How to source great book blurbs

Book blurbs are highly coveted – they are those short, snappy sentences from other authors, literary critics, or other relevant experts that sing the praises of your book. Some confusion can arise from the fact that “blurb” in publishing is often used to mean both those examples of praise as well as the summary that is featured on the back or interior cover of the book in question. In the case of this article, we are referring to those eye-catching arrangements of praise from others.

Usually featured on the cover or the interior of the book in a few short pages before the dedication and table of contents, these quotes draw the attention of potentially interested readers. They indicate a little bit more about what a reader can expect from your book, and are especially helpful in drawing new readers to your work if your blurbs come from authors they know and enjoy already.

But, how do you acquire these blurbs? Authors don’t write blurbs themselves. In a traditional publishing setting, editors would create a contact list of people whose work is relevant to the book in question, in terms of its similarity or subject matter, or the list would consist of those who have professional relationships or were past collaborators with the author of the book. Copies of the book would then be sent to these authors, or, in some cases, critiques or other experts, who would read and respond with their words of praise. After that, the editor and the author would work together to select and, if necessary, edit sentences to feature as blurbs. All in all, it’s not an easy process – and it would be great to have editorial support like that!

However, as indie and self-published authors, that kind of support might not be possible. So how do you, working solo, get your hands on some fantastic blurbs? We’re here to offer some advice on how to do so.

Reach out to your author friends and contemporaries

Are you friends with a few authors? Or have had a friendly chat with those in your genre? Reach out to them and request a blurb. Since blurbs are traditionally done for free, be polite and patient when it comes to responses. Ask for blurbs well in advance. If you’re a busy author, they are, too! Offer, too, a blurb in kind if that is relevant, or simply reciprocate in the future if they reach out to you for one.

Source blurbs from reviews

Read a really good review of your book? Want to add it to an updated cover or book interior? Contact the reviewer and ask for permission to use a quote from their stellar review. Book bloggers, bookstagram reviewers, and BookTok influencers are all great sources of potential blurbs, but remember: don’t bother these book lovers! If you come across a great review, asking to quote them is totally appropriate, but don’t sit in wait or, worse yet, expect or demand reviews.

If a reader has allowed you to add their quote to your book, great! Ask, too, if the reviewer wants their name used in full, or if they want to be attributed anonymously. Make sure they are okay with their words being featured front and centre on a cover, and if not, ask if the book interior is okay. Always properly attribute them, and make sure they know the extent to which you will be quoting them and their review!

Ask for some words from your advance readers

If you sent copies of your title out to advance or beta readers, as them for blurbs! Even better – if your beta readers are authors themselves, fold this into tip #1. Ask for brief reviews of the book, their thoughts and feelings, too, and if any sentences or phrases stand out, inquire about using them for a book blurb. Even if you don’t want to feature their words on a book cover or interior, using these blurbs in advertising or on social media posts can be a great incentive to other readers.

Reuse a blurb from a previous book (with proper credit of course)

If you received an amazing blurb for a previous publication, there’s nothing wrong with putting that on the cover of the next book; just make sure it’s clear that this blurb was about the other book, not the one it is currently adorning. This is especially useful if the book is part of a series, and the other blurb was attributed to one of the earlier entries in the series.

This interesting history of book blurbs comes with a few tips of its own; be sure to check it out here.

Our last word of advice? Consider this: forgo blurbs altogether! In traditional publishing, blurbs are a must, but as a self-published or indie author, you have more freedom of choice. Let the work speak for itself, and avoid the difficulties of sourcing blurbs and arranging them on the front or back cover. Include blurbs on the book’s product page instead, or have a featured page on your website that covers all the blurbs and other press your book has received. There are many options available to you when it comes how you want your blurbs to be presented!

Finally, soak it all in! It feels great to get good reviews and ample praise from friends, colleagues, and readers alike. Take a moment to savour the hard work of writing and reap the rewards of reading those who genuinely love and enjoyed your work. This will certainly make the task of sourcing, editing, and organizing book blurbs all the easier!


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