The blurb

Authors and illustrators, Meg McKinlay, Jen Banyard, Frane Lessac and Elaine Forrestal

Now that the first line-edit of On Wings of Steel has gone back to join the queue on the editor’s desk, I have been trying to deal with all the nitty-gritty bits and bobs. The blurb, the blog (for the publisher’s website), the biog. and so on, which invariably turn out to be more time-consuming than they look.

With so few words to play with (250) and yet so much riding on them in terms of who buys the finished book, the blurb and cover-copy line can take weeks to write. The blurb is like love, or hate, at first sight. Browsing through the bookshop my potential reader picks up my book. After briefly taking in the title and author’s name, the book is flipped over. Then comes the make or break moment when the blurb is read.

As a writer I agonise over that blurb. More than any other words in the whole book, they will seal my fate. The blurb must encapsulate the story, without giving away too many clues. It must grab the reader’s attention without diluting the dramatic, surprising, exciting moments to come if they buy the book. It must say just enough, not too much or too little. Although I do at least seven, and sometimes twenty, drafts of the manuscript, the blurb will always take more as I desperately try to both reveal and conceal what the reader will find within the covers of my book.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, the saying goes. But authors and publishers know that, inevitably, people will. I for one want to rise to the challenge, and grasp the opportunity offered by the blurb.

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