To blurb or not to blurb… that was my publisher’s question

For me, the most difficult part of writing any book is the blurb.

It can also be the most important… certainly from a marketing point of view.

Terry Davies painted by Andrew Vicari

While ─ rightly or wrongly ─ many people choose whether or not to buy a book based upon the cover the more discerning with turn it over and read the blurb.

Often the publisher will take responsibility for the blurb, as with the cover, but in the case of The Terry Davies Story my editor handed it back to me reasoning no one knows the book better than the author.

Thanks for the pressure!

Of course if you self-publish you will have no choice and it is an area that many people do not pay enough attention.

For what it’s worth here are some of my top tips when writing a blurb:

* Less is more. You have already written a book don’t try to retell it!

* Pull them in. Your blurb is as vital as that opening sentence if it doesn’t intrigue it will end up back on the shelf.

* Check for mistakes! Just one spelling mistake or grammatical error can leave your reputation in tatters; a book’s cover is, after all, its shop window.

* Read it back to yourself out loud. Lyrical is far better than clunky.

* Check out the competition. You have probably read hundreds in your time but go back and read with an analytical eye.

* If fiction don’t give too much away!

Here’s a draft of my efforts for The Terry Davies Story… come back after you buy the book to see how much my editor liked it! (Personally I think it’s too long).

The post-war period saw top rugby players in Wales achieve the kind of fame once associated with Hollywood movie stars and few captured the headlines more often than Terry Davies. The boy from Bynea, who combined the good looks of a young Robert Redford with silky skills and tough as teak tackling, went on to wow crowds across the rugby playing world through his displays for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

The Terry Davies Story ─ the often hilarious tale of a typical working class upbringing and coming of age with the Royal Marines before finding glory on the rugby field ─ is as much a social commentary as a fascinating insight into the heydays of amateurism.

From the highs of touring New Zealand and beating the All Blacks in their own backyard to the lows of a career-threatening shoulder injury, his rugby journey, which began as a nervous 17-year-old one rainy day up in Ebbw Vale and ended with universal acclaim, is real Roy of the Rovers stuff.