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What do the Best Book Descriptions Have in Common?

Let’s face it, the best book descriptions are the second greatest selling tool next to the book cover itself. Let’s assume you have an awesome cover, so potential readers search and find your covers. However, when it comes to your book description, it’s bland. Nothing pops out, and the result is a lost customer, perhaps for good.

To entice customers who are already interested in your book since they clicked on your cover image to further view your work, you need to close the sell with an awesome description. If you don’t the resulting consequence is money out of your pocket, and worse, an awesome book with a greater message is hung out to dry.

Don’t be that person. Instead, take the time to write a good description to capture a reader’s attention.

 

What Makes a Good Description

Here are the elements you want in a good description:

1. A headline, but not the title of your book. Something that’s captivating. Let’s use a real-life example: They open a door and enter a world. This is the headline to the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The headline should entice the reader to keep reading.

2. Keywords. Fill your first sentence with one or two of your primary keywords, as this will do wonders in places like Amazon, which is a search engine, after all. In Northern Knights, I use the words ‘new adult’ and ‘urban fantasy’ in my description. Amazon’s search engine now knows due to the keywords and the description that Northern Knights will pop up, somewhere, in such Amazon searches.

3. Give your main character a name, age, and hint at the setting. Despite my many changes to the description, they all started the same: Cain Riscattare is an arrogant college athlete gifted in controlling the five classical elements. The reader knows a) the character, b) his personality, c) his age, and d) his powers. They know off the bat this is a new adult and urban fantasy.

4. You have over 4,000 character space on Amazon, and for your first work, use them, as it’ll allow you to use your seven keywords. In my description, all seven keywords are used, and a few are used multiple times. However, it’s important that you don’t ‘keyword stuff” and use them repeatedly. Search engines these days pick up on and penalize it.

5. Use a lot of white space, so keep your paragraphs small and sentences short. Large paragraphs might scare away readers, and with the book description being the second largest selling point next to the cover, your business can’t afford to scare off customers.

6. Speak in present tense. Only do this with the description unless you naturally write in present tense, and some authors not only do this, but they’re exceptional at it.

7. Include a call to action, like ‘download your copy today,’ or something similar.

8. Use hyperbole. I wouldn’t do this in the book itself unless you have a character who does so, but using it in the description is a good selling point.

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

I’ll be real with you and state that book descriptions take time to perfect and no, you won’t get it right the first time around.

It’s just like writing the book, but what we’re doing is summarizing key points while giving away just enough for the reader to want more.

For instance, like many main characters, Cain has a dark past and backstory, which I mention in the description.

I use words that describe colonial life under Southpoint imperial occupation.

I don’t go overboard, but I give away just enough for a potential reader to state they might want to take a shot at the book and buy it.

If I were you I’d focus on the description for at least a few hours a week, constantly editing and rewriting until you’ve perfected it.

It’s also a good idea to look at how other authors have written theirs in your genre. There are sometimes tens of thousands of books from each genre, so take a look at the best selling works and go from there.

Treat your description like you would the book that you’re writing because in a way, it’s even more important than your book. You have to nail your description if you want any chance at selling your book. Great descriptions can sell average books, but average descriptions won’t sell great books.

Which is why I’ve always believed the greatest book ever written has barely been read and worse yet, none of us will ever read it.

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