I've been thinking for a while about self-publishing, which means I'll have to do a lot of things myself. One of those is the cover blurb (I wonder where that word came from?).
So today I pulled down a bunch of books from my bookshelf and analyzed them.
They broke down into two major categories. The first (and largest) is a simple cause/event structure.
Hook --> MC --> Event (what changed?) --> Explanation (why does it matter?) --> Event (inciting incident) --> Hook
The initial hook doesn't have to be story-related. It can be the author's name, an endorsement, a series title or even the name of the book. In that case, the MC is usually listed first in the blurb itself. Since no one would recognize my name, I don't have any endorsements, etc, I'll keep the hook, thank you very much.
The second category is actually a sub-set of this one, apparently used in situations where the inciting incident (event) takes place before the book begins.
Hook --> Event (what changed?) --> MC --> Explanation (why does it matter?) --> Event (inciting incident) --> Hook
Of the books I looked at, two fit in this category, and twenty-three in the first group, for a total of twenty-five.
The third category (or second, depending on how you look at it) is used for situations where there are two MC's or two separate storylines. Five of the books I looked at used this format.
MC --> Hook --> [explanation] --> [Event] --> MC --> Hook --> [explanation] --> Event --> Hook
This format introduces the first character, gives us a reason to care (which I'm referring to here as another hook) then introduces the second character and again gives us a reason to care. Usually there's an explanation section, telling what the two have in common or why they're together, but not always. Then the inciting incident and a final hook to draw the reader in.
I looked at dozens of books, and all but one fit into one of these categories. That one could loosely fit into the character-hook format, except that there was only one character presented. It went character --> event --> event --> event --> event --> etc and seemed rather amateur. If I'd not read the author before I never would have picked it up.
Based on this analysis, over the next few weeks I'm going to try to create cover-blurbs for some of my finished novels. Hopefully you'll let me know what you think, what works and what doesn't.
Have you seen other formats?
Post a cover-blurb for one of your books in the comments, let's see what you come up with!
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