Blurbs are quotes from fellow authors or review publications endorsing a book, which are sometimes used on a book cover or in a book’s marketing material (e.g. the description on retailer websites). They are often effective at catching readers’ attention, especially if the readers are familiar with the blurbing author or publication, and can help entice them to make that final purchasing decision. After all, if an author they trust loved a book, chances are they’ll love it, too!
In this post, we’ll review why getting a blurb from a reputable author or publication will help increase book sales, share tips on how to secure one for your own book, and outline where you should use a blurb once you get it.
Why do blurbs help increase book sales?
Blurbs help attract readers to your books, and our tests show that blurbs effectively make a book more appealing. At BookBub, we often run split A/B tests to see what book description copy resonates most with our subscribers. To do this, when sending our daily BookBub Featured Deals emails, we randomly send a slightly different version of the same promotion to two groups of our subscribers. We tested the effectiveness of blurb copy by sending Group A a version of the description with a blurb while sending Group B a version without a blurb. Everything else in the promotion remained exactly the same.
Our tests showed that book descriptions including blurbs got an average of 22.6 percent higher click-through rates than those without blurbs. (Tweet this stat!)
Should you get a blurb from an author or publication?
We also ran A/B tests comparing descriptions that included a blurb from an author versus a blurb from a publication, such as Publishers Weekly or The New York Times. Our tests revealed that you should quote authors rather than publications where possible. Descriptions that included a blurb from an author got an average 30.4 percent higher click-through rate than descriptions including a blurb from a publication. (Tweet this stat!)
Your results will depend on how recognizable the author or publication is in your particular genre. But our data shows that all else being equal, showcasing a quote from an author is a better bet.
How can you secure a blurb for your book?
If you’re traditionally published, you can often get your publisher or agent to help connect you with other authors who could potentially read your book and provide a blurb. But if you’re independently published, connecting with fellow authors in your genre is up to you.
Of course, it’s not always realistic to secure a blurb from Stephen King or Nora Roberts. Getting a blurb from a friend might be easier, but if she hasn’t received any accolades or recognition herself, her quote likely won’t boost your sales, either. Here are a few tips for securing a blurb from a recognizable author in your genre.
1. Reach out to authors whose books are similar to yours. Make a list of authors in your genre who’ve written books like yours. It helps if you’ve read the author’s book and admire their work. This way you can express why you are reaching out to them in particular in a heartfelt way. If they are flattered by your message, they’ll be more inclined to help. If you send a blanket email to multiple authors, you may come across as desperate and spammy. Keep in mind that you may need to send ten or more requests to get a single blurb, so build your list accordingly, and prepare to do a lot of reading so you’re well equipped to send engaging emails. Don’t put all your eggs in one or two baskets.
Also, don’t be afraid to add well-known authors to your list. The worst that can happen is they say “no” or don’t reply to your email. But authors know providing blurbs is an opportunity to get free publicity for themselves, since their name will appear on another author’s book cover or marketing assets. And if you’re targeting relevant authors who may genuinely be interested in your book, chances are good that they’ll say yes!
2. Contact the author directly if possible. You can usually find contact information:
- On the author’s website. Emailing the author is best, but alternatively you can complete a contact form on the author’s site.
- On their Facebook page. While email is best, you can try sending the author a personal Facebook message.
- Via Twitter. It’s best if you follow each other so you can ask via a direct message instead of publicly.
3. Write a personalized message. If you’re reaching out to an author friend, your message doesn’t need to be very formal. But here’s an example template you can use if you’re reaching out to an author you aren’t yet acquainted with:
Dear [author name],
My name is [your name], and I’m a big fan of your work. I’m a [genre] author myself, and I recently read [author’s book title] since I love learning from fellow [genre] authors. I enjoyed [thing about the book you loved].
I will be publishing my newest book [book title] soon, which is also a [genre]. Would you consider reading this book and providing a blurb for me to use on the cover? I admire your work so much, and I would love to feature your kind words on this book.
[Book title] is about [elevator pitch]. I think you’d enjoy this book because [reason it’s similar to the author’s book].
I need the blurb by [date], so please let me know if you’d be willing to read. I would greatly appreciate your time. Thanks so much for considering this!
4. Send a free copy of your book. Once an author agrees to provide a blurb, send them a free print or digital copy of your book. Always set a deadline for getting a blurb from them, even if your publication date is flexible, so they can slot reading your book into their hectic schedules. Many people function more effectively with a specific goal date in mind. If you have a publisher, ask the author to send the blurb to you directly so you can monitor the status and send a reminder email if necessary.
If your publisher has sent advanced reader copies (ARCs) on your behalf, ask your publisher for the list of authors who received the ARC. This way you can send them a personal note conveying your appreciation for their time, and follow up with them on the status of the blurb if necessary.
Once you get a blurb, where should you use it?
If you’ve managed to secure a blurb or two for your book, congratulations! Feel free to use the quote on your book or any of your book marketing assets. Here are a few examples of where you can display your blurbs:
1. The book’s cover. Some authors choose a blurb to feature on their cover designs. Try to use a short blurb so it’s easy to read and you don’t clutter your design.
2. The book description. Many authors also choose to feature their blurbs at the top of their book descriptions on retailer sites.
3. Your social media branding elements. You can include a blurb for your newest release on your Facebook cover photo, your Twitter header photo, and so on.
4. Your author website. Include blurbs on your website where you’re promoting your books.
5. On any of your other marketing assets. You can feel free to use any blurbs you get on any of your marketing assets, from social media display ads to bookmarks or swag you create.
About Diana Urban
Diana Urban is the Industry Marketing Manager at BookBub, and was previously the Head of Conversion Marketing at HubSpot. She’s an expert in inbound marketing, content marketing, and lead generation. Diana is also the author of two Young Adult thrillers, and is writing her third novel. Follow her on Twitter at @DianaUrban.