Call it a blurb or a book description, those short paragraphs on your sales page are the second most important sales items you have. Only the book cover is more important when it comes to grabbing a reader's attention. Your fiction book description has to hook a reader in and make them eager to find out more, all in about 150 words. It's a tall order, but following some basic rules can keep you going in the right direction.
1. Stick With the Main Plot
Your blurb has got to be short and to the point; you don't have enough time to go into subplots and minor characters. Hook your readers with the main plot of the book and let them discover all your charming details on their own. What's the main story line? That's the only topic that should go here.
2. Use the Right Tense
Book reviews or blurbs are always written in third person, present tense. It doesn't matter what POV your book includes, your blurb should sound like someone describing the book, face to face. Here's an example from Pines, the first book in the Wayward Pines trilogy: Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident.
3. Keep it Short and Sweet
You've seen book blurbs that ran on and on for paragraphs. Chances are, you decided whether you wanted to buy the book long before you got to the end. Keep your blurb to around 150 words, in one to four paragraphs. Break up the text to avoid it looking like a block of words, and edit ruthlessly until every single word is crucial.
4. Use Power Words
You don't have a lot of words to play with, so you have to use the ones you have to use the ones you have wisely. Power words are those that evoke emotions. Choose the right words and you can color your entire blurb with mood and feelings. Words like passion, terrifying, and tormented might sound over-the-top in casual conversation, but they're perfect for using in your book blurb. There are too many power words to list here, but do a search online to find lists of them.
5. Write as the Publisher, Not the Author
When it comes to a book blurb, the words are marketing material, not great literature. Their main purpose is to get those readers to buy your book. Figure out what will motivate people to look further into your stories. Is it a cliffhanger question? A doomsday scenario? What about a potential broken heart? Your book is a product and your book description is your most effective advertisement.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!