Flash Fiction Challenge: What Questions Must Be Answered In A BLURB???

your humble host
I keep thinking there should be a formula for coming up with an awesome blurb. (We have discussed blurbs HERE and HERE and HERE, but this formula idea is different, I swear.)

Could a series of 10 (or 20 or 30) questions be asked and the answers dropped into a template that spits out a winning blurb every time???

We need that.

We need that sooooo bad.

So let’s do it.


I mean,

it’s generally accepted that it’s easier to write an 80,000 word novel than a 150 word blurb that gets people to wanna read it.

It’s also generally accepted that blurbs are completely evil, torturing you as they laugh and force you to make revision after revision until you can no longer speak or understand English. Words are just black squiggles on a white background. Damn you, squiggles! Damn you!!


Think of all the things a good blurb talks about. The main character and what his/her existing life is and then what the dilemma is in the story, and then however you want to bait the hook to get people to open the book?

Stuff like that?

There should be a handful of questions we should be able to ask to get all the answers, and then a template that we can drop them into that will basically lay out… Well, maybe not a winning blurb, but certainly a good starter. And then from there you have to use your writerly talents.

What do YOU think?

What questions have to be answered in the blurb?

List your ideas below!

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

27 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: What Questions Must Be Answered In A BLURB???

  1. I hate blurbs… ugh. So hard to write, still trying to work on mine. Not happy with it… Maybe I just simplify it to What? What do I have to do to get this blurb right? Why? Why am I writing one? Where? Where is it taking me? Only kidding, but you can see blurbs, synopsis and the like really rattle me!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’d agree with that one. I’ve re-written mine countless times and it’s still rubbish. UGH… have to nail it soon! Perhaps this is one occasion in which I could be forgiven for writing whilst under the influence of a little wine? Ha ha… Maybe later…. I’ve tried everything else, I’m desperate!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It should, say what the book’s about, how to find it, and if the book’s not yet been released, it needs to say when it’s coming. Maybe a word or two about the author.

    It’s gotta be catchy and attention grabbing. Oh! Yeah, and unforgettable!

    If possible add a picture along with your 150 words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First and foremost – a blurb should tell if you if the novel has a cliffhanger. I get extremely angry if a book has a cliffhanger and that isn’t mentioned in the blurb. I think it should also be clear what type of book we’re getting. Is it funny? Sexy? Scary? Etc. Etc. I can’t tell you how many blurbs I’ve read that were super cute and witty, but the book was NOT. Seriously, NOT. So yeah, the blurb should have the same tone as the writing of the novel. What’s the main conflict of the novel? What’s the theme of the novel? Of course, the biggest question of them all is – where should we read your novel?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Do you mean a “cliffhanger ending” that requires you buying another book (a.k.a. a series you didn’t know was a series)? Yes. Otherwise it’s like lying.

      And you are 100% correct, a blurb is supposed to show you a bit of what’s inside, not fool you with a lollipop and serve you broccoli.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think a blurb needs to introduce main character or character (at most 2), setting and stakes.

        The cliffhanger ending thing has been bugging me for awhile though. All through my beta-reads and editing, only one person said it was abrupt. Everyone else seemed excited.

        I’ve taken a hard look at my ending over this past few weeks and it’s definitely a twist…cliffhanger might be a little too strong. Now I’m considering how I’m going to “warn” people so they don’t hate me. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

            1. In fact, you don’t really need even 10 people to read the whole book, you just need 10 people to read the last chapter along with some sort of summary of the prior chapters. To see if it works or not. That’s all you want to know.

              Let 10 people read it and vote. You will have a decisive winner and it won’t change if you get 100 votes. It will be 80/20, not 60/40.

              If you want, we could try it here. Put together a summary and post it along with the last chapter and let people tell you what they think.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. I think it’s OK for the story to continue in a second or third (etc) book, as long as each one in the series has a story which is complete for that volume. I don’t like being ‘forced’ to buy the next book to find out what goes on, but you can certainly make it obvious that there is more to come in the story. Does that make sense?

          I actually don’t mind blurbs. That being said, it doesn’t mean mine are necessarily brilliant – maybe it’s because I naturally write concisely (when I edit, my word count goes up – I like to get to the action!)

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Yeah, if it wasn’t OK for the action to go on, nobody would buy a series. I’m just saying, if a book is supposed to be a standalone, that’s fine. If it’s part of the series and you don’t really know what happens in the book you’re reading because there are two other books that are really where it finishes, that can be not cool – if you don’t know.

            If a book is part of the series but stands alone, that’s the best possible option to me.

            I’m glad you’re a good blurb writer. We need more of those. You could probably hire yourself out because most of us find it hard to do!

            We may have to look for a guest blog post from you explaining how you do it.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I always heard that a blurb should be like a query letter (or at least, the main portion of your query letter that has nothing to do with author bio, etc.)

    Start with a one sentence summary of your plot: MC(s) have to do X or such and such happens.

    Follow by a bit of expounding: MC was a happy-go-lucky guy/girl until a dragon showed up and at his/her family. MC escapes and finds shelter with a secret society of ice cream wizards who teach him/her the mystical arts of salted caramel cashew ice cream. With his/her newfound powers of sugar coma, MC sets out to battle dragon or Rocky Road. Will he be in time to save his/her village, or will the dragon of Rocky Road prove salted caramel is a fad destined to die in oblivion.

    Or something like that. I could be wrong – I haven’t even finished my novel enough to try my hand at a blurb.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just look at blurbs on the covers of books in the same genre to get a feel for how to do it. Structurally they’re probably all the same, but stylistically they’ll likely be very different. You wouldn’t write your romance novel’s blurb like you’re trying to sell a horror story. That’d be weird. It’d also have a better chance of convincing me to pick it up and read it, but that’s besides the point.

    Liked by 1 person

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