By Richard Nolan
When you are facing the task of writing your book description, the most logical thing to do seems just to read the book at then sum it up – prepare its gist and describe your impressions, give your ideas and opinions on various aspects, and then pass your judgment.
No big deal, is it? As a matter of fact, it is.
If you choose to do it this way, then you will get something quite mediocre. Anybody can do that, and you do want your book description to stand out, don’t you?
If you want it to be truly stunning, there are quite a few catches to keep in mind.
Here we have prepared a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to write a great book description to leave your potential reader both informed and entertained.
Step 1. Take a look at your book
If you want your reader to be engaged by your book description, you obviously need to put yourself in a reader’s shoes, which means that you have to begin your acquaintance with the book that you have to describe in the same way that a reader would.
Hold it in your hands, look at the cover, read the short description that you typically can find either at the beginning of the book or on one of the final pages.
These elements will give you an idea of what type of reader the book and is aimed at.
Is it a romantic novel or a detective story? Is it a collectable that will decorate the bookshelf and represent its owner, or is it to be read when you are taking a subway, and give away once you have read it?
Answer these questions, and this will be the starting point of your book description.
Step 2. Scan your book
Before going on to reading the book, it is a good idea to flip through it and pay attention to its structure and the tone of the narration.
How many pages are there? How many chapters? Is it narration-based or dialogue-based? Whose point of view is dominant – the narrator’s or the characters’?
Is the tone more light-hearted or tense? Is it more emotional or fact-based? These conclusions will help you to assume how readable the book is and how well it reaches out to a particular type of reader.
Step 3. Define what you would like to pay attention to while scanning your book
Think about what the future reader will want to know from your book description before they make up their minds as to whether to read the book or not.
These will be your markers as you read the book, instead of just reading it blindly and waiting for some details to strike you as worthy of attention.
For example, how well is the book consumed? Do the chapters move swiftly or can’t you wait for them to end? Then you can move on to some of the most complex matters, such as – what makes this book a classic or what it lacks to become one.
Step 4. Read your book
Now you are all set and ready to move on to reading the book. Remember to take notes and answer the questions that you have set beforehand.
Step 5. Stay focused on creating your book description
While reading the book, you should keep your goal in mind at all time. And your goal is to write a compelling hook. Every impression or emotion that you get during your reading experience needs to be documented in as much detail as possible.
Which parts of the book did you find utterly engaging and which didn’t hold your interest quite so well?
Which characters were likeable and which were not? Did some of them make you fall in love with them or did they ultimately disgust you?
These and similar questions are what you should answer.
Step 6. Proceed to review your book description
Now is the time to answer all those questions that you set earlier. You have already read the book, so now you have to flip back to the places where you know you can find answers to the questions that you want to answer in your text.
It can be a good idea to start by describing the setting of the book, which is commonly conveyed in the first chapter. Focus on what you felt while being introduced to the book.
Then repeat the same procedure with the following chapters or sections.
Try to answer what kept your attention in the book, or what did not. Describe the form and the content and how these interrelate. Explain the purposes of events and characters and how they influence one another.
Step 7. Summing up
Once you have completed the previous steps, this one will be a piece of cake. It is what most people would define as a book description. Find as many common denominators in the book and keep working on it until you have it as brief and clear as you can.
This summing up might also a good idea to put at the beginning of your review.
Step 8. Proceed to your judgment
Now is the time to give your opinion on the book as a whole. Is this book worthy of attention? Is it a good read? Use examples from your previously taken notes to justify your opinion.
You want your book description to be persuasive, and giving specific examples is the best way to achieve such an effect. The more precise your examples are, the more powerful your book description will be.
Step 9. Explain your book’s place
Mention the genre and evaluate the book’s originality. Is it a debut title or is it part of a series? Also, put the book in context – what place does it hold in its niche and how well does it stand there?
This step can be an easy one but might demand a little research.
Step 10. Revisit your description
After completing all the previous steps, you have now come up with a draft of your book description. Read it to see if you have covered everything you intended to and that nothing of importance is left out.
Once again, think about your potential reader. Is your text going to hook a potential reader?
Think about who will potentially be reading it – is it a general audience or a defined demographic? Consider adding or removing some details.
Congratulations! Once you have completed these ten steps your stunning book description is ready.
Richard Nolan is a blogger and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of blogging, self-growth, and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers, students, and teachers. Currently, Richard works as a general editor for ProWritersCenter. You can learn more about Richard on Facebook and Twitter.