Reading Peeves: Blurb to Book Difference and Problems

Reading Peeves Graphic

The entire purpose of a blurb is to get a reader’s attention and convince them to pick up that book and read it. Writing them is an art form in itself and requires a delicate balance between being intriguing with just enough information to draw a reader in while staying accurate and not giving too much away. I can say from experience, it was one of the harder aspects of writing a book, so I get that they aren’t always going to be perfect. But, problematic blurbs tend to be a pretty big peeve of mine in reading.

The first part, giving just enough information without being too much, is really hard. I’ve seen books with only a handful of very short sentences that give almost no feel for what the book is actually about. These can be intriguing, but more times than not, they just aren’t enough to get me to pick up a book. I need just a little more than that.

The flip side of that is the blurb that is so long it encompasses nearly 2 pages worth of story summary or just an overload of information and details. The point is to get the reader to want to pick the book up to learn more, not to hand every detail to them in summarized form. I really don’t want to spend more than a minute or two reading a blurb to figure out if I want to spend more of my time to read the book. If I see a really long blurb, I will often just not even bother.

This may be small, but… that blurb really shouldn’t have any errors in it. If the blurb has grammatical or spelling errors, it doesn’t give me a whole lot of hope that the book is going to have been cleanly edited. This doesn’t just apply to spelling and grammar, but to plot and story and character development. Typos and mistakes happen, but first impressions make a huge impact on readers.

I also cannot stand when the blurb contains a spoiler or includes something that the reader doesn’t even see until the very end of the book. For me, these tend to create a certain level of expectation for those parts and I’ll spend the whole book looking for it and not just enjoying the piece of the story that is in front of me at the time.

For me, I think the worst offense a blurb can commit is to not actually represent the book it is attached to. I have now read 2 different ARCs in a row that I requested because the blurbs looked amazing only to find out that the blurb and the book really didn’t match.

The blurb is the second point of advertising for a book right after the cover. Like any other kind of advertising, a blurb can fall into the “false advertising” category. It doesn’t seem to happen often, but it does happen and I really don’t get why. I feel like if you do that, it makes you look bad as an author. If I read a book with a gross level of disparity between the blurb and the book, I’m a whole lot less likely to ever pick up another book by that author, so doing this seems really counter intuitive.

I also feel like the issues with length and too much information are a lot more minor in comparison to a blurb that doesn’t match a book. At least those are being honest even if it doesn’t quite hit that sweet spot balance on just enough but not too much. There is also a difference between being coy with surprises along the way and being an outright misrepresentation of what a book is about. When a blurb doesn’t match a book it feels kind of like a lie and a breach of trust between author and reader, which is a surprisingly important part of that relationship.

 

Author: TJ Fox

I am a slightly sane artist, amateur photographer, book addict, wife, mom and raging introvert. I have more hobbies than I can count, so it is beyond shocking that I manage to find time to do any of them, let alone most of them and still have time to do anything else. Of all the talents I claim, writing wasn’t one of them until my muse dropped the idea for a book on my head.

4 thoughts on “Reading Peeves: Blurb to Book Difference and Problems”

  1. Maybe it’s because I’ve read several books that have the same cover that the blurb is now the main thing that decides whether I read a book or not. And, yep, this year I’ve read two books in which the blurb was different from the book. I mentioned it to the publicist who told me that it had been updated. So hopefully these ARCs when they get truly published have a “real” blurb. 🙂 I also hate the blurbs that tell me a book’s hysterically funny and doesn’t get anything more than a chuckle from me. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely forgot to mention those that have this epic list of “If you liked ‘X’ book, you’ll love this” types of comments. I’m not even entirely sure why those bother me so much. Maybe because unless that comparison is made by the author they are being compared to or by a huge percentage of readers of both books, it just seems like an attempt to grab onto someone else’s coattails.

      This last book really irritated me. Looking at the other reviews that had been posted so far, several other ARC readers felt the same way about thinking it was one thing and getting something entirely different.

      I have a feeling that book covers may get its own peeve post before too long. I know I’ve written about it in the past, but that was at least a few years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am just about to read one of those if you like Christina Lauren you will love this book…books. 🙂 I am hopeful but not convinced.
        I hate to say it, but I’ve stopped caring about the covers unless it’s one that is completely wonderful. Most are too disappointing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think my biggest issue (that covers a broad range of smaller connected issues) is the lack of unique artistic creativity in most covers. There are tons of bits and pieces to that, but is the most general thing I can come up with to describe how I feel about covers lately.

        Liked by 1 person

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