So-called “blurbs” on the back covers of books are marketing tools or sales pitches, not plot summaries. They should be short (100 to 200 words), precise, dynamic, and intriguing. Know your audience and speak to their needs; show them why the book is worth their time and money. Read blurbs on books in your genre for inspiration. Ten more tips:
1. Note the genre and subgenre.
2. Write in third-person and in the same voice in which the book is written.
3. Introduce main characters (but don’t give a laundry list of all characters).
4. Set the stage for the primary conflict.
5. Establish the stakes. What hangs in the balance?
6. Don’t tell all; end on a cliffhanger.
7. Avoid clichés (“in a world of”) and don’t oversell (“the next Harry Potter”).
8. Writers of biographies, memoir, and history need blurbs similar to those of fiction writers (see above).
9. For how-to, self-help, explanatory, inspirational, and other nonfiction book blurbs, tell readers the topic, the depth and breadth of information, and the author’s expertise.
10. In addition to the blurb, you may want to include on the back cover a testimonial or two and/or a short author bio (two or three sentences).
The National Women’s History Museum has created a new project called “Women Writing History: A Coronavirus Journaling Project.” The journals will be used as a living archive of women’s lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be published online and presented in the future at the physical site of the National Women’s History Museum. https://www.womenshistory.org/journal-project
Louisville’s Filson Historical Society is also collecting writing about personal experiences during the pandemic. No word limit; poetry, short fiction, and essays accepted; include a short author bio (50–75 words). Send submission to Jennifer Cole, firstname.lastname@example.org.