The Blurb as a Passionate Kiss

I’m not an expert on writing my own blurbs (synopsis/ book description), so don’t expect to read mine and be wowed. However, my position as a reader of blurbs and critic of them, has instigated a few thoughts on how others can write good ones. If the terribly small Amazon icon of your cover, paired with the title of your work, doesn’t get them….well, the blurb has to. If the blurb doesn’t get them, your art and title had better. Either way, the blurb is vital.

But how does an author critique their own blurb? That’s the dilemma, isn’t it? I can’t step back from my own work and look at it in the same way a nonbiased, third party would. Yet the third party doesn’t know your book as well as you do, so how can they be expected to capsulate the essence of it in 150-ish words?

I’ve come up with a short piece of advice for the blurb-writing author. A random thought, really, that I hope might guide you and get your creative mojo pumping. Here it is: when writing a blurb one should think of it in the terms of the flow of a passionate kiss.

Whoa, what?

Yes, correct. Let me break it down for you…

First, the breathtaking, heart-stopping moment where your gaze meets that of your lover and you are enthralled. You want to know what it’s like to press your lips against theirs…

Translation: Get your reader’s attention right away. Create an impact. Don’t mess around here. The reader needs to be drawn into a moment that needs fulfillment. They need to be titillated right away. Their interest needs to be piqued.

Second, the satisfying and robust sensation of the kiss. Your initial desire is being fulfilled, you’re enveloping yourself in a small moment of what your lover has to offer. All you can think about is what else they can do, where the kiss will lead…

Translation: Give them enough to get a feel for your work. This is the meat of the blurb. What about your work is important? What aspect of the main character(s) is your selling point? This is as simple as saying “The heartbroken divorcee” instead of “The divorcee.” Give your reader little hints of what is to come, but don’t get them everything…

Third, the crushing yet invigorating moment when they pull away from the kiss, leaving you desperate for more.

Translation: Close on a defined note. Don’t just end your blurb haphazardly. Close on a mysterious note. A foreboding note. Intimidating, scary, romantic. End in a sentence that eludes to so much more. End in a way that leaves your reader excited and ready to read through the pages of your work.

And there’s my thought on the matter of blurb-writing. I part with a few questions for you to ask yourself as you’re writing: who is your main character and what makes me care about them? What is your plot and what does it have to give that other books don’t? What is the atmosphere, or mood, of your book? What do you care about conveying?

Make sure it’s there. If you care, maybe I will, too!

About Eloise J. Knapp

Eloise J. Knapp is an author and designer living in the Pacific Northwest.
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