Writing your book’s back cover blurb

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Of all the things on your mind when writing a book, writing the back cover blurb tends to rank pretty low. The composition of the story, the painstaking editing process, and even the search for the right front cover can be exhausting. After all this, one is tempted to treat the back cover blurb as something unimportant.


This back cover, if not for a book by a classic author like Mark Twain, would be considered too “wordy” by potential buyers.

iUniverse wishes to dissuade you from this view, and to remind you that the book blurb is the second feature of your book that writers will encounter, after seeing the front cover. An engaging blurb will be one of the main agents responsible for a sale.

Here are some suggestions on how to write the book jacket most effectively:

Don’t spend too much time summarizing the plot: Readers are not looking for a book report, but rather a reason to buy the book. It is best to mention the main problem, or conflict, of your story, as well as something interesting about the characters.

Keep it brief: Again, readers want to be tantalized. A total of 150 words is sufficient; the maximum would be 200.

A little exaggeration is permitted: Yes, book jackets are advertisements. Words like “gripping”, “suspenseful”, “explosive” etc are useful here.

Avoid any mention of plot resolution: In other words, no spoilers. The last thing you want is for a reader to have a reason NOT to buy your book!

Keep the sentences short: Book shoppers have a short attention span, and are put off by long sentences. If you sentence needs more than one comma, separate it into two.

Test out your blurb with friends: Surely your busy friends have time to read 150 words – even if they don’t have time read your novel! Encourage them to be candid with you.

iUniverse firmly upholds the importance of a well-written blurb. It’s essential. Sit back, get relaxed, and think about the unique selling points of your novel – characters, settings, story. Write several versions and then test them out.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter.


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