The dreaded blurb

The dreaded blurb or back cover copy is something that most authors hate to write and I’m no exception. I think one of the reasons is, I never write the blurb until I’ve finished the novel and I’m ready to send it to my publisher. Then as I’m writing the email I think, ‘Damn, I don’t have a blurb’ and I’ll throw something together. By this time I’ve read the story at least a dozen times and I’m sick of the sight of it, so I dash off a paragraph about the hero and the heroine and what throws them together and hope my publisher ignores it and just reads the novel.  This is NOT something I would recommend if you’re searching for a publisher – in that case you want to polish your blurb until it shines. I’m lucky when it comes to submitting my manuscript that:

  1. I have a contract for the novel, so I know my publisher wants the book
  2. I know we’ll rework the blurb closer to publication time

So the other day, my editor mentioned they were going to be working on the blurb for Into the Fire (Book 4 of The Texan Quartet). I had a look at what I’d sent them when I sent the manuscript, gave it a quick polish and sent it off to him. I figured it helps to have something to start from.

Anyway last week I received an email from my publisher with the draft blurb. They’d taken what I’d written and expanded on it, making it punchier and more appealing than my version. However there were a few things that needed fixing. I turned on track changes and did a light copyedit. There was a little bit of repetition, I replaced a few words with stronger alternatives and cut a wordy sentence. I must admit it was kind of fun being able to copyedit something my publisher had written because it’s usually the other way around! But I also knew they wouldn’t mind because:

  1. I have a good relationship with my publisher
  2. They had said it was a draft version (therefore able to be changed)
  3. We both want to publish the best work we can

The next day they responded saying they were happy with the changes, but made a suggestion to change a word. I was happy with that and so we came up  with the final blurb which you can see here.

It’s so great being able to collaborate on the blurb because as the author I often find that I’m too close to the story to see the really important bits. My publisher can take my draft, tweak it and send it back and I can do the same. That way we can hopefully come up with something that’s going to appeal to readers.

Perhaps for my next novel I should write the blurb after I’ve finished my first draft. That way I’m not sick of it yet and I’ll have something to refine when I do finish the novel. Do you have any suggestions on how to write the best blurb? I’d love to read about it in the comments.