Pro-Review Writing Tips! | II: Book Description

Last week, I wrote about the writing process of book reviews. This week is writing a book description!

It’s worth saying that not everybody puts a book description in if they choose to write a book review. Some people like to incorporate it into their review part way through, and some, like me sometimes, copy and paste from Goodreads or Amazon. 

First thing in this ~process~, I would decide how you want your book descriptions to be. I like to have a paragraph or so which could easily just be a little blurb on the back. You could simply have a one-lined description, or none at all. All are fine! (*Side note: if I’m posting the review on Goodreads, I never usually put in the description as well, as it’s on the page, and I always skip over them if I’m reading reviews. Just a little tip 🙂 *)

I do read the blurb of a book before I decide to write my own description; sometimes I take singular lines from them, and then fill in my own around it, as it were. Whatever makes it easier for you, but I would recommend trying it, especially if you’re new to writing book descriptions. It’ll give you a good ‘ole idea of how to write one.

Let’s write a description together (it’ll help me describe the process, and hopefully you to understand it!). I’ve picked A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, as the blurb I used in my review was from Goodreads.

I always have a little think about the main points I want to write about (REMEMBER: DO NOT PUT IN SPOILERS! Your readers will not be happy). So, in AQKOT, Steffi, the main character, is selective mute, and Rhys, the secondary main character, is deaf, and these are the factors that bring them together: the first turning point in the novel, as it were. Brilliant: we have the first line.

  • Steffi and Rhys begin to get closer,
  • …despite Steffi’s social anxiety and Rhys being at a hearing school.
  • They find ways to communicate, despite their barriers…
  • …and, despite being the most predictable plot in the entire YA world, we’re wandering steadily into spoiler territory (which, as you saw in my big REMINDER parenthesis, is not a good idea).
  • However, you can put in a little bit of spoiler-y vagueness. This is, of course, what entices readers in – they like to know a little about what could be the potential climax of the novel.

So there we go. We have the opening and the start of the build up to the novel mapped out. This is, of course, the stuff that entices readers, so it’s what you should put into your description. From here, now you have the bullet points, you can use a little bit of filler (just some fluffy stuff to bulk it out!) to make it into a neato book description to header or finish(er) your review. Example:

Steffi is selective mute. Rhys is Deaf. Put together at a hearing and talking school, they begin to get closer, finding ways to communicate outside of their barriers until Steffi feels like she might be falling in love… Throughout A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER, Steffi and Rhys fit together in a world that shuts them out, and find each other through all of the difficulties they experience. Love isn’t always a flash of lightning; sometimes, it’s a quiet roll of thunder.

Yeah, I also stole the tagline of the book.

So there you have it! My super-quick and (hopefully) super-helpful guide to writing book descriptions. Some last things, before I completely sign off:

  • …you don’t always have to write a description, so don’t feel pressured. People can google the book if they’re interested, but for “big” novels like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, people aren’t reading the review to know if they’re interested, but to see what your thoughts were. They know the basic plot before reading!
  • …all else fails, don’t be ashamed to use Goodreads. I, and a lot of other reviewers, do it all the time.
  • …don’t be afraid to use short descriptions rather than a couple of paragraphs about the book. A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a YA novel, with a fairly stereotypical story line (also it’s great, check out my review here <3)  so people already kind of have an idea of what to expect.
  • …on the other hand, don’t be afraid to write a paragraph or two or three! Just remember: no spoilers. And if you’re doing opinions in a description, you could always keep that for the review.

Finally: set out your description how you like. I like to italicise mine, and that’s it, but you could block-quote yours, italic and/or embolden, or chuck it in at the end. Whatever sails your ship.

I hope that this was enjoyable and helpful! Tell me: do you write book descriptions? 🙂

(*Psst: next week: final hints and tips! Stay tuned <3)


4 thoughts on “Pro-Review Writing Tips! | II: Book Description

  1. Yay, another really good post! I’m still a really big fan of writing descriptions yourself and making them sound quite casual. Yours is really good and sounds like an actual blurb, but I usually just explain the premise in my review. 😛

  2. I like to have a description in the reviews I read – especially in discovering new books to read, even if they are copy and pasted from Goodreads or Amazon, because I get to compare critique in the review with the summary and decide if I want to purchase the book or not without having to click to other websites to find out more information. If you copy and paste a summary or blurb, there’s no need to write one yourself, but if you write your own, I find it helpful in a different section to the review, of in a different font to be easily identifiable.

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