There’s a misconception out there you may have heard, that a blurb is basically a synopsis without the ending. Now, synopses are truly awful. There’s no faster way to take all the life out of your awesome story than by flattening it into one. No wonder everyone hates writing blurbs! So then how on earth do you get across all the information that you need to in 2-4 short paragraphs while still keeping it lively?
Easy: you don’t.
See, readers (and in particular, romance readers) don’t actually need all that much information. They trust you to tell them the story once they buy, so the only job your blurb has is to tell them what kind of story you’re offering.
1. Trope It Up.
Readers don’t mind having it spelled out–in fact, they prefer it. Use the keywords that tell them what to expect. Second chance, brother’s best friend, enemies to lovers. Weave those words in, and you’ve done half the work already.
2. Just The Basics.
Look at the difference here:
Johnny and Mary met on a cold snowy evening buying tickets outside the movie theater. Fate intervened when neither of their dates showed up. They sat together instead, talking all night, and one handful of popcorn after another they slowly fell in love. They were together for one perfect year, until the fateful Christmas when he received an unwelcome present from another woman.
Johnny and Mary were excited to celebrate their holiday anniversary–until he recieved a present from the woman he thought he’d left behind.
You don’t have to prove to your reader that you have a meet-cute, or that they fall for each other. That’s implied. The important pieces of information–that Johnny and Mary are a couple, and that another woman will come between them–are all that’s needed to hook them. Too much text causes a potential buyer to skim, so we want to be as impactful as possible in as few words as we can.
So introduce your characters, introduce your trope and your conflict, and include only the most tantalizing details.
3. Stay Savvy Of Your Genre Trends!
A sweet contemporary second-chance blurb will read much differently than a secret baby sports romance will read differently than a mafia dark romance will read differently than an MC shifter romance. And all of those will read differently right now than they did a year ago. When you’re writing your blurb, don’t go look at your favorite book from 2012 for a template, look at what’s selling well in your genre right now.
Many authors will re-cover and re-blurb their backlist every so often just for this reason. Readers want every book to feel fresh, even if it’s the oldest one in your catalogue. After all, it’s fresh to them, so why keep a stale blurb?