Are you struggling to write a book? I work with self-publishing authors every day. Their biggest challenges: failing to answer the why? question, and over-thinking the process. This leads to procrastination and self-doubt.
Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, your writing process will go more smoothly if you write your blurb (book description) first.
Although you’ll rework your book’s blurb many times before your book is done, your blurb provides you with a destination before you start writing… And yes, even pantsers need a destination.
Write a book fast: start with your blurb
Begin writing your blurb with one-sentence summary: the reason readers will read your book. What does it offer? How will they benefit?
- (nonfiction) “My book will show readers how to sew knit fabrics step by step, starting with choosing the right fabric for the pattern.” (The why: the book provides essential sewing instructions for beginners.)
- (fiction) “When a detective’s wife is charged with murder, he’ll stop at nothing to prove her innocence — even though he fears she’s guilty.” (The why: the novel promises entertainment and suspense.)
Please don’t omit writing your one-sentence summary.
Then expand on the summary to write your blurb.
1. Your blurb answers the “why?” question for readers (and for you)
Keep your blurb brief; 100 words is fine.
If you’ve already started writing your book, stop. Please write your one-sentence summary and blurb now. This simple step will help you to write with authority, so that readers trust you.
Readers have 1001 options for entertainment. They can watch movies, play video games, or browse social media. Reading a book requires commitment.
When he sees your book’s cover on Amazon, your reader is asking himself: why? Why would I read this book?
It’s impossible to answer readers’ unvoiced why?? questions if you don’t know the answer yourself.
Once you’ve completed your blurb, it’s time to start writing.
Your writing will go faster when you have a constant supply of ideas.
2. Develop a constant flow of ideas: brainstorm early and often
When you write a book, you’ll start with a single idea — your one-sentence summary. That one idea will lead to many ideas, if you allow it.
Vital: brainstorm often while you’re writing. Brainstorming eliminates over-thinking and second-guessing yourself. I like to brainstorm for five minutes during each writing session.
Your brainstorming sessions give you lots of material for your writing. You’ll discard many of your ideas of course, but you’ll also fire up your inspiration.
Your blurb and a never-ending flow of ideas make writing much easier
Writing a book can be challenging, but it needn’t be. Writing is both exploration and discovery.
You give yourself the freedom to explore and discover — within the limits set by your blurb.
Use this process on your next book, or on the book you’re writing now. Have fun. 🙂
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Updated: May 13, 2021
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.