Is your Blurb boring? Add visual impact

visual impact for blurbs


When potential readers look at your book on Amazon, does the blurb have impact?

Or do they ignore it because it looks boring?

If so, this is the blog for you — how to fill out that description box on KDP to give your blurb visual impact.

 Your Blurb Text

This guide is not about how to write your blurb text. You’re a writer. It’s what you do, isn’t it?

“True,” you reply, grimacing, “but I write novels, not 80-word blurbs. Blurb-writing is hell on wheels.”  Most writers would sympathise, so here’s a link to an excellent blog about writing back cover blurb by K J Charles who is both an accomplished writer and a professional editor.

For this blog, I’m concentrating on how to give your wonderful blurb visual impact.

Among other advice in the K J Charles blog is: “keep it short”. When potential buyers see your book on Amazon, they normally see only the start of your blurb. Unless your opening lines have visual impact, readers may not click to read the rest. And if they don’t read your blurb, they probably won’t buy your book, either.

Visual impact catches readers eye

Catching the reader’s eye matters

Adding Visual Impact with HTML Codes : A Worked Example

For a How To guide like this, we need a real-life example.

I’m going to put my head on the block with the blurb for my recently-published novella, His Silken Seduction. The blurb proper is 72 words long. I added another 17 words to warn readers that a shorter edition had been published before. Total: 89 words. Not too bad for length.

Most self-published authors simply put some of their blurb text into ALL CAPS and add a few line breaks. Then they breathe a sigh of relief that the blurb is done and hope for the best.

i tried that. My blurb looked something like this:
blurb without impact

It doesn’t have much visual impact and, frankly, it looks pretty amateurish. It’s a missed opportunity and it’s easy to do better.

html adds impact to blurbs
The secret is to add HTML codes in the KDP description box to give your blurb visual impact.


No, I don’t do HTML coding, either.

So what did I do
and how did I do it?

I took the boxed text and put it into KDP with simple codes for header (<h3> </h3>) and italic (<em> </em>). I also added line breaks to get the layout I wanted. The box below shows you how I typed my text in. I could have used bold as well (<strong> </strong>) but I didn’t need to. htkl codes add blurb impact


And it worked! There’s a screenshot below of my text on the Amazon book page. impact blurb for His Silken Seduction


If you’re worried about how HTML codes work, then go to

It’s very easy to use. Type your blurb text into the top window and then highlight and format it as you want it. The results will appear in the lower window. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. Just keep trying.

Once your blurb has the impact you want, copy the full HTML text from the top window into a word document, so you have it for reference and you know exactly what the codes are and where they go. Then go to KDP and fill in the description box with your text and HTML codes.

And Publish!

publish for impact blurb

It will take a few hours for your blurb to go live. Check that it’s come out as you intended. If not, go back into KDP and change it. I had to have about 4 goes to get the final formatting above because I didn’t get the line breaks right, so there’s a degree of trial and error the first time you do this. (If you’d like a two-page note on what I did, including how to avoid my mistakes, email me via the contact page.)

I think it was worth the effort. And I hope this visual impact guide is useful. I also apologise to all those writers for whom all this stuff is old hat. (But they didn’t read this far, did they?)


13 thoughts on “Is your Blurb boring? Add visual impact

  1. rosgemmell

    That’s brilliant advice – many thanks for this! Funnily enough, I was just learning about putting HTML code on my links when leaving comments on the Exquisite Quills blog.

  2. christinahollis

    Thanks, Joanna. That’s not only useful information, but it’s presented in a way that’s easy to understand. Including the worked example is a great help.

    1. Joanna Post author

      This is now my third attempt to reply to Elizabeth! WordPress does NOT love me tonight.

      I was trying to say that my eyes used to glaze over too, at the thought of HTML, but actually it’s just a question of adding the odd starting and ending code and then the magic happens. So it’s worth a try and I hope you’re successful.

  3. Carol Townend

    Thanks, Joanna, that is helpful. I found that blurbs show up differently when you look at them via a computer or via Kindle. It seems to be hard to get them to be consistent!

    1. Joanna Post author

      You’re right about kindle vs computer. You just have to do your best, I’m afraid. It helps not to add line breaks except where you really want them. They then reflow to suit the kindle, or whatever. At least, that’s the theory.

  4. Joanna Post author

    Glad you found it helpful, Ros and Christina, and Elizabeth. There will be more writing tips on the blog from time to time. We even plan to do a blog on how to WRITE blurbs, but only if we find something useful to add to the K J Charles piece which is very good indeed.

  5. helenajust

    As I was reading your blurb I thought: “This sounds familiar”. Of course it is — I’ve read your book!

    I have to confess that I never read blurbs because they contain spoilers. I suspect that it’s impossible to avoid that, because by their nature blurbs have to give information about books, but I like the plot to be revealed gradually as I read the book itself. I choose books by reading the first page (unless it’s an author who I auto buy).

    1. Joanna Post author

      I share your concern about potential spoilers, Helenajust. It’s a difficult balance in blurbs which a lot of potential readers do read. Blurbs have to include enough material to intrigue and attract the reader, but not so much that they give away key parts of the plot. Very, very hard to do.

      If Sophie and I do eventually do a blog about writing blurbs, that will be one of the key issues, I think.

  6. Katy Haye

    This is fabulous stuff! I’ve just created a beyootiful blurb (nerdy, I know) – but I can’t get it onto kdp, it tells me I’ve got unexpected code – any tips on getting to the right place to put the information in with the code?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Nerdy? Well, yes, I suppose. But nerdy can be satisfying too.

      I’ve emailed you the 2-page doc that I did on this, which has more info about the codes and what KDP likes/dislikes. Basically, you don’t do paragraph codes (the p ones) in the KDP description box where carriage returns work as they do in word processing. I didn’t do any really nerdy codes so it may be that they don’t work in KDP either. I guess you may have to do trial and error, putting in simple codes first, then trying to add more fancy ones, one by one, and seeing what KDP will and won’t accept.

      Do let me know what works, Katy. Could be useful for me, and others, in the future.

  7. Katy Haye

    Oh my, it’s worked and looks lurvely! Check out:

    Key points: DO NOT add a paragraph return after using a heading because you’ll have too much space (you mention this in your document) – it looks cramped when you input it, but perfect when it’s live. And I thought Heading 2 looked too big on the html builder, so I used H3, but it barely showed up on Amazon. Stick with Heading 2, or add bold (by using strong and /strong).

    I’m not sure whether this will clinch a sale, but it looks very professional and slick which can only be a good thing. Thanks for the blog, Joanna, I’d never have thought of doing this myself!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am beaming here, Katy. Your blurb looks great and I’m so pleased that my blog helped you do it.

      BTW, I had to do a minor edit on your comment. If you quote the HTML instructions in angle brackets, WordPress implements them and they don’t appear! So I took out the angle brackets.

      If anyone else wants my detailed doc on how to do blurb HTML in KDP, just email from the contact page and you too can do a blurb as classy as Katy’s!!!

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