Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tip of the Day: The Importance of Blurbs

The Importance of Blurbs
By Brenna Lyons
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Why are blurbs important?

Blurbs are not just book back material. Every type of selling starts with the blurb: selling an agent on the project, selling the editor on it, selling the marketing folks on it, and finally...selling the finished product to the readers. When you hear those terrifying stories of meeting an editor in an elevator and being told, “You have two minutes to tell me about your book,” you are pitching them a blurb.

When should you write the blurbs?

At least before you start pitching the book. When the book is done, you’ll want blurbs to use in your query letters, pitches, and online (in tag lines on e-mail, on your web site, and other networking or exposure sites). Don’t make people sick of the book, but generate interest with other industry pros and readers. Don’t try to sell to readers until the book is close to being available.

What blurbs should you have handy?

At the very least...

A concept - Take two or three popular books or movies that cover the core of your project. If you had a hapless nun who solves crimes, think something like The Flying Nun meets Murder She Wrote.

Log line - A 10-12 word teaser. Yes, teaser. With that few words, all you can do is make the reader want to read more.

Blurbs - 25, 50, 150, and 250-word blurbs. Some people will ask you for more or less, but these are the most common you’ll find yourself using. With the long blurbs, you may find yourself mixing and matching pieces of them later to make new, stronger blurbs.

If you have problems finding the most essential pieces of your book to include in blurbs, try the following: Look at your outline. Talk it out and record yourself. Have a crit partner help you.

And remember...

Blurbs are like reviews. Don’t blurb past the third chapter. If you haven’t hooked someone by then, you have bigger problems than a blurb.

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