Why Do You Pick Up a Book in the First Place?

If you’re like most people, you pick up a book because the cover or title looks interesting. The next thing you do is read the back blurb, or if you’re online, the excerpt.

What is it? Or, better yet, what should it be?

Basically, the back blurb is a sales pitch. There are a lot of tools in the publishing tool belt, and each has its own unique purpose and strength. Few, though, have more sway over a would-be reader than the book description.

It should be the summation of your story, enticing the reader to buy.

How do you write good back blurb?
The principles hold true for any genre, although the details may change a bit for each. This is a list of things featured most often from a number of bestsellers …

A hint of the plot.

Use of words that evoke images and resonate with readers.

Main characters are named and characterized.

Idea of setting.

A question to be answered, or a hint of mystery to be solved that draws the reader in.

Quotes about the book or previous books by the author.

Most good book descriptions have less to do with the story of the book, and more to do with the story of the reader. Tell the reader about the journey they’re going to take, rather than try to create a shorthand or synopsis of your book.


Take the back cover blurb for my newest novel, DEAD END STREET, coming out on Amazon this week:


Paul Barrett is a successful author. So are Randy and Donnie Camron. Along with the rest of the gang from Reichold Street, they all think their lives have finally settled down. In this provocative thriller, however, they learn there are new disasters waiting, determined to find them, wherever they go.

REICHOLD STREET, the lead novel in the series, was selected a 2012 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner.
“Skillfully written and emotionally charged.”
~ Kirkus Reviews for “Reichold Street”

ONE WAY STREET and STREET LIGHT, the second and third books in the series, were also reviewed as intense, 5-Star thrillers…

“A mesmerizing thriller that can haunt you long after you put the book down…”
~ Maria Beltran, of Readers’ Favorite, for “One Way Street”

“R.L. Herron is a master craftsman…grabbing the reader and transporting them into the story…”
~ Brian MacLearn, award-winning author, for “Street Light”

In DEAD END STREET, the characters already know very well that life is not perfect, but discover the past is not always as far behind them as they think.


You may call it a ‘blurb’ or ‘back cover copy’ or lament it simply as ‘all that text I have to paste into my book page.’

Whatever your name for it, you can’t afford to ignore it. After your cover, the product description of your book is the first experience the reader has with you as an author.

The book blurb is one of your most important communication aids when promoting your book, so invest plenty of time and dedication to ensure you get it right.

Getting it right is the proverbial ‘big deal.’

Do you think I succeeded?


My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.


Visit my web site to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” by The Authors Show.


I plan to attend the next Rochester Writers’ Fall Conference at Oakland University on Saturday, October 21, 2017.


Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

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5 Responses to “Why Do You Pick Up a Book in the First Place?”

  1. Friday Roundup | Stevie Turner, Indie Author. Says:

    […] https://rlherron.com/2017/05/30/why-do-you-pick-up-a-book-in-the-first-place/ […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don Massenzio Says:

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Why do readers select books? Check out this post from the Painting with Light blog to get some insight.

    Liked by 1 person

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