In that way, blurbs are arguably the more important of the two, or at least equally as important. Yet we never talk about them! Though maybe we should because sometimes they suck. So that's what this post is about!
Now, in no particular order, here are ten things in blurbs that make me not want to read a book.
If the blurb alone confuses me, I lose all hope for understanding the book.
I need something concrete to tell me what the story is about, not some vague paragraph about some mysterious, untold thing being discovered and how everyone might lose everything they love because time is running out. What I just made up describes 85% of all the books I read.
3. Too Much Info
Going too far in the other direction is just as bad though. I don’t want to know the ENTIRE story.
In a similar thread, it’s bad enough that I have to be careful with reviews, I shouldn’t have to worry about blurbs too! If a later book in a series spoils something about an earlier book, that’s acceptable and the reason I avoid reading blurbs for later books, but a blurb should never spoil its own book!
5. Starting with Random Awards and Reviews
I. Do. Not. Care. I don’t buy books based on these things. There is a limited amount of space to get me to click that “read more” button on Amazon and Goodreads. Or, if I’m seeing it in a book promotion email, to decide to click over to Amazon. If all I see all awards and reviews, I’m unlikely to bother and will scroll past unless it’s got a damn good cover and title that has already piqued my interest enough.
If the author can’t even properly proofread or punctuate a tiny blurb, I again lose all hope for the book.
This isn’t something that can turn me off per se since I don’t know about it until after reading, but it might turn me off from future books. It does no good to mislead in order to make a blurb appeal to the masses. There WILL be people who want to read exactly the kind of book that’s been written, and THOSE are the people the author/publisher should be trying to attract because those are the ones who will love it.
8. Too Long
A blurb should be shorter than the book it’s describing.
9. Poor writing
If I struggle just to get through the blurb because of the writing, I’m sure as hell not going to torture myself with the entire book.
10. Telling Me What I’m Going to Think of the Book
“This book is about John. You’re going to love him because he’s funny and awkward. And the plot is action-packed and amazing. Join John on his incredible journey!” This tells me nothing. I want to know what the story is actually about. And am I really expected to trust the author’s assessment of how great their book is?