Market that Book – Cover & Blurb
You’ve just typed…‘The End’… to the story you’ve laboured over for countless hours. Its been critiqued, edited, proof-read and you’ve decided to self-publish.
So what’s next?
How do you make your story stand out from the thousands of e-books available? An impossible task, you sigh to yourself. But there are a few things you can do to give your book the best possible chance of sales. The rest really is in the lap of the gods or in this case, the hands of the readers.
Well first off, your book needs to be the best story you can write at that time and you need to be happy with it. You need to have had to professionally edited and proofread and be satisfied that there is no niggly little question mark digging into your sub consciousness.
Assuming all these boxes have been ticked, its time to consider your market. Research has revealed that readers are attracted to a particular book by the following:
- Sample pages (and somewhere on this list is of course, author name)
You will need a professional-looking cover. There are quite a number of professional book cover designers out there with pre-made covers that may suit your story or custom made services. This again will depend on your budget. You can also make a cover yourself but remember, it must not scream ‘amateur’ or readers will be turned away. Consider the genre of your book – your cover needs to portray the genre (including time such as historical or contemporary), the heat level (sexy, sweet, erotic) and if for younger readers, an indication of the age of the protagonists.
Then there is the blurb – for me this is one of the hardest things to write. How to hook a potential reader? What do I include? What do I ignore?
Remember – the blurb is NOT a synopsis. The reader does not need to know everything that will happen in your story. Or even the ending.
Ensure you include ‘keywords’ and ’emotional power’ and ‘punchy’ words (evoke the same emotions in the blurb that will be in the book). Some examples of emotion power words are: trapped, tormented, frantic, desperate, terrified, escape, primitive, mad, crazed, revenge, betrayal, obsession, passion, explode, explosive, quest, hunt etc. Give an indication also of the genre and setting – ie romantic suspense set in a rural town for example.
Keep the blurb around one hundred to one hundred and fifty words. Write it in third person present tense. Do not include any sub-plots – keep focused on the main plot and the main theme of your story. Don’t litter your blurb with lots of names either of people or places – keep that to the two main characters. Too much detail is confusing and will muddy the water. Tease the reader – ask yourself, what will make the reader purchase this book?
Do multiple drafts of your blurb (and keep each one – sometimes the best blurbs end up being a combination of the first ones and part of the last one). Ask for critiques by others who aren’t so ’emotionally’ tied to your book.
Also go on-line and read lots of blurbs of books especially those that are in the same genre as your story. Get a feel for what the writer includes, leaves out and analyse the blurbs you liked the most as to HOW the writer hooked you (or even if he/she didn’t!). Look at what you think worked for you and try to replicate the same technique for your own blurb. Please note I’m NOT advocating you copy anything – that’s a BIG NO NO!
Here’s an example of the blurb I wrote for my latest story: Bindarra Creek Makeover. Take a look and ask yourself – Does it work for you? What doesn’t work for you? I wanted to portray: contemporary, rural, romance, quirky characters and a hint of suspense or danger.
Bindarra Creek Makeover © S. E. Gilchrist
When Tessa Gibson reluctantly embarks on a desperate plan to secure her daughter’s safety, she never dared dream of falling in love – especially with a cop and a town that makes her feel like one of their own. The moment Constable Dylan (aka Dodge) Myers meets Tessa, more than his internal cop radar is activated. With his career on shaky ground, he doesn’t need additional complications in his life.
But neither Tessa nor Dodge are a match for his grandmother and her CWA cronies and their own ideas on revitalising the struggling rural township of Bindarra Creek.
And not even the monster from Tessa’s past will stop them.
Good luck – and remember, the best thing about e-books is that you can change your blurb, update it, make it ‘punchier’ more ‘evocative’ any time you like.