How to Write a Blurb:
A blurb is the book description, a summary, that you find on the back of a book or online to describe a book's contents. When you are writing your fan fiction you must always have a short summary giving readers an insight of what it's about. It's important because readers can't go with just reading the title and what the listed warnings show.
After all, if your story is title Bloody Nights and you give no summary then people will assume it's a story about horror or murder. When it's actually about a drunk man that drinks a lot of Bloody Mary’s at night. As you can see titles can fool a lot of people. For example, if all manga didn't have blurbs then no one would really read majority of them (especially the popular ones) because they would judge it by the title and cover artwork.
Maybe someone sees a manga titled, XXXHolic and think it's about sex. Or another manga called Until Death Do Us Part and they will think it's a romance story, when it's actually about a blind man fighting against the mafia. Even the cover artwork can be misleading to people. They might see a female character on the cover that's short, lithe and looks like a child with a older looking male character that's bigger and intimately holding her. Basically it looks like a lolicon story when it's actually just the style that artist draws in.
Anyway, blurbs allow you to show case your stories to people out there. You must have one if you want to draw them into your story. Not having one or just having, "I suck at writing summaries", "Just read the story" or "The title says it all" doesn't help at all. Readers will just skip over it because they'll think that if you didn't put any effort into writing a summary, then maybe your story isn't that good. It does sound harsh but it is the truth.
It's not just that but you don't need to put warning labels for your story in the summary either. There's already a place for them in the warning labels box. If you want to be specific or there isn't a warning label listed that you want than use the author's note box. The author's note is used to explain something to your readers before they read your story. Though some authors might feel that no one reads them but they do. So there's no need to put "R&R", "Read and Review", "It cracked inspired", "Please excuse the OOC", and "It's my first story" in your summaries.
It is in the author's note that you put those kind of things at. I advise against using "R&R" since they make a author look immature, sloppy and it's redundant. Also, author's notes is where you can explain that you had tried your best in making the character in character, that it's the first time you are posting a story, or that you were high on pixie sticks when you were writing your story and so on.
Now, there are many authors out there that have a hard time writing a summary because their story is pretty long. And trying to condense all that important information down to a paragraph isn't easy. Of course, the short written stories such as drabbles or ficlets are hard to write too, because of the little information they contain. But on the other hand they are sometimes the easiest ones to do. Even so, all stories no matter how short or long they are, they all have a purpose and a summary.
There are many ways to write a blurb. Some ways may take three paragraphs, some only two or others just one. I will list a few ways that can help you write a blurb. But it all depends on your story so choose the one that will best describe it to your readers. To help you show the points in how to form blurbs for your stories I will be using examples of fan fiction (that I made up), not actual published works.
1. Introduce the hero/heroine and give a simple plot set up. Is there an interior conflict? What about an exterior conflict? What is the goal of the hero/heroine and what do they have to lose?
Ex: (Yu-Gi-Oh Fanfiction) You, Kaku Ruichi was just a normal teenage girl until you were thrown into another world. In this world Duel Masters, a trading card game is all the rave. What's very strange is that your face is on one of those monster cards! That's not the problem though, you're slowly losing your grip on your sanity. It doesn't help that everyone is telling you that you are not supposed to exist. Of course, your only hope to get through all this is with the help of a boy named, Yugi.
This summary opens up with the main character and moves on to the plot, conflict and so on. The way it's told helps to encourage readers to check out the story because it doesn't reveal too much. It makes the readers curious and they'll want to know if the main character really is a magical being, a true monster card or just insane?
If the author wants to they could also include romance by adding in, "But through all the madness...is it possible for you to fall in love?". That sentence makes it possible for romance to happen.
2. Setting, detailed plot set up, and the main character's emotional involvement. What is the exterior conflict? (What's the hero/heroine fighting against and why?) What do they have to lose?
Ex: (Yu Yu Hakusho Fanfiction) In a back alley of Tokyo, Japan you awaken without any memories. Since then, people with sinister smiles, and eyes filled with malice stalk your form wherever you go. Confuse and scared you run. Your life quickly turns into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, between four strange boys and a mysterious man known as Reyon. Both sides say that the other is evil and both seem to know something about you. But who can you trust when you know the cause of your amnesia was betrayal? Which side will you choose? Or will you give up on remembering who you were and continue to run?
As you can see with this blurb it's suited for the suspense, thriller and/or mystery genre. It's vague but it lets the readers know what the focus of the story is, while not revealing too much details on the plot. It leaves just enough mystery for a reader to be curious. That can be good thing if that's the effect you're going for in your story. This blurb starts out differently than the first, that's because not all blurbs can give you the same effect you want. It's the way you present it.
The main character of this fan fiction is suffering from amnesia and I choose to not mention the Yu Yu Hakusho characters by name because how would she know. She wouldn't stop and check with if the four guys chasing her (which hint at Yusuke, Hiei, Kurama and Kuwabara) are bad guys or not. At the same time maybe the author isn't implying it's them. Maybe there's another group of people chasing her and she's confusing them with the other group. The part with "the mysterious man, known as Reyon" hints that he may be the villain of the story. But readers won't know for sure until they continue reading the story. As for why his name is mention, that because she knows his name. Why? Again that's for the readers to find out.
3. Setting, introduce main character, simple plot set up and conflict.
Ex: (Original Story) Orakai has been submerged in chaos. The only hope for the once advance city is a young women name Saru Velvet, who's the last of the Originals. She, along with the help of three strangers must travel across the world in search of the Creator. But time is precious and they must hurry before the city is lost forever in the depths of the blacken waters, known as Masak.
In this example the author reveals the basic point of what the story is about. It shows the picture but not details that go into it. That leaves enough mystery to grab the readers' attention. Such as, what and who are the 'Originals', the 'Creator', and the 'three strangers'? Also how advance was the city, what is the city reduces to now, why does it need saving, what is Masak and what will the heroine face in her journey?
Let's move on to something that would help you for sure.
Read the back cover of your favorite books, especially books that are in the same genre (Horror, Romance, Suspense, Mystery, etc.) as your story is useful. They can help you write a blurb for your story. All you have to do is just look for the key words that catch your interest. Just ask yourself...what about this summary that made you want to read it in the first place? When you know the answer, then place yourself as the reader and use that information to figure out how to attract people to your own story.
Really, don't be afraid to put some effort into writing a blurb. As long as you have the basic points such as the main character, plot and sometimes the setting then you're good. Blurbs don't necessary have to be very long. There are some that are even two or three sentences long.
Ex: (Kingdom Hearts Fanfiction) Someone has to cook now that Zexion is gone. Too bad that you got snatched up by Saix, who assumed you could cook. Really, just because you were wearing an apron that said, 'Kiss the Cook' didn't mean that you could.
Though, I suggest to not go overboard with a long summary either. Sometimes that can annoy a reader because they don't want to read a long blurb just to see what the story is about. The goal is just to keep it simple and to the point. Two or three inches long summary is a decent length for long stories.
So keep in mind that it's always good to have a summary then none at all. It's understandable if you end up having a long blurb. If you write one and it's pretty long you can always ask a friend for their help. Doing so would require you to summarize your story for them and then they could help further summarize it for you.
Writing blurbs can be difficult, and writing the example blurbs above was certainly tricky for me. I had to make up the stories in order to do it. It wasn't easy but I manage to come up with interesting ways in writing blurbs. I hope all of you learned a few things that can help you in writing them.
Oh, and before I forget. Please, please, make sure to check your summaries for spelling and grammar mistakes! Remember they are what attracts readers to your story. If a blurb is filled with spelling or grammar issues it is not going to be appealing fir readers to see. It'll make readers assume that your story is filled with those mistakes too, which will then turn them away from checking it out.
I'm not saying you have to be perfect because no one really is and it's fine to have a few mistakes. But all that matters is that you do your very best and check over your work. If you can't check it then have someone else go over it for you.