|A good blurb can entice someone to learn more about a book.|
What are blurbs?
Blurbs are those pesky little quotes on the front and back covers of books. For instance, the 2013 Writer's Market, which I edit, has one on the front cover from Sandra Beasley, author of Don't Kill the Birthday Girl, that reads, "To buy Writer's Market is to take charge of your publishing career. To give Writer's Market says 'I believe your voice needs to be heard.'"
Basically, they're endorsements for a book or author from a trusted source. They are recommendations.
Do I need a blurb for my book?
Recently, I engaged in a chat on Facebook about whether blurbs are even worth the time or effort of placing on a book. I mean, do they even affect book sales? Do potential readers even care?
Here's the thing about blurbs: It's going to be different for each reader. Some people will breeze past the blurbs without any notice; other people read everything on the front cover, back cover, and even introductions and forewords. But...
Book covers definitely sell books.
Attractive and professional-looking book covers sell books. Ugly and unprofessional-looking book covers can kill book sales. It's not fair to the manuscripts, but most readers really do judge books by their covers. (Sorry, I couldn't resist, but it's true!)
Blurbs enhance the professional look of a cover. Including blurbs from trusted sources adds an extra level of validation to a book. It might not seal the deal, but it might entice a potential reader to crack the cover and read the first page or two before deciding whether to buy the book.
And really, I'm pretty confident that blurbs don't harm book sales--unless it's really bad or inappropriate. However, if that's the case, the book is probably really bad and inappropriate as well, right?
How do I get blurbs for my book?
First, you can contact sources directly. In my case, I have a short list of poets who I'm planning to contact to see if they might be interested in viewing my manuscript. My first message will probably go something along the lines of, "Hey, you interested in taking a look at my manuscript and possibly providing a blurb for the cover?" No need to beat around the bush.
If the poets say, "Sure," I'll send along the manuscript with a deadline for when I need the blurbs back (probably padding the deadline a little--just in case). Hopefully, they'll love what they read and send me a nice sentence or three about my book.
Another source of blurbs might be from past mentions and accomplishments. In my case, I'm wondering whether to include past mentions--like in the November 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Samantha Reynolds wrote, "I have a poet crush on Robert Lee Brewer." Who wouldn't be interested in slapping that right on the front cover of a book? It says everything that a poet wants to hear!
What are your thoughts on blurbs? Do you think they're important? Do you (or would you) bother with them for your own book?
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Check out these other Not Bob posts:
- Solving the World's Problems, by Robert Lee Brewer.
- How to Build (or Improve) Your Writer Platform in 30 Days.
- Best Blogs for Writers to Read in 2012.
Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author
by Chuck Sambuchino
If you want a book that covers platform in all its variations, this is the title for you. Chuck Sambuchino is the author of humor titles such as How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack and Red Dog Blue Dog, but he's also behind Guide to Literary Agents and Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript. In other words, he's been there, done that, and lived to tell about it. Chuck covers social media, blogs, newsletters, public speaking, and more. Click the link above to check it out today.