Why you need cover blurbs

cover blurbs

You’re browsing in a bookstore or at the library and a book catches your eye. You pick it up and study the cover.

Then what do you do?

If you’re like most, you turn it over to read the book’s description on the back and look for the cover blurbs.

Similarly, when you’ve discovered a book on Amazon that looks interesting, what do you do after reading the description? You probably scroll down to see if there are any blurbs – testimonials – offered under “Editorial Reviews.” You might even use the “inside the book” feature to find them on the back cover or the first few inside pages.

Cover blurbs reassure readers

cover blurb 2

My first cover blurb — check the lower right corner.

Cover blurbs – testimonials and endorsements – from relevant, influential, or important people tell us that the book we’re thinking about buying is a safe purchase. Favorable comments from people we already trust tell us the book is a low-risk investment.

They reassure us.

Testimonials from  people who are well-known and respected in the field or genre can clinch the sale for someone who’s not sure if your book is what they need.

If you’re traditionally published, they can also help get the publisher’s sales and marketing team excited about the book.

What happens if you don’t have one?

Does this mean that a printed back cover without these glowing recommendations will hurt book sales? Or that an e-book without one on the cover is sunk?


Without comments from others, you’ve got more room on that back cover of a printed book for the description. That’s not a bad thing.

Your best combination, though, is a compelling book description plus one, two, or three pithy testimonials about the value your book brings to the reader. You want that book buyer to think that yours is the book that will help them experience the promise of your book. That promise might be fiction’s  entertainment or escapism or nonfiction’s discovery and learning.

Learn how to get them

Cover blurbs are essentially what marketers refer to as “social proof.” They tell us that someone has read the book and liked it.

Isn’t that a message you want to send to readers?

If you need to learn how to get compelling cover blurbs, you’ll want to listen to my workshop at the Nonfiction Master Course virtual conference. My workshop on Thursday, October 27, is on “How to Get Book Blurbs, Endorsements, and Testimonials.” I’ll be sharing my secrets for getting the book blurbs of your dreams, so be prepared to take notes and ask questions.

Do you have a question about how to find and reach the right “blurbers?” Leave them here; I’ll make sure I address them during my workshop. 

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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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8 Responses to Why you need cover blurbs
  1. Rita Toma
    October 19, 2016 | 11:12 am

    There’s mixed feeling about blurbs. I’ve done both and have used a tag line as well.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 19, 2016 | 11:37 am

      How do you feel about them, Rita?


  2. Karen
    October 19, 2016 | 2:00 pm

    Sandy, I’m a debut author (release is May 2017), and if I’ve learned anything about the writing community it’s ASK. I made a list of several influencers and authors and sent a “fan” letter basically…explaining how their work impacted me as a person or their books influenced me as a reader or writer. Then I briefly explained that I am a debut author and asked if they would be willing to review and blurb. I sent approximately 30 emails. Most replied, most declined. But (7) accepted! One is a NY Times bestselling author with over 30 books, some of which are movies, and another is an author who also writes a newspaper column and has a weekly radio spot. I’m a “nobody” living in a small midwestern town, teaching at a high school with a student population of 350. I had nothing to offer except genuine appreciation for their work and/or writing–and a request that seemed absolutely absurd to me! But (7) said yes!So my advice is ASK. 🙂

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 19, 2016 | 3:51 pm

      Karen, your advice is GOLDEN! Thank you!

      I am soooooo glad you approached this task with such intelligence and wisdom, and that you got such a positive response. I’m thrilled for you!

      Thanks for sharing,


  3. Sally De Smet
    October 22, 2016 | 3:08 am

    My book had a lot of psychology and although I did a lot of research, I was nervous. One brave weekend I wrote six psychiatrists, asking if they would read the book. One responded, read the book, loves it, and wrote a testimonial. Always go for it! Nothing to lose!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 22, 2016 | 10:37 am

      That’s great, Sally! I’m sure that made you happy. And your advice to “go for it” is excellent. Thank you for sharing!


  4. David Freeman
    October 26, 2016 | 11:52 am

    We have a wonderful testimonial for our motivational children’s book series from School Administrator/Psychologist/Author, that we have included inside every book. Sounds like our placement was a mistake.

    No one will see the recommendation until AFTER they’ve purchased the book. Note to self: “Move it to the back cover”.

    Back to the edit function. Thanks!


    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 26, 2016 | 12:02 pm

      Dave, I would move it to either the front or back cover, but if it’s on one of the first few pages of the book, people can see it on the “look inside” function on Amazon, at least, right?

      And put it in a prominent position on your website.


      P.S. Been thinking of you…hope you’re hanging in there.

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