Creating an Engaging Blurb

The Mark of OldraOne of the challenges of self-publishing is creating a blurb or appropriate description for your book. Summarising the story so that others want to read it, all while making it sound intriguing and engaging.

Steps for creating an engaging blurb:
  • Know your main character

You know them, you have lived with them for however long. Now you just need to summarise who they are, what they want and how they got there.

And if you can show that, even better.

  • Know your antagonist

This isn’t always as easy. But be aware that the antagonist may not be another character, it could be the environment.

  • Setting

It is important where your story takes place, in space, medieval world, alternate world, or modern day Hobart. Because setting will say a lot about the genre and help the reader determine if this book is for them.

  • Plot twists and turns

You want to hint at your plot twists without giving them away. Give an idea that things might not be as it seems.

  • Present tense

All blurbs are in the present tense, no matter the tense of your book.

  • Not too long.

I start with a short single sentence. But overall keep your blurb under 170 words.

Examples for The Mark of Oldra:

I started with a single sentence:

Protagonist Versus Antagonist, in Setting, with Twist.

‘Gerry Ryder has been dragged by the snow into a strange new frozen world where more hides in the shadows than expected.’

Not brilliant and not very clear – this is more for me, to try and pull a whole novel into a single sentence and it takes some work and knowledge of your key points.

So after a lot of work, thinking about what is important, trying to show rather than tell. I also add some detail to the main elements so that a reader will care about, or at least be interested in reading to find out more.


The final version:

Gerry Ryder shivers violently as the snow settles around her. Huge, black trees glisten with frost as their naked branches clatter in the wind. She isn’t sure if it’s hard to breathe because she’s scared out of her mind, or if this strange, new world is so cold that the air freezes in her lungs.

Gerry struggles to be the soldier the Penna needs her to be. Her dark dreams and visions don’t help. Although she craves a place in Essawood, she really wants to go home.

It is only when the shadows of her dreams appear solid before her and the power of the Oldra is revealed that Gerry can find her place in the snow; a place where a greater threat lies beyond the shadows. One that will devastate everything she thought she knew. One the snow whispers it is her destiny to defeat.


I hope this helps you to create an appropriate blurb or description for your book. I’m off to work on the blurb for the next Iski Flare episode.

The Mark of Oldra paperback coming soon.

Do you have any useful tips you have for creating a blurb? Share in the comments.