The dreaded blurb – why is it so hard to write?

I’ve been tearing my hair out over the blurb for my next novel The Secret!


You know – those few lines on the back of the book that explain what it’s all about?

So important.

And so hard to write!

When you’ve spent months or even years writing a novel, how do you condense it into a few lines? That actually make sense? And give an accurate idea of the story without giving too much away?

From talking to other authors I know I’m not alone in this.

For many of us it’s the hardest thing about writing a book.

After all, the blurb is a sales pitch – it can make all the difference between someone choosing your book or someone else’s.


But I’m lucky in that I had the help of a very supportive community of writers and editors at Crooked Cat Books. Iย inflicted an early version of my blurb on them, knowing they’d give me honest feedback.

As you’d expect from a group of 100 authors I got some conflicting advice but the overall message was to go back to the drawing board (or at least the keyboard.)

But at least I had a clearer idea of what I was trying to achieve:

1. Start with a strong, snappy sentence that introduces the situation.

2. Create a sense of who the characters are.

3. Introduce the problem

4. Add the twist

I hope this is helpful to anyone else writing a blurb.

I must thank Joan Livingston in particular for her help. Look out for her mystery Chasing the Case which is released in May and sounds amazing.

My publisher Stephanie Patterson then gave it a final tweak.

Here’s the result – I’d love to know what you think:

Love, Lies, and Betrayal in Wartime Italy

Two girls growing up in Mussoliniโ€™s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences.ย Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War, friendship is tested, and loyalties are divided until a chance encounter changes everything.

Their lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house in their Tuscan mountain village, while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher.

But neither marriage nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as other people’s lives take on a new purpose, Irena finds herself left behind.

Decades later, a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby, whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds among the next generation.

The ebook of The Secret is published on June 1st – you can preorder it on Amazon now on this link.

Please tell me if you do and you’ll be entered into the draw for an Italy related prize.

IMG_6730The paperback is available right now!






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