Mar 25, 2013

Writing Blurbs

Kitty's little dog Spade, sometimes known as 'No-Spade-No!'
Dognapped? A Dog Show Detective Mystery is almost ready for release. As the cover is getting put together by the team at Book Cover Cafe, I'm writing the blurb. Hey, it's just a short description for the back of the book, how hard can it be? 

Um, yeah. How to summarise the story without making it sound dull or too complicated? 

There are no rules, but, I try to include: Character (this is the most important part for me), premise or plot, setting, conflict and a hint at the theme or message of the story (although I don't think it needs to be stated). Then I try to find a creative way to portray this, so it doesn't read like a list.

So how do you start? I cheat. Yep, I do. I grabbed about twenty novels in the same genre (girls' mystery novel) then rewrote their blurb out with my story's information. 

Here's an example changing Trixie Beldon's story to suit mine:

Kitty can't believe she's stuck in this sleepy little town with nothing to do and no friends. Then she enters her miniature schnauzer Spade into the local dog show, and things start to liven up. A lost dog is found, and another stolen, a secret inheritance is revealed and Kitty teams up with an unlikely sleuthing partner. Could all this lead to murder? Maybe living in the country won't be so boring after all!

I didn't stop there. I rewrote at least ten more. By the time I finished this exercise I knew which things were important for me to include, and what could be left out. If the blurb is too long, the reader will lose interest. Then I took the parts I loved, tweaked and merged them and came up with this:

One dog found
One dog stolen
A mysterious will
All this equals murder!

Introducing Kitty Walker and her mischievous dog Spade in the first Dog Show Detective Mystery
Twelve-year-old Kitty, friendless bookworm and amateur sleuth. All she wants is to gain her mother's attention, spend time with Spade and avoid Miss Perfect, Jessica Jones. But now she needs Jessica's help to find the owner of a lost dog, hunt down a dognapper and solve a murder!

Can you solve the mystery before Kitty?

And look, I managed to get a list in! What do you think, does it work? Do you like writing blurbs? Any tips on blurb-writing?


  1. I love that you started with a Trixie Beldonesque summary!

  2. I love TB, the mystery series not the diease and writing blurbs. They capture the heart and soul of your story and should therefore be able to snag those of the potential reader too. A trick I learned was to read all the promo posters in the local movie theatre. The one line tags teach you much about being gnomic.

  3. I like the blurb. Sounds like it will be a great mystery to read/solve.

  4. Sounds great! I think it'll be a hit!

    I find blurbs are like queries - either they flow out quickly or they're like slogging through the swamp!

  5. I think that's a great idea. After a while your blurb muscle will be super pumped. I could use a few quality synopses to crib off of too.


    1. I'm with you there Moody, it's a bit harder getting hold of synopses. We'll need a plan, balaclavas and a lot of sticky-tape.

  6. It must be hard to write blurb. I think that your idea of studying various kinds and then coming up with your own is fine.

  7. Hi, Charmaine. You know, doesn't it seem like writing these are sometimes just as difficult as writing the book in the first place? *laughs* My third book will release this year, so I haven't written that many blurbs. I'll leave it to others to decide whether I've done well with them or not. Thankfully, my muse stays around after "The End" to write one of those before leaving for her mini vacation.


  8. Knowing how much time you spend getting things right Charmaine, i know you'll end up with the blurb to end all blurbs. Be nice to have someone to write these pesky things...

  9. Love the blurb and sound of the book. I've just finished having to write a blurb for my new tween book being released next month! I like the layout of yours and it's good to end on a question.

  10. well written Blurb with alot of thinking..GOD<3U

  11. Most helpful and generous! Thank you for sharing with us your process, and the example. Truly generous of you. Of course, you (and Trixie) had me at "Schnauzer."


  12. Writing blurbs should be so easy - you're technically telling someone about something you're really excited about. And yet, it's not easy at all. I guess the more you do it the easier it becomes?