Why is it so hard to write a book blurb?

Does it ever get easier to write a book blurb?  At some point, after you’ve battled day after day, does something suddenly go “ping” and you realise how to string the words together adequately?  I’ve just written nine new blurbs for each individual story in The Exodus Sequence.  Followed by a blurb for the Exodus Sequence collection.  And then three more new blurbs for each of the published novels in the Fleet Quintet.  That’s 13 blurbs in about a month.  And I think, finally, that I’m starting to get the idea how to put them together.  This doesn’t mean that I think my blurbs are brilliant because they aren’t – but they DO tell the reader what the books are about.  And isn’t that what a blurb is supposed to do?  You pick up a book, you glance at the back – so what’s this about then.  You glance at the first page – is this written in a style I could be bothered to read.  (This is after the cover was interesting enough for you to actually pick up the book in the first place…….)

My blurbs used to be extremely obtuse.    In too many of them, I tried to be clever.  I tried to snare the reader.  I played with words and punched out smart phrases.  I was mysterious.  I tried to make the books seem mysterious.  And esoteric.  And all that crap.  Then I read ten thousand blurbs for other books and researched what other people thought were good blurbs and finally – finally – I realised what it was all about.

If  you’re a famous writer, there’s hardly any blurb at all.  The books sells on the author’s name, not his work.  But if you’re not famous, then you have to sell the book.  You have to tell people what it’s about.  There’s no room for cleverness.

Compare these two blurbs for my novel V.GOMENZI:


Who is Vincent Gomenzi?
How does he end up in Sistia Scarpora’s life four hundred years after trapping his brother on Nigel?
And how does he become involved with Recovery and Igen Dyce?
Third in the Fleet Quintet, V. Gomenzi traces the history of Recovery – from Nigel to Garanthal to Dragør Johnson.
It follows the Angel of Deadly Enlightenment – from its fall in the Garden of Truth to the last Fleet game.
And it reveals the truth about Vincent Gomenzi:
The vortex.
The Fleet machine city.
The First.
V. Gomenzi.
Mindwalker supreme.
Can evil develop a conscience?


The Fleet must be stopped before everyone in the Sigma Sector disappears forever.

Vincent Gomenzi leaves Earth when he is sixteen, knowing that he can never mindwalk again.  The terrifying maw of the vortex waits for him if he tries to transfer out.  As the first mindwalker, Fleet personnel 1, he was once the most destructive force in the Sigma Sector …

Igen Dyce loses his fiancé to the Fleet.  A baseball star on Lomensis, he forms the Lomensii branch of Recovery, an underground organisation formed to rescue those lost to the Fleet.  When he meets the spectacular Sistia Scarpora, he hasn’t yet saved a single soul …

The Angel of Deadly Enlightenment tries to escape from the Garden of Truth but is doomed to return in every new cast.  When it finally works out what Truth is, the Fleet will be scarred for all eternity, the memory of their encounters setting in motion the downfall of the Sigma Sector …

From the freelance operative to the machine city, Vincent’s jump in time leads him to Recovery.  From the Garden of Truth to the Fleet installation, he learns the truth about what he has done.  And from the vortex to the stone angel, he has to undo the past to save the future …

The third novel in the Fleet Quintet, the three strands of V. GOMENZI cover the same time period as TRANSFERENCE and FLESH FOR SALE – reaching further into the future and far, far back into the past, almost to the beginning.


The new one is longer, perhaps a little duller, but you sure get a better idea of what you’re about to read.  Also, the three strands of the novel are clearly described to help the reader along.  I’d love to know what anyone thinks!

My new webpage for V.GOMENZI can be viewed HERE.



About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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