The Deceptive Blurb

You may (or may not) have noticed that I write my own spoiler free summaries for the books I review, rather than use the ones already written on Goodreads. This isn’t because I think I’m an amazing blurb writer, it’s because I find the pre written ones misleading.

For those of you wondering what a blurb is its the short paragraph at the back cover of the book meant to entice the reader in. A great idea- a short synopsis that sums up the book and helps readers decide if they’d like it. But I find them often misleading and here’s why:

They always push Romance

I understand that a lot of readers are interested in romance and any hint of the stuff will make them pick up a novel, but can they just tag it on the end of the blurb? Not make the book out to be entirely romance?

A book I found to be quite bad for this is The Raven Boys. The premise of the book is four teenagers trying to find and awaken an ancient Welsh king to try and win a favour. Pretty cool idea.

What does the blurb focus on? One of the teenagers will kill their true love with a kiss. It’s barely a side plot in the first book of this series and doesn’t need this massive spot light in the blurb.

Sometimes they Completely fail to Grasp the Book

I don’t know how they manage this but sometimes the blurb doesn’t reflect the book at all. I went to an author talk once where the author mentioned she doesn’t actually write her own blurbs, which made so much sense in some cases.

I’ll give you an example. Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen is a book about a girl who had been raped and is trying to recover from it. The blurb entirely makes it sound like a book about girls falling out and acting very play ground about it, focusing on Annabel’s fall from popularity rather than her recovering from assault- the actual premise of the novel.

Blurbs don’t actually Tell you if you’d like the Book

We’ve all had those novels that scream us on paper, look fantastic on our shelves, sound amazing in the blurb but just…. disappoint? Maybe it’s an annoying main character, cringe worthy humour, snail like pace or the writing style is too descriptive or childish for your tastes. Those books we gear ourselves to love but turn out to be a slog.

Some blurbs are really good at bringing out the book’s style, some are first person from the protagonist and you tell immediately if you’d like them. But it’s hard to portray all these things in just a paragraph and I don’t blame blurbs for not. You have to read the book itself to actually know if you’d enjoy it (I usually flick to the first page and see if I’m gripped or will have a recommendation from a trusted friend or blogger).

I think we’ve all learnt not to put all our faith in that little paragraph on the back.

So there you go. Why I struggle to pick up a book on the blurb alone. How do you decide what to read? What’s your opinon on blurbs? Ever been burnt by the a blurb? Would be great to hear from you πŸ˜€

11 thoughts on “The Deceptive Blurb

  1. This is such an interesting post – blurbs are SO misleading sometimes and I love the examples you picked out. I thought that The Raven Boys would be focused on romance a little bit, but…. it doesn’t at all and it’s just so different from what the blurb is saying?! And YES to that Sarah Dessen book, I didn’t even expect that sexual assault was part of the plot, from reading the blurb alone. Blurbs are soooooooo misleading sometimes, I never trust them too much πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

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