Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The art of blurb

The blurb, or selling point: there is a dark art to giving enough to entice a prospective reader while not laying out the whole story in the process. A lot of authors I see write too much or miss the point of what a blurb should be. To help my fellow authors I shall now divulge the rules I follow when writing a blurb:
  1. What is it about?
    Set the scene - who is the protagonist, what is the tone or gist of the story.
  2. Why should I read it?
    Give a hook as to why the reader cannot pass up the chance to read it.
  3. What makes it unique?
    What makes it unique from all the other vampire stories (say).
  4. Why should I read more?
    Provide some unanswered questions that would compel the reader to want to discover more.

The other point is it needs to be punchy and to the point. This is not a prologue so don't treat it like one.

To drum in the points, I'll blurbify a few well-known classics:

(1 & 3)His pants may be square and even though he lives at the bottom of the sea and his friend may be a star, his life is far from ordinary. (3)Even if his viscous and porous yellow body has no need for Krabby Patties, he follows his dream to be the world's best fry cook. (2)With the help of Squidward and Mr Krabs, they have been able to stop Plankton's desires to gain the secret of the Krabby Patty ... up until now. (4) Will he be able to thwart Plankton's nefarious plan and will he be able to save the beautiful surface-dweller named Sandy?
Aliens (the film):
(1)Ripley wakes with a dull ache - her head throbs; disoriented with the familiar after-effect of an extended hyper-sleep. (2) Her mind is still clouded with thoughts of the alien; one alien deadly enough to end her crew within 24 hours. (3) In the years it took for her escape pod to be rescued, colonists had been sent to LV-426 to begin terra-forming. The only problem is they have lost contact. With a hardened military troupe and Ripley on point as a 'subject-matter expert,' she will have to return to the planet where it all began.  (4) No matter the weaponry, she knows it won't make a difference against them but she has unfinished business: she needs to kill her nightmare.
I'll leave it there, but that should give a good basis for any blurb. Blurb and be well.