Book Blurbs and Bachelors

Today on the Fiction Writers’ Blog Hop, our fearless leader, Julie Valerie, has set the theme of “Jacket Copy”. I’ve written about covers before, here…and here. And I’ve talked about titles before hereand here. So I guess that brings us to the next most important part of a book’s jacket….

The Blurb

For me, and according to research the majority of readers, the first thing I do after a gorgeous cover catches my eye, is read the blurb on the back. And that is the point at which my purchasing decision is made or broken.

It’s a bit like dating, I guess. Pretty face (cover) – I’m listening. Great pick-up line (blurb) – let’s go on a date (buy the book). And just as with dating, the next step is to start delving deeper into the man’s (book’s) soul to see if we can find true love.

But the path to true love is never as smooth as we hope, is it? Here’s an example from my (long) “dating” history.

book tomorrow“Bachelor number one” – you had me at ‘hello’. Such a pretty face, an author I knew (like a friend of a friend – probably safe), book tomorrow coverand just you read those pick-up lines! What book loving reader wouldn’t want to date that?

Thankfully, the book delivered and we had a very happy and loving relationship.

But (oh, there’s always a ‘but’), blurbs can’t always be trusted. No. They are sneaky little things that can trick you with the hope of reader-heaven. But, just like a handsome man who knows how to talk the talk, a blurb can turn out to be nothing but empty promises.

100 names cover“Bachelor number 2” – Pretty face – check, same author (our 1st date was amazing), and a pick-up line that knew just how to 100 names blurbmelt my heart and appeal to everything I always wanted in a date. But oh, no. Mr Perfect turned out to be all talk and failed to deliver my literary dreams and left me disappointed, alone and drowning my disillusion in a tub of ice-cream. Oh yes, we’ve all dated men (books) like that before.

But just as in love, we can’t give up. We can’t let one (or two, or 10) pretty-boy-blurbs with no substance stop us from chasing our literary love match. We must throw ourselves back into the book dating game, knowing that our next literary affair of the heart is just around the corner, waiting to sweep us off our feet.

Thankfully, most blurbs do deliver. Thankfully also, that unlike finding that one special someone we’re meant to be with, books don’t insist on monogamy, and we can have as many book-loves as we like.

Have you ever been let down by a blurb you thought was brilliant but the books was just meh?


Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here:

16 thoughts on “Book Blurbs and Bachelors

  1. Krystal Jane

    Great analogy! Lol!

    I can’t remember the last time I was able to finish a book after being let down by the opening chapters. (So, I’m basically getting up in the middle of dates and walking out!! I’m so impatient!!) I want to read “The Book of Tomorrow” now, though. It had me at the cover. Plus I can’t count the number of times I’ve fantasized about finding a fancy locked book. It’s like wish-fullfillment. ^_^

  2. Cassandra Piat

    Loved your post and your analogy of book/date 🙂 hilarious, yet so true. I have definitely been disappointed by book blurbs before but unfortunately, I can’t remember what books they were 😦 (you get that when you get to my age 😀 ) I agree with you that a blurb is what sells the book – after the cover catches you eye. And for me, it’s the hardest part of writing a book!! I have such a hard time writing my blurbs.It’s a nightmare – yet so important.

  3. Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie

    Such a great analogy!

    One of my book clubs recently read a book that was beautifully written but the story dragged slowly across 540 pages . . . a lot of discussion about language vs plot. The cover and book blurb were so intriguing though! So much promise . . . but then, in the end, it didn’t deliver.

  4. Pauline Wiles

    I feel I’ve had a different problem with blurbs, and it’s when they give away too much. Personally, I like them to set the scene but not tell me anything that happens after about 20-25% of the way in. Otherwise, I’m waiting for the “spoiled” plot point and annoyed. Some authors/publishers sadly feel the back cover is the right place for a synopsis… no thanks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s