Michaeline: The Art of the Blurb

Melissa Blue tweeted this week, “Pro tip: The point of the blurb isn’t to tell you the story, it’s to SELL you the story.” That sentence came to me just as I was already thinking about blurbs, and complicated the matter.

First, a blurb is the short summary of the book used to lure readers into the buying the story. Naturally, a good blurb is very useful to the reader in choosing a story to her tastes, but it is also a good tool for writers.

A Regency man in a caped riding coat stands in front of the mantle of an inn lecturing a demure young girl in sprig muslin with two hat boxes near her.
Via Wikimedia, this is the first edition cover of Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer.

For example, if you get stuck in the writing of your book, write the blurb for the book-in-your-head. Compare it to what you have in your draft, and see if you’ve drifted from the point, or if you are still on target.

This is a case where the blurb tells the story, and I think that’s an important part of blurbiness. A blurb should accurately portray the book, or it is just fooling the reader, right?

That said, it’s a hassle trying to fit 65,000 words into 100 succinct ones, especially if the writer plays with genre or tropes.

This month, I did a comfort re-read of Georgette Heyer’s Sprig Muslin, and it was satisfying and as comforting as I could have wished for. When I looked at the back of the book, though, I was shocked.

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