Jacket blurb is a short phrase used when describing the contents of a book. In a nutshell, it’s the summary of the book’s content, often including a brief review, that’s placed at the back of the book.
While there are no hard-and-fast rules for writing a jacket blurb, there are some guidelines that professional writers would follow:
Focus On The Contents Of The Book
It’s always tempting to want to write something about yourself or your personal experiences with the book, but this is a slippery slope. After all, the jacket blurb is supposed to be about the contents of the book, not your interpretation of those contents or your journey through them. This principle cuts both ways: you may think that your book is about love, for example, but the jacket blurb may discuss the action sequences or the characters. It’s a case of being specific rather than general. To write a successful jacket blurb, you must be able to discuss the book’s contents in detail without distraction.
Make It Action-Packed
Action-packed doesn’t just mean that you need to include exciting scenes from the book. It can also mean that you need to include more physical activity in your writing than in your normal daily activities. If you’re not used to writing in a hurry, it can be physically challenging to keep up with the demands of speed and accuracy. A successful jacket blurb should always leave the reader wanting more. While the contents of the book may discuss a certain theme or issue, the jacket blurb should always be able to hold its own as a riveting piece of literature in its own right.
Make It Exciting
If your book is a page-turner, you’ll want to do everything in your power to make the jacket blurb as exciting as the rest of the book. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to include the kind of action-adventure scenes that you’d find in a typical Jackie Collins or Lee Child book; it just means that you need to pepper in some thrilling elements that make the jacket blurb a stand-out piece of prose.
If you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at some of the best selling books in your local library. The jacket blurbs for those books would be ideal to study and emulate.
Keep It Short
As with most things in life, the shorter the better. Professional writers would always try to keep their jacket blurb as short and to the point as possible. While there’s no written rule about how long a jacket blurb should be, most editors would probably want to see something between four and six sentences.
The main thing is that you keep the reader’s attention throughout the piece and leave them wanting more. The last thing that you want to do is leave them confused about what the book is actually about. Short and to the point is always best. After all, you only get one chance at a first impression.
As a general rule, the shorter the better. You can always add another sentence or two at the end, but if you end up cutting it, you’ll have lost a part of the book’s essence. Plus, the longer the piece, the more room there is for errors. The less you have to edit, the better. One final note about the brevity of jacket blurb: if you’re going to quote extensively from the book, try to keep it to a minimum. It’s better to have an informational paragraph about the book than to bog the reader down with too much information.
Don’t Forget The Call To Action
If you’ve written a successful jacket blurb, you’ll want to include a call to action at the end. This is where you discuss what the reader can do to get a hold of you if they want more information about the book or want to read it. In other words, this is where you turn a potential reader into a hardcore fan. If you forget to call out something useful in your closing statement, the reader may feel a little lost.
A good call to action should include a website or social media handle where the reader can find more information, a special discount if they’re already a fan, or a good night’s sleep for those who want to read the book right away. Always think about what the reader can do to get a hold of you, and you’ll write a successful jacket blurb every time.
There are no rules when it comes to writing a great jacket blurb, but there are some tips and guidelines that can help you write something that makes a difference. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll surely write something exceptional. Good luck!