of the story. It should be short—1 to 2 lines at most.

Perhaps, together, they can find a way to save the kingdom—and her freedom.

—To the Sky

Tessa and James team up to save the kingdom and give her the freedom she wants.

Together, they have to face down the demons or risk losing everything they’ve worked for.

—Serenity

Rueben and Avery have to work together to take down the demons and the man summoning them.

Can Dakota strike a new balance in their life while avoiding becoming the next victim?

—Sandalwood

Dakota has to find a balance in their life between the King of Hell and the thing killing witches. 

And that’s it! I hope this article helps other writers build their blurbs effectively. 

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