After the cover and the title, the very next thing any potential reader is going to see is the blurb. Be it on the book jacket or online, a blurb is the fastest way to generate interest in your novel. But what exactly is a blurb? And how does one get the right blurbs for their book?
Here’s what you need to know about getting the best blurbs for your book.
What is a blurb?
Either descriptive or a review, a blurb is something used to inspire interest in a story. Descriptive blurbs are the summaries you find on the back of the book or on Amazon. Review blurbs, or endorsements, on the other hand, are quotes about the book from other authors. Today, we’re going to focus on those— why you need them, when and how to get them, and who to ask.
Why you need blurbs
While people make snap judgments at the sight of a book’s cover, they often make their decision based on the back of the book. A well-chosen review could be the difference between a reader putting the book down or deciding to take it home with them.
When to get blurbs
As soon as possible. If the timeline is tight, you’re going to need to get the endorsements before you get the final designed book. A potential reviewer is going to need at least four to six weeks to read your manuscript and create your blurb, so make sure you leave plenty of time. More is always better, here. You should have your blurbs in by the time your Advanced Reader Copies are going out; you definitely want endorsements on your ARCs, so make sure to make your requests early.
Who to ask for blurbs
The who all depends on your genre. If you’re in non-fiction, you’ll want industry professionals or other authors covering similar topics. If you’re in fiction, you’re going to want relevant authors in the same genre or market. You want people to see the reviews and develop an interest in the book, so the better you choose, the better your chances of someone reading it.
How to get blurbs
Reach out to the people you already know. Do you have friends that write well in the same genre? Do you know someone who knows someone else? Getting an introduction to the right person could very well lead to an endorsement. Some people will write a blurb in exchange for a blurb or for endorsing their company, tit for tat. The better your relationship with the person, the better the blurb, so build and invest in relationships early.
Some publishers will help with this process, but some won’t, and if you’re self-published, it’s on you. Ask your publisher if they offer their help here or consult with a publicist if you’re self-published. A good endorsement will go a long way, so it’s worth asking for whatever help you need.
After you’ve chosen the people you’d like to ask, you’ll want to write a letter to send to each person. You’ll want to include an attention-grabbing letter that tells them what the book is about as well as something about yourself, maybe something you were surprised by in writing your book or some key insight you got from writing it.
Different reviewers have different preferences, so be prepared to send a digital copy (Word file or PDF) or a print copy (printed from a Kinko’s or other print store with the front cover). Some reviewers only need a few chapters, but some prefer the whole book, so be sure to ask what they prefer. The book doesn’t need to have been proofread, but the manuscript should be as final as possible.
Don’t forget to let them know the kind of endorsement you’re looking for, potentially including samples of your ideal blurb for them to springboard off of or use as a base. You want this process to be as easy as possible for them, so make sure to spell everything out in your letter. Along with telling them the deadline, be prepared to send a few emails reminding them of the deadline. The busier they are or seem to be, the more time you want to give them.
And, when the book is published, send them a copy with an enthusiastic thank you!