Sell More Books: Great Covers, Blurbs & Excerpts

Covers, Blurbs, Excerpts are keys to selling books.

When we spend the time to write a novel, selling copies is one of the most important aspects. Some of the most important elements of your novel except the novel itself are the Covers, Blurbs, Excerpts.

#covers #blurbs #excerpts #sell books

Covers: Covers, Blurbs, Excerpts

The first view of your book is the cover. Hopefully your publisher will give you input into what goes on the cover.

  1. Genre appropriate covers are a key element. If you are writing a romance, make sure the cover speaks to the person who is going to buy a romance. When writing a series, the covers should have similarities the reader can identify.
  2. The cover artists will usually ask for input, make sure you take the time to suggest elements you like. If you don’t do this, you have no excuses when the cover is returned and you can’t stand the images the artist created. GIVE INPUT. Showing the artist what you want will save both the artist and the author essential time.
  3. Remember most digital books are sold on Amazon. The cover appears as a thumbprint. Too much detail can detract from the cover. And tiny elements that look fantastic normal size might not show up on the thumbprint.
  4. Try to have a group of people you trust with their opinion look at the cover. If the artist has given you more than one cover to choose from,. use your core group to help you decide

Blurbs: Covers, Blurbs, Excerpts.

The back cover blurb is the second thing a reader will see. Readers who buy paperbacks in a store will pick a book first by the cover then will turn it over to see the blurb. They might have been intrigued by the cover, but if the blurb doesn’t hold their interest, they will probably put it back without turning to a front page to take a look at the excerpt. The same with the digital markets. The blurb is featured with the cover.

  1. Blurbs must be interesting. If the reader yawns while perusing the blurb, it’s not a good one and will reflect on the book.
  2. Genre appropriate is necessary.
  3. Blurbs which are two or three sentence won’t give the reader enough information to access the book. Two to three sentence blurbs resemble a tagline not a blurb.
  4. Make sure all grammar is perfect in your blurb. If a reader finds obvious grammar mistakes, that’s a sure sign the book will contain them also.
  5. Use your beta readers or the group of family and friends you trust and get their opinion.

Excerpts: Covers, Blurbs, Excerpts

Excerpts are the third window into the sale of your book. Again, the excerpt must keep the reader intrigued. It has to show the reader that your book actually has the content the genre claims.

  1. Don’t always pick the first page of the book to use as the excerpt. Instead, sift through the pages of the book and find an important and intriguing excerpt to showcase your book.
  2. The excerpt should be genre appropriate but also PG or PG-13. If the book is an erotic romance, you might want to keep the romantic scene toned down a bit.
  3. Excerpts should not be too long or too short. A three page excerpt is too long just as a two paragraph excerpt is too short.
  4. Cliff hangers are critical to the excerpt. The last sentence needs to leave the reader wanting to know more. If the excerpt achieves this, your book will sell.
  5. Use your beta readers or group of family and friends you trust and get their opinion by giving them three of four choices.

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3 responses to “Sell More Books: Great Covers, Blurbs & Excerpts”

  1. Cover, Blurbs, and Excerpts as the article described are essential, enticing the reader to want to purchase the book. Blurbs in my opinion is the most difficult to complete of the three topics but the most important. The cover to the book is similar to a person wanting to buy a house. If the exterior of the house is painted with complementing trim and well-maintained landscape it entices you to get a closer look. Looking through the windows gives you a peek at what’s inside the house and wanting you to open the front door and walk inside.

    • Genene says:

      The house example is a good analogy. I find writing blurbs–condensing 40,000, 50,000 or 100,000 words into several sentences–takes a different mindset than when I’m writing the book itself. It’s almost better if I write several at the same time, so I get in the rhythm of writing short and using sentences that entice readers to want more. Sometimes it’s great to brainstorm these with someone who knows a bit about your story, like critique partners or beta readers, if you have them.

      Greg, how do you write your blurbs? And how about everyone else? Do you ask someone to help?

      • Ruth Danes says:

        The way I learned to write blurbs was by looking at the blurbs for bestsellers. Clearly these people are doing something right! I think it is good to end a blurb with a cliffhanger or a question to pique the reader’s curiosity.

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