PublishHER Podcast Episode 91: Book Blurb Magic with Jessie Cunniffe

PublishHER Podcast Episode 91: Book Blurb Magic with Jessie Cunniffe

Jessie Cunniffe is a professional blurb-writer and book blurb coach from Sydney, Australia, and she's passionate about demystifying blurbs for self-publishing authors so they can take charge of their book description and sales! She offers an affordable DIY course, Book Blurb Magic, as well as 1:1 blurb critique and custom blurb writing services. 

With a knack for uncovering hidden truths, Jessie Cunniffe made an unexpected discovery – the true power behind captivating book blurbs isn't the plot, but the characters' emotions and unique circumstances. Join us as Alexa talks to Jessie about her journey to unlock the secrets of blurb writing and empower authors to craft irresistibly engaging back cover descriptions. What will she uncover next?

I always try to find the essence, the key message of the book, and actually frame the entire blurb around that. – Jessie Cunniffe

This is Jessie Cunniffe's story:

Determined to make a difference in the world of book marketing, Jessie Cunniffe embarked on a mission to unlock the secrets of writing tantalizing blurbs. Through tireless research and careful examination, Jessie found that the key to a successful blurb lay not in the story's plot, but in the emotional connection between the characters and their unique circumstances. Armed with this newfound knowledge, Jessie developed a formula to help authors perfect their blurbs, capturing the hearts and minds of their readers. Now, Jessie shares her passion for blurb writing, empowering authors to create impactful back cover descriptions that resonate with their audience and propel them on a journey they'll never forget.


After this episode, you will be able to:

  • Uncover the crucial role of book blurbs in successful marketing campaigns.
  • Conjure captivating blurbs for novels, memoirs, and reference books alike.
  • Master techniques for drafting compelling, thumb-stopping book blurbs.
  • Identify usual missteps authors might commit when writing their book blurbs.
  • Capitalize on social media channels to bolster book promotion and foster networking.


The Three-Paragraph Structure

 A well-structured blurb is crucial for maintaining your reader's interest, and a common approach is the three-paragraph structure. The first paragraph sets the context and introduces the characters, the second paragraph delves deeper into the character development and conflict, and the third paragraph raises the stakes, creating a sense of urgency for the reader. This structure allows for a concise and engaging blurb that maintains momentum and draws the reader into the story. Each paragraph plays an important role in context, character development, and raising the stakes. 

Key Takeaways

  • Start with a hook: Write a single sentence or two that captures the crux of your book and its main conflict.
  • Use third-person POV: Most book blurbs are written in third person, which is easier to convey your story.
  • Focus on emotion and characters: The driving force of your blurb should be the unique emotions and circumstances your characters are experiencing.
  • Establish the character's greatest challenge: Begin the blurb by setting up the theme or challenge that has followed your character throughout their life.
  • Create a satisfying narrative arc within the blurb: Provide a beginning, middle, and end that differs from the actual book's narrative to avoid spoilers and keep readers engaged.

Memorable Moments:

00:03:09 – Why are blurbs difficult to write?,
Jessie shares that many authors struggle with writing blurbs because they approach it as condensing the plot of their book. She emphasizes that the emotion, unique characters, and circumstances that they face are what truly drive a book blurb.

00:09:34 – How to write a book blurb,
Jessie explains that the starting point of a book blurb is to find the essence or critical character flaw of the main character. She also advises writers to find a narrative arc within the blurb that is satisfying without giving away spoilers. Jessie provides a free cheat sheet on that outlines the pieces of the puzzle needed for a book blurb. 

Learn more at:

Check out Book Blurb Magic course!

Check out her Book Blurb audit program!

Want a custom written book blurb? Check that out here.

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