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A Ball of "Buy Me"

It take more than a great cover to convince me to purchase a book. Sure, if the cover is questionable, I might not even look at the back of the book. Call me quirky, but if I'm spending my hard earned money in a brick and mortar bookstore or online, I want a quality product. And to my way of thinking, the cover counts.

But the cover just gets me to look at the book. It's the blurb that will sucker me into buying the novel. A catching excerpt will cement the deal, but it's really that blurb that hooks me.

And it's not easy to write. A one or two paragraph summary that encapsulates the tone, feel, and plot of the book. It can't be too detailed, but it can't be too open either. Secondary plots and characters that enhance the storyline shouldn't be mentioned, because the whole point of the blurb is to condense material into an explosive ball of "buy me."

Something I find helpful, and I wish all books would do this, is to give a slight "warning." Warning might be too harsh, but knowing the heat level of a book would make disappointment in content less of a risk. I've purchased books that look hot, sound hot, and barely make it past the bedroom door. And I've bought books thinking I'm going to get a mainstream romance or mystery and there's a TON of between-the-sheets action that doesn't quite mesh with what the blurb or cover promised.

Epublishing really takes a lot of the guess work out of a reader's expectations. Take TEB. You search by author, by series, by title or genre with the click of your mouse. You're taken to the book's page, where there's a big picture of a handsome cover, a blurb, a note about content, and then a nice excerpt. It's all there in the same place.

And people wonder why electronic publishing is growing in leaps and bounds. Convenience + quality writing + nonmainstream work = terrific reads.

And that's my two cents on a Monday morning. Now it's time for coffee.

Happy Monday!



s7anna said...

Hey Marie,
I totally agree with you on the importance of a great blurb. It's the one requisite I have for a book purchase...I've tried out new authors based just on their blurbs.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Marie,

I find it really difficult to write appealing blurbs. But I find tag lines--that single sentence hook--even harder.

I'd love to take a mini-course on how to write blurbs.


Marie Harte said...

Hey s7anna.

I've tried out new authors because of their blurbs too. So if one isn't written well enough to capture my interest, though the book may be terrific, I won't buy it (not knowing that.)


Marie Harte said...

Lisabet, I just filled out a book info form for TEB this morning. Writing the blurb doesn't bother me so much, but like you said, the tag line just kills me. It's hard enough to encapsulate your work into a paragraph or two, but to make your book sound buyable in one LINE??? Ack. Really hard.

Happy Tuesday.


elaineg0707 said...

Hey Marie,
You are so right about a great blurb being important. I know I have skipped books because the blurb didn't grab me....and then I will read a review, think OMG if they had just said THAT about the book I would have bought it when I saw it! I tend to rely more on reviews lately. It seems the sights I visit that review know EXACTLY what will get me to buy a book. I still buy SOME books because of blurbs (or covers) but not as many as before.

Marie Harte said...

Hey Elaine. Yeah, sometimes I read a review and wonder how the review could be about the same book I passed over, because the blurb sounded like another book entirely.

But good point about reviews. A lot of readers say they don't much care about them, but I sometimes won't buy a book if it's gotten a lot of negative reviews. When you have to penny-pinch to buy books, you try to go for the sure thing. Unless I'm really desperate, then I'll go for the rockin' cover. :)