Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Dreaded Blurb

Readers browsing for a new book will scour the shelves, looking for a their favourite author or genre, and will no doubt be swayed by an attractive book cover. Then what?

The dreaded blurb! Dreaded by the authors, that is.

Browsers will turn over to peruse the blurb on the back cover. This promotional statement is perhaps the most difficult collection of sentences that a writer will ever have to create. Perhaps more difficult than writing the entire book. In a few precious lines, the author has to convey the nature of the plot, characters and genre, but also leave the reader wanting to know what's going to happen; so much so, that the browser will hopefully carry the book to the tills, in order to find out how the book unravels.

So when did the blurb make an entrance?

An American humourist called Gelett Burgess provided a drawing of an attractive woman on the back of his book, Are You A Bromide? over a hundred years ago in 1907. This alluring woman had the job of increasing sales. Burgess gave her the name, Miss Belinda Blurb! From then on, having a blurb to promote a book stuck with publishers - if only in text form.

As I don't yet (I have to stay optimistic) have a publisher for Lies and Linguine, I've written my own blurb without any professional input. No doubt when (still optimistic) the magical day arrives, an editor may suggest changes or a complete re-write. However, in the mean time, I'd be interested to know if my blurb would entice you to buy.

I have a (fairly) tough hide. You can be honest and say if you'd put the book back on the shelf.

When long-suffering Tess tells her best friend that she's leaving her boyfriend Blake, she's unaware that her puerile boyfriend has eavesdropped on their conversation. Blake devises two plans in order to stop her. When Plan A backfires, he relies on Plan B - a wicked and unforgivable lie.

Handsome artist Daniel is haunted by two tragedies from his past. As he prepares for his first art exhibition, can he overcome his obsessive compulsion which he believes will protect him from a third trauma?

Holly is an incorrigible flirt and Tess' best friend, but jealousies arise when they both fall for the same man. Can their friendship survive the green-eyed monster?

Daniel's twin sister, Denise, believes she's truly blessed with her family and life in London. She's never had to battle for anything in her life, but when she discovers a breast lump, she must battle for life itself.

As each person struggles with their own demons, is there room for romance in their lives? Can Daniel conquer his compulsion? Does Denise have the strength to fight? And will Tess discover Blake's deceit in time to find true love?


  1. Yes, Yes, Yes, - after reading that blurb I want to buy it and I want to buy it NOW!

  2. Now you just have to think up the tag line; the book summed up in a single sentence....
    That's even harder than the blurb imo!

  3. Thank you lovely Janice. I do have one but not sure it's strong enough.

    'By hanging on to the nightmare of guilt, will Tess lose her dream man?'

  4. Mmm... not sure. I like the nighmare/dream play on words but no, the line doesn't resonate strongly enough. But you clearly have a strong 'inner voice' telling you that already and my writing mentor, the wonderful Anita Burgh, says IV is the best writers tool.

  5. Honest? I think it's too long. I don't think I need to know all the main characters' problems at this stage. Not sure about 'hanging onto the nightmare of guilt' ... how do you do that?