November 23, 2023 in 

Blurbs summarize a book, often on its back cover or inside front flap in hardback editions.

A book blurb summarizes any written work, often found on the back cover or inside flaps of hardcover editions. A blurb may also promote non-fiction works like biographies and autobiographies.

Once a book is published, its author or publisher may supply a blurb to be used by booksellers and others in promoting the work. A blurb should be distinct from reviews, which critically assess a work.

Blurbs may provide positive praise of the work they are promoting, yet should not be seen as exhaustive analyses. They serve merely as an overview and should encourage potential readers to read it further.

Not all books include blurbs; some authors prefer not to have one. Sometimes blurbs may even appear without their knowledge or permission being added by publishers/agents/regulators.

Blurbs typically comprise just a few sentences, though sometimes they can extend into paragraphs or pages – occasionally, the blurb may even surpass its subject work, as in author Joe Simpson’s hoax of writing an “extended blurb.”

Simpson wrote an exaggerated fake blurb for his novel Touching the Void that made its intended message clear – anyone reading it knew it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. This description claimed the book was the most incredible mountaineering story ever told and would leave readers breathless with admiration.

Touching the Void became a bestseller thanks to this stunt; later, Simpson admitted he wrote its blurb himself to generate interest for his book.

Though most blurbs are intended to be positive, sometimes negative or critical comments are included to make a point or stir interest in a piece. Sometimes, this tactic is employed intentionally to spark curiosity or make a statement about its subject matter.

Negative reviews or mocking blurbs may result from personal animus between an author and the person writing them; regardless of intent, they may still help promote books if written well and catch reader interest.

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