As an author, you may think that the back cover blurb for your book is not really all that important, but it is the introduction to your book, one of the first things that give readers a taste of the pages within.
Upon this impression, a reader will either decide to purchase your book or not. It’s that simple. Regardless of how attractive your cover art may be, if the blurb does not capture the imagination, your book will remain upon the shelf.
No blurb at all is a huge mistake. Your book must have one; otherwise, how can anyone tell what your book is about?
An overly long blurb is another huge mistake. The idea is to entice the reader, not write the entire story on the back cover. Keep it short and sweet, and remember to think of it as bait. Give a short introduction to your main character and the conflict he/she faces, and try to end on an intriguing note. Try to make it catchy and memorable. Two hundred and fifty words should be enough.
Not polishing your back cover blurb is another serious mistake. I cannot tell you how many times I have read a badly edited blurb, riddled with bad spelling and punctuation and run-on sentences. I immediately skip past it without a second thought, save one of disgust that the author cared so little about his/her book that he/she couldn’t spell check it, yet expects me to read it. Harsh, maybe, but true, definitely.
Using a blurb to sell yourself rather than your book is a no-no. Stick to the subject matter at hand. Readers don’t care about your academic achievements; they care about the story between the pages.
Do not use a novel excerpt as your blurb; it smacks of laziness. Take the time and care to write something fresh.
Do not simply write a passionless synopsis. Use your blurb to entice your audience, make them want to know what happens next. Synopses are intended for people like literary agents and publishing houses, not for your intended audience – readers do not want to know how the book ends in a blurb, and a synopsis is a condensed version of your novel in point form, which includes spoilers. Obviously, spoilers in back cover blurbs should be avoided.
Please feel free to share your back cover blurbs in the comments.