This post may be a pretty obvious one but this week I was reminded again about how important it is to get that paragraph or two that describes your book nailed down. The 'Back-cover Blurb' is your story in a nutshell. It's a selling feature, for sure. I know it's one of the first things I look for when I'm deciding on whether to buy a book or not. If all I see are one line reviews or raves about a book but nothing about what the story is about I put it down. But that's when a book is already for sale. Why is writing a blurb so important before you even finish writing the book? We-ell, let me tell you...
I'v been working on this WIP for a while now and I'm in my favourite (sarcasm font here please)section - the middle. I was really struggling trying to figure out where I was going with this story. So, after forcing myself to write a thousand words (that were okay but sure as heck didn't come easy) the other night I decided I wasn't going to wait until the first draft was done to write the blurb as I mostly do. Sometimes I do write it before I even start the book to see if the idea is strong enough to work on but usually I wait until the story is pretty much finished. I noodled out a few lines, then a few more. Pretty soon I was into the flow and I had 380 words that hopefully described what the core of the book was about in language that made the story sound interesting, even mysterious, and would entice someone to read it. These words are probably the most important you'll write because they are the ones that sell your story - to yourself, to an agent, to an editor and maybe, eventually, to a book buyer. In fact, the blurb I wrote for Illegally Blonde ended up almost exactly on the back cover as it appeared in my query letter. Writing those few words also helps to focus what you're writing about - to understand the core of your story so well that when you're struggling through it you can go back to it and say "Oh! Yes. I have to get back to that. Why did I wander off in this direction?"
When I finished those couple of paragraphs this week, I was sold on my story again. My CP was sold on it, too, which helped validate me - and the story. I'm struggling to write this story now but I know, because I wrote that blurb, that this is a story worth telling and, hopefully reading. And that's why a blurb is so important. If you can't sell it to yourself how are you going to sell it to a complete stranger?
So what about you guys? When do you write your blurb? And does it help you or drive you crazy?