Mon | Jan 22, 2018

The blurb

Published:Sunday | June 12, 2016 | 12:00 AMCorine La Font

When deciding to purchase a book, you normally read the back cover first to get an idea of what the book is about. A summary if you will of what to expect in the manuscript. Depending on the type of book, it can be a bulleted list, especially if it is non-fiction. If it is fiction, more descriptive words will be used.

The blurb can also be found on the Amazon page for the book and any other place in which the author may promote or market.

Many authors find it difficult or challenging to condense their 200-300 page book into one paragraph, for that is all that is needed to represent the blurb. Most authors I have met can't speak about their book in a public setting. If you are having a challenge, then you really need to spend some time working on that area because promotion and marketing will also be a challenge for you. The first question you will be asked in public is, "so what is your book about?" And the moment you give the impression that you are struggling, you have lost the interest of a potential customer, investor or agent.

You see, it's like pitching for a business. You have to have this down pat in under 1-2 minutes. So practise writing out what your book is about as many times as necessary, say it to a friend or even in front of a mirror, or try recording yourself and listening and replaying it to see what needs to be fixed. It must roll off your tongue like fine wine. I know it may sound robotic, but try not to make it so. Just get the salient points and express it with such passion that anyone would be interested in knowing more.


Here are a few tips to help you along the way:


1. Keep it simple and to the point. Don't try to fill the gaps with fluff. People pick this up quickly and it can be an immediate turn-off. Also remember, nowadays people are not into reading much in this fast-paced society, so too much text leads to boredom and disinterest.

2. Capture the attention in the first sentence or two. It's a one-two punch - to use boxing terminology. It works in the ring so use it here. The one-two punch can land your opponent on the ground; however, in this case, it would be closing the deal on winning over a new customer for life.

3. Consider your audience. This is critical. Once you consider your audience, you should speak specifically to the top three things they are looking for. Those answers to questions they absolutely need. Now the rest of the book may not serve them in any way, but they will get value out of one or two chapters and they can at least speak to that. It's a risk you take in doing this. We have all bought books that claimed to offer us this or that and you find out it may just be one chapter. That's fine. It wasn't meant to be the bible to provide all the answers for you. Even with the bible, some people focus on one area more than others, so once you feel satisfied that those three areas can offer value, showcase that in the blurb.

4. For persons who write fiction, you can use a juicy excerpt from the book. However, the extract must represent a major aspect of the plot so that when the reader gets into the book, he or she can see the relationship with the supporting material.

5. For non-fiction writers, a bulleted list like I mentioned above is useful. Show what the reader can learn or gain from the book that can be applicable to their lives now, make them better at a skill, or improve their lives in a short space of time. Remember, people are seeking change now or within the short term. Realistic or not, that's the expectation. If your book doesn't offer that, state it so they don't leave believing that you are a miracle worker and made promises you are unable to deliver.

6. Following upon that point, be honest. Don't give the wrong impression just to get persons to buy your book. It will turn around to bite you in bad reviews, and you don't want that. Some upcoming authors take the bold position to align their work with others who are famous and accomplished so as to give readers an idea of the quality and level of the writing. My suggestion is to be careful with this. It is best to let others, in this case your audience, toot that horn for you when doing their reviews. They are best informed to do this and the credibility would be built on more solid ground with this approach.

I hope the above have given you some insights. Of course, it is recommended to do more reading on the topic and you are welcome to reach out to me with questions on this or any other topic you wish answered. You may just see the answer and you may just get credit for it, in the newspaper!

n Corine La Font is a speaker, author, coach and self-publishing consultant. She is also an award-winning publishing resource in the 2013 Small Business Book Awards. Get a copy of her book at Subscribe to her magazine at tune in to her radio programmes at and Check out her website at She can be reached at