How to Write a Compelling Blurb for your Novel

So you have written a novel and have decided to publish it yourself using one of the various indie publishing platforms available. How do you convince potential readers to buy your book?

With a great blurb or synopsis.

A great blurb won't just tell readers what your book is about, it will draw them in, spark their curiosity and make them want to find out more. The difficulty is judging how much to tell your potential readers,  it can be tempting to write at length, introducing important characters and hinting at the various subplots you may have incorporated into the plot. But most people shopping online won't normally take the time to read more than one or two brief paragraphs before making up their mind and clicking buy or moving onto the next book. 

So what do you tell your readers and how do you fit it into just one or two paragraphs?

The first thing your readers need to know is who the book is about, so in paragraph one, give a brief introduction (in the third person) to your main protagonist. If your novel is a romance you should introduce the love interest too. This is also the perfect opportunity to hint at the genre of your novel, so if your story is based on another planet or during a specific time in history now is the time to mention it. 

To give your readers a friendly push to read on further, end your first paragraph by presenting some conflict. What is it that threatens to drive the lovers apart? What problem must your protagonist overcome? Don't tell them about your subplots, or minor characters, leave some surprises for when they hopefully buy and read your book!

In the second paragraph you can give a little more information about the conflict, and tell your readers about a possible resolution that arises. You do not have to tell them the course of action that actually resolves the conflict in the story, perhaps something your protagonist tries first - or a morally questionable option offered to them by the villain of the piece. Remember to hold stuff back, or they will have no need to read your book.

Finally you can add a quote from the book, this can help to give the reader an idea of the mood of the novel, and also gives them a taste of your writing style. Carefully select your quote to hook your reader, just be careful not to include any spoilers.

You can use the following as a simple guide:

Third Person

Paragraph 1.

Introduce hero (and time/place if unusual)

Paragraph 2.

More about the problem
Possible resolution

Quote - mood/drama/hook