Guest Blog Wednesdays with Rainy Kaye

This week on Guest Blog Wednesdays at The Australian Bookshelf we are joined by Rainy Kaye, from the popular blog promotion and information site Rainy of the Dark. This guest post will shed some light on Rainy’s views about what can make or break a book when it comes to a blurb. Welcome Rainy!

3 Turnoffs in Book Blurbs

A book cover may be the aesthetically pleasing road sign, but the blurb is often the deciding factor in what path to take. So, what reasons might your amazing story be left unexplored?

Dull hook. The first line is your first impression. Pretend it’s Twitter, and see if you can encourage someone to “click” in 140-characters. Now apply that to principle to the hook for your blurb. With the growing popularity of e-books, it’s not that far-fetched of an exercise.

Vague descriptions. Of course you don’t want to give it all away on the back cover, but your goal is to entice. Leaving too much to the imagination, in this case, is leaving too much room to move on. For example, saying a character “faces hardships” isn’t quite as intriguing as “faces the hardships of Hell—literally.” The reader still doesn’t know the exact details, but they have an idea of what kind of adventure is in store.

Trite questions. Asking if the hero is going to win probably isn’t going to win most readers. We assume in most stories the protagonist will succeed in some form or fashion. Instead, perhaps you could sum up the goal and stakes. That is, tell us what the main character is hoping to achieve and what happens if he or she doesn’t.

There are exceptions to everything, but try going over these points if your blurb isn’t doing the trick. Make sure the reader wants more before the first sentence is done. Make sure you don’t leave them with a list of broad descriptions. And make sure that the ending statement doesn’t leave the reader assuming the answer is “yes” and instead makes them want to know why. If you can hit those, the next person may just follow down your road.

 Readers, what turns you off from a book blurb?

About Rainy Kaye: When Rainy Kaye isn’t plotting world domination, she enjoys coaching    others about it on her blog She also likes fluffy kittens.

If you would like to feature on Guest Blog Wednesdays at The Australian Bookshelf- whether you are an author, reader, writer, blogger- drop me a line at and tell me a bit about yourself. Regards, Jayne.


  • I’m glad this showed up in my feed! I just wrote about how Twitter’s helping me become a better writer, but hadn’t thought to apply the 140-character test to works already written. Thanks for the push to revisit my book’s blurb!

  • Hi Deborah,

    Thanks for the comment! The general rule is, you should be able to hook someone–with anything–in about 140 characters This is akin to the ‘elevator pitch’. Every industry has its own terminology, but the concept is about the same.

    I’m now following you on Twitter. @rainyofthedark

    Best luck,


  • Biggest turn-offs? Lousy punctuation, loose grammar, unfocused sentence structure. If someone can’t get the basics correct in a public-facing promotional ‘hook’, what chance does the text of the book or story have? Blurb writing is a specialised art and one I’m still seeking to hone. Thanks for the handy post. 🙂


  • I totally agree with you, Chaz. This point is especially important for self-published authors to remember, because they don’t always have to receive approval on their blurb. It’s definitely worth the time to make sure it is as fantastic as the story inside 🙂


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: