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The Lowly Blurb

MuzakToday’s question comes from QSFer Hank T. Cannon: “What goes into a good blurb? Are there different types of blurbs? What kind should be used for promotion? What kind should be used for submissions?”

I hate writing blurbs. I hate writing summaries. Blurbs and summaries are like the Muzak of the fiction world. They take a (hopefully) vibrant, living story and wring out every last bit of life and color from them to create a sad approximation of a plot.

When I have to write a blurb or summary, I always end up feeling like my story is the saddest, most derivative, least original thing ever written.

So my questions today: How do you feel about summaries and blurbs? How do you write your own? What makes a good blurb, and how do you write them for different purposes?


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1 thought on “The Lowly Blurb”

  1. It sounds cynical, but I don’t think of a blurb as a summary so much as marketing copy–not in the “false-advertising” sense, but definitely in the sense of attracting potential buyers. It really helps to think about how people who read your genre choose books–obviously it helps if you read a lot in it yourself and can think about why you choose a book. You are trying to help people who read your genre recognize that this is a book they might like. Think of books you’ve really liked and look at their blurbs–how were they able to highlight the aspects that appealed to you.


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