We all know that book descriptions are vital part of book sales, and one of the biggest pains on an indie author’s to-do list.
I’m on a myth-busting mission impossible to breakdown the elements of bestselling blurbs so that you can use the techniques to write your own best selling blurbs…and make it a lot less painful in the process.
Heck, I’m gonna go so far as to say that I actually want you to start enjoying writing the bleddie things…
Because you’ll have a handy bag ‘o’ tricks to refer to, grab inspiration from, and stop using the spaghetti-thrown-at-the-wall approach.
Here’s how these weekly blurb breakdowns are gonna go down
Every week I’ll take a best selling book off the digital shelves of Amazon’s top 100 in a given category… and I’ll break it down, sentence by sentence, so you can see the techniques and strategies at play.
Then, you can use those techniques to strengthen or create your own best selling book description.
If you come across an awesome book description out in the wilderness, and you want me to break it down, I’m more than happy to do it. The catch is, it can’t be for one of your own books.
Just email me with the Amazon link and tell me what you liked about it – if it made you want to buy it, or if you bought it.
Right, so them’s the rules, let’s dive in…
This weeks blurb breakdown is Sarah Morgan’s, Beach House Summer at the time of writing it was actually sitting at No 249 in the UK’s holiday romance genre. (Ok, so not a bestselling blurb right now – but it was back it the summer).
Here’s the blurb…
Here’s the opening:
‘Gloriously romantic, the perfect summer escape!’ Cathy Bramley
‘Beach House Summer is a perfect slice of joyful summer escapism from Sarah Morgan, the master of the genre’ Clare Pooley, The Authenticity Project
‘Sarah Morgan has the ultimate golden touch for me – no other author makes me lose myself in a world like she does. Beach House Summer might just be her best summer novel yet: emotional, heart-warming, and deliciously escapist’ Laura Jane Williams, The Lucky Escape
‘The perfect blend of drama, friendship and heart-melting romance: sumptuous, escapist fiction at its finest’ Cressida McLaughlin, The Staycation
All these teasers reinforce the genre, they pre-frame the type of story a reader can expect and they add to the social proof by using the status of other authors in the same genre.
The Tagline – officially the tagline is:
A marriage in the spotlight. A beach house hideaway. A summer of new beginnings.
But it’s broken up and used as subheading for each paragraph. This is an interesting idea, I’ve seen plenty of book descriptions where the tagline/hook is a type of hook I call the three things hook. It pre-fames each paragraph with a mental image, an anchor image, helps skim readers because it still makes sense as a set up for the story.
A marriage in the spotlight
Joanna Whitman’s high-profile marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, so when her ex-husband dies, she doesn’t know what to feel. But when she discovers that he’s left behind a pregnant young woman, Joanna is forced to act. She knows exactly how brutal the spotlight on them both will be…unless she can find a way for them to disappear.
Here we have the set up of the story line. The why. We’re told she’s high-profile, we’re told her name, and we’re teased about the secrets. This is an open loop and makes you wonder what those secret’s are. The use of the phrase, ‘she doesn’t know what to feel,’ is relatable and evokes empathy.
At the end of this paragraph is a kind of cliffhanger/open loop. Although it’s obvious from the title that she does find a place to hide it doesn’t really spoil the curiosity. Also, I think we all have moments where we feel like we’d like to disappear – just for a little bit. So again, there’s an element of relatability to the story.
A beach house hideaway
Ashley Blake is amazed when Joanna suggests they lie low at her beach house in her sleepy Californian hometown. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley needs all the support she can find.
Here we find out the name of the other character, it’s not too far a stretch for readers to understand that this person is the pregnant young woman referred to above.. Sometimes, it’s good to trust that readers will understand.
We’re told that Joanna suggests hiding out in a beach house which closes the loop from the end of the previous paragraph. But, as I said, since the title of the book is called A beech house summer, it’s not really that much of a spoiler.
Next, we come to a sentence that opens a new loop… ‘Joanna should be hating her, not helping her’. This open loop aims to increase your curiosity by making you wonder why Joanna is helping her.
Next is a big empathy waving flag, ‘But alone and pregnant, Ashley needs all the help she can find.’ This pushes our emotional buttons – and knowing that the target audience is women, well, need I say more?
Right, the final paragraph…
A summer of new beginnings
Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future. But when an old flame reappears, and secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is put to the test…
The writer of this blurb is building the curiosity, there were hints of secrets in the first paragraph and this theme is continued here. Joanna’s only goal is privacy suggests she has something to hide and therefore creates an open loop.
We find out what they both want, Joanna wants privacy, Ashley wants space to think.
The final paragraph goes on to paint a good picture of the conflict they face and uses some solid imagery, the old flame, the hot summer sun relate nicely. And there are obvious open loops… who is the old flame – is it Joanna’s or Ashleys? What secrets? And the ‘spill out under the hot summer sun’ is suggestive of the pressure they’re under.
Readers are falling hard for Beach House Summer!
‘Beach House Summer is the most delightful novel that will warm your heart and make you smile’ Reader review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I loved this book – it’s definitely one of my favourites that I’ve read by Sarah Morgan! I could barely put this down – an easy 5 stars for me’ Reader review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘The perfect blend of drama, love and friendships, this is fiction at its best’ Reader review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Moving, heartwarming, romantic . . . The perfect summer escape’ Reader review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
For a final flourish, they layer on the social proof with these reader review quotes. I really liked the opening line to this section of the blurb, it’s spot on for the genre.
All in all, it’s a good blurb. I like the way they used the tagline as subheadings to pre-frame the content and help skim readers.
What do you think?
Have you got any questions about it?
Want to suggest a book description to breakdown?
Either comment below or shoot me an email.