How to write a blurb or book description

Sell more books with these writing strategies

Derek Murphy


Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

This is the preface to my revised book marketing guide, you can find the whole series on Medium or download the free PDF.

Your Sales Description

Your blurb or sales description has two main functions: it needs to speak both human and robot. In other words, it has to include the right keywords and some SEO boosters to help the book even show up, by telling Amazon what the book is and who it’s for.

And then, assuming it does show up, and real people are actually viewing the page, it has to convince them to buy. Confused readers don’t purchase, so the biggest mistake is to add a plot summary that focuses on the story or conflict, but never establishes the genre or audience.

There are a lot of formulas for writing a blurb, and services that can help write or edit one for you, but these are hit and miss. My best blurbs often come months or years after publishing, when I’ve figured out the true heart of the story: the core conflict that holds it all together. Boiling this down to a few phrases can be tricky, and it’s very difficult to look at your own work objectively and write a powerful blurb.

But having a strong sales description is critical — so pay to get it edited if you need to, these few paragraphs are your main “sales copy.” They must convert browsers into buyers. Revise and test. Hire a copy writer or expert.

In How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis, Bryan Cohen offers this 7-step formula (which I’ve edited, truncated and paraphrased):

1. Introduce the main character

2. Establish the beginning stakes

3. Escalate tension

4. Raise stakes

5. Show crisis event that will force change, sacrifice or loss, the consequences, and the impossible choice or challenge.

What if my book doesn’t have these? Firstly, if you write non-fiction, of course your blurb will be different: in that case, you want to focus on the common problem or challenge, focus on the pain points and difficulties, then offer your reader a solution, social proof, data points and testimonials.



Derek Murphy

I rent castles and chase kittens into dark alleys. PhD in in esoteric literature, creativity alchemist for authors, finish your best work @