Don’t Judge a Book By it’s Cover: 5 Easy Tips for an Intriguing Blurb for Nonfiction

We’ve all heard it a thousand times; ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ It is the affirmed phrase we’ve all been taught to follow when selecting a book to read. Though many will flout this unwritten rule as our eyes are naturally drawn to exciting and colourful covers, what makes a book grab a potential reader’s interest is an intriguing blurb. Enigmatic in nature yet just gives enough of an insight to make someone want to turn that first page – it’s what every author strives to accomplish.


Here are 5 tips to consider when your focus has turned on how to sell your book.

1. Know your target audience

 Yes, it may be obvious, however, it is incredibly important. Engaging with your intended readers to form a connection between them and the book is what will spark their interest. Try embodying the mindset of your potential reader and gauge what would catch your attention in their shoes, or your own if you fit into the demographic of your intended reader also. Include keywords and tailored language that you will have used throughout your book to make the blurb more personal and specific to your intended audience. Try to avoid being too generic as readers may assume the book is likewise. 


2. Utilise anecdotes

Another great way to connect with a potential reader is to make use of anecdotes. Sharing a small excerpt from your book gives the reader a taster of not just the content of the book but also the angle and tone. Again, you are trying to engage with your intended audience and reaching out to potential readers through an interesting or comical anecdote might just allow that spark to form.

3. Demonstrate your intention

Use your blurb to showcase exactly what you want readers to achieve by reading this book and what you the author seek to accomplish. Avoid writing how this is done as you want to maintain an essence of mystery. This may be more obvious if you have written a self-help guide or a philosophy book. However, even biographies, diaries, and memoirs all have an intention even if it is simply just to share and inspire.



4. Readability

Whilst your blurb should follow the tone of your book and include specific wording, make sure it’s simplistic in style, shorter sentences with paragraphs will keep the reader interested. You don’t want to open with a long winding sentence in which a potential reader could get bored of and simply put the book back without further thought. Shorter blurbs will grab attention and stick around easier in one’s mind.

5. Sell yourself

Blurbs shouldn’t give too much away, however, don’t be afraid to sell your story. At the end of your blurb try to establish what makes your book unique and why the reader should select it over another. Of course, this isn’t written out word for word, however, note the main areas in your book which make it completely standalone or in a league of its own, how it differs from tradition or commonality or how it embraces it, whichever factors are relevant. Go back to your target audience and imagine why a potential reader would choose your book over something in the same genre. 




Erin Rose Kyle, Glasgow PhotographerWritten by


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