Book Blurb Breakdown: What hooks a reader and what sends them packing

book blurb breakdown

Welcome to the newest feature on Sarcasm & Lemons!  I've been trying to think of fun new things to do for 2014 that won't totally destroy my work time, and I thought:  Hm.  I like editing.  I like ripping apart words.  I love that series on Writers Unboxed called "Flog a Pro", where longtime editor Ray Rhamey shreds first pages of famous books to answer the coveted question: If I were reading this in the slush pile, would I keep reading?  

So this brings me to (ta da!) Blurb Breakdown!  I often notice when I read jacket blurbs that someone didn't do their homework.  It lags, or goes too long, or doesn't tell you enough about the book.  I don't have the editing or marketing cred to tell you what the big fancy people say will work.  But I am a consumer of books, and I'd guess that other consumers share my opinion.  

So once in a while, hopefully at least twice a month, I'll pick a blurb for a book (either one I've read or not; that creates two very interesting platforms for critique) and I'll critique them.  Line by line.  What hooked me.  What flopped.  What convinced me to pick it up (or not).  

But most of all, I'd like to start a discussion about what hooks you and what you like to see in blurbs.  Covers get plenty of attention.  It's time to check out the writing.  

Look for the first addition soon! 


  1. Yay! I look forward to reading this segment, as I LOVE analyzing marketing copy. And blurbs can truly make or break a book, even more so than the cover art.

    1. Thanks! Me too! It's so interesting, the psychology of it.