Learning how to write a book description is a skill.
You know your book needs a great title and an eye-catching cover design.
But if you want to sell your book, a good book description is always the third essential ingredient.
You might have written a great book. But you have to attract the attention of potential readers to sell it.
How do people buy books?
What does a book buyer do when they are looking for a new book?
Think about someone in a bookstore.
First is the attraction of a book cover or the title. It could also be the author’s name.
When a buyer finds a potentially interesting book, they pick it up and turn it over to read the description or book blurb on the back cover.
If it hooks the buyer’s interest, they might then read the first few paragraphs of chapter one.
For an online shopper, the process is quite similar.
They might go directly to the list of bestselling books.
But like in a bookstore, they often go directly to their preferred genre or use search to start their selection.
From there, it is the book cover and title that initially attracts a reader’s attention.
Once they click on a book that looks promising, they then read the book blurb.
The process often takes only a few seconds.
If it hooks the reader, they will then probably read the first few paragraphs of the preview.
When you sit down to write your book description, always remember how little time you have to grab a book buyer’s attention.
You need a hook and to bait it
You will never catch a fish without bait on a hook.
The same applies when trying to attract a reader.
Because you have so little time, your first seven to ten words have to lure your reader instantly.
A good word to avoid in the first line is this. I’m sure you’ve seen opening sentences like the following many times.
This book will help you manage stress.
This is an essential guide on how to write a book.
Apart from being bland, using this always needs three wasted words to start a sentence.
A much better way is to create an open loop with a short sentence or question.
Or in other words, state the problem, question, or theme that your book is about, but don’t give away the solution or resolution.
Take a deep breath, calm down, and we’ll get rid of your stress.
Are you ready to bury the past and create a brand new you?
It might seem easier for a nonfiction book, but you can start fiction book descriptions with the same technique.
A terrifying scream, a gunshot, and then, silence.
Samantha finally met Mr. Right. What could possibly go wrong?
There is no recipe or formula for your opening line, except that you want to attract instant attention.
Give reasons why
When you write the body of your text, always keep in mind that you are not summarising your book or story.
You are writing about the reasons why a reader should buy your book.
It’s like a call to action, and the action you want is for the reader to buy your book.
Social proof terms are common, such as, by New York Times bestselling author, or award-winning author.
But if you are not in that league, you can assert your credentials as a self-help author or your incredible imagination as a fiction writer.
For nonfiction, state what readers will learn, or the problems that you will solve for them.
For fiction, create some mystery and intrigue or hint at the emotional journey in your story.
With every sentence you write, keep asking yourself, is this a good reason to buy my book?
Formatting your descriptions
Just as a lot of thought goes into the typography of the back blurb on a book, you need to do the same online.
For an Amazon book description, you can format it and add headings, bold fonts, italics, and bullet points.
If you aren’t sure how to use HTML code to do all this, there is an easier way.
You can use the free Book Description Generator from Kindlepreneur to perfectly format your description.
It’s a Wysiwyg text editor, so it is very easy to use.
You can also generate your formatted description for Barnes & Noble and Kobo, as well as add editorial reviews to your Amazon book page.
Book description examples
We are talking about promoting your book. So what better way to start than to use a nonfiction book about writing a book.
The following description is for Become An Author In 29 Days by Steven Tully.
It has all the best elements, including a great hook line, reasons to buy plus social proof.
There’s A Great Book Inside Of You…Let’s Get It Out.
I know you’ve got an amazing story to tell – and a book screaming to be published.
I also know that you’ve got some psychological blocks to doing the work, doubts about sharing your writing with the world, and worries about how long the whole process is going to take or how much it’ll cost.
I know because I’ve been there. Every author has been there.
Becoming an author isn’t as difficult or daunting as it may seem at first. And thanks to the publishing world opening up via Amazon.com, ordinary people like me and you can achieve what countless writers never could – and proudly hold our own published book in our hands.
Become An Author In 29 Days: The No-Nonsense Guide To Writing & Self-Publishing Your First Non-Fiction Book will improve your writing skills, supercharge your productivity levels, and walk you through each step of the publishing process.
I’m Steven Tully, an author who has successfully self-published 10 books over the past three years, and I now work as a full-time independent author.
Here is an example of a great description promoting a fiction book.
Again, it has a bold headline and contains all the essential components that create rapid reader interest and intrigue.
The book is The Sky Thieves by Jason Kasper.
For former FBI-agent-turned-thief Blair Morgan, the world’s most unbreakable vault is her most irresistible target.
Blair Morgan has embraced her second career—as an elite thief.
Her heist crew has set their sights on their latest target: the Sierra Diamond, an 872-carat stone worth $27.3 million. It will be encased in a new vault known as the Sky Safe, a revolutionary strong room built into the side of a Los Angeles high rise.
The FBI says the Sky Safe is impenetrable. Naturally, Blair and her crew think otherwise…and if they succeed, it will be the greatest heist ever pulled.
But Blair’s corrupt former boss at the FBI has other plans. He knows Blair will be coming for the diamond and intends to catch her in the act…along with her entire team.
As a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse unfolds over the streets of downtown LA, Blair must go head-to-head against the most cunning adversary from her past—or see herself and her crew imprisoned forever.
While this might be a great book to read, you can see the problems with the following description.
It is unformatted, and the opening line is far from compelling.
It also summarizes the book and then almost gives away the end of the story.
This is the life story of a little girl who lived in a tar-paper covered house in the woods. After experiencing her mother’s death at the early age of 9, and with her father sinking deeper and deeper into depression and the bottle, this naïve little girl had to navigate the complicated world ahead of her.
So naïve and trusting she stumbled many times, but she had three things that brought her through and those were her faith in God, love for her children and sheer determination. God saved her from danger and many poor decisions as she navigated the giant ocean of life from a tiny raft. Her trust in God and love for her children drove her to succeed and become much more than her humble beginnings.
A lot of new authors don’t realize that when they add their book details at the time of publishing, it is all unformatted text.
You should always to add HTML tags, or use a text generator.
Get your book description working for you
Your book cover and description are the two primary marketing hooks that attract and engage potential book buyers.
Most self-published authors have learned to produce or buy quality book covers. But some fail to appreciate the importance of their book’s description.
Many seem to have been written quickly at the time of publishing with little or no thought.
A well-written book description should be around 300 words long or even a little longer.
You should give a lot of thought to how it will attract and engage readers.
Another important factor is to include keywords that are relevant to the story within the first 160 characters or about 15 words of the description.
Why is this so important?
It’s because search engines will index a book’s description with the title as the heading and then the first 160 characters as the description.
This enables people to find your book on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
While this will make the book description on, say Amazon and Kindle more discoverable, it leads to a second conclusion.
If you use the same description for a book on every site where it is published, listed, or mentioned, search engines will not usually add more search links, as the content is the same.
It opens the door to an opportunity, however.
Have more than one book description
When you have several book descriptions, using different keywords in the first sentence or two, you will give a book a far better chance of gaining more indexing.
You want to get more exposure from search or organic traffic because it means many more opportunities to sell more books.
If you use a different version of a book’s description on Amazon, Smashwords, your author’s blog, website, and Facebook Page, this should result in additional search engine listings for your book.
Find more sites to add different book description versions.
Lo0k for book-related social media platforms, book bloggers, or wherever an opportunity arises. It can only increase the promotional and marketing chances for your book.
Your book description needs to work for you
Make your book description work for you and never underestimate its power in hooking a potential book buyer.
Many advice sites on the Internet offer ideas and tips related to writing an excellent book blurb. Do a Google search on writing a book blurb to get some ideas.
At the same time, don’t forget about the power of search engine listings in increasing your book sales.
Spend time on researching and collecting a list of about fifty single and long-tail keywords that relate to the story.
They will help you attract more organic traffic. Then write each new book description version around two or three keywords.
There is no secret formula, and every author will have a different take on how to write a book description.
However, there is one fact that is certain. You only have a few seconds to win over a book buyer.
When you focus on this truth, it will clarify your thinking and make you analyze every single word you use.
If you have a great cover, but you are not getting many sales, it could be your book description that is causing the problem.
Consider rewriting and formatting it to make it more intriguing, compelling, convincing, and to add more proof that your book is worth reading.
Is it time to give some more thought to your book description?