Think of your book description as the most important sales pitch of your life. Every word must count, every idea must serve to rope readers in. Too often, indie authors fall short and lose readers to a book with better promo copy.

Every book needs a book description – that teaser promo copy you usually see on a book’s back cover. When done effectively, it signals which audience the book is targeting and captures a reader’s interest. A book description is also invaluable for your author website and other marketing and promotion materials.

At BlueInk Review, we see too many self-published authors with book descriptions that fall flat, potentially turning readers and reviewers off before they can give it a chance.

Here are four common mistakes indie authors make with their book description:

1. It goes unedited

It’s incredible how many times we read an excellent book, with every period and comma in place, only to turn to the back cover and find the book description filled with errors and convoluted copy that leaves us scratching our heads. We can only conclude that the author gave the manuscript to a competent editor, but didn’t feel it was necessary – or just completely overlooked the need – for an editor to work on the book description. The moral of story? Give all the copy – promotional copy included – to an editor before publishing.

2. It lists every plot detail

Your book description is meant to be an enticement, in the same way an appetizer is meant to whet your appetite for the meal to come. Too often we see what amounts to the entire meal laid out in the book description: a summary that mentions every plot twist in the book. If readers know everything that’s coming, why would they bother to read the book? Summarize the plot, but don’t give away all your surprises.

3. It doesn’t specify the genre

Is your book a historical fiction thriller? A young adult drama? A memoir? If readers have to guess the genre after reading your book description, it hasn’t done its job. The purpose of a book description is to attract readers who love your kind of book. Without mentioning the genre, you are likely losing your most enthusiastic readers. State the genre up front; don’t be shy. Use the words at the beginning of the description, as in: “This historical fiction novel follows the exploits of….”

4. It’s an afterthought

Writing an effective book description is an art unto itself. It must describe the salient points of the book, including the story’s most enticing elements, all in one or two artful paragraphs and without giving too much away. Think of it as the most important sales pitch of your life. Every word must count, every idea must serve to rope readers in. If you don’t feel comfortable with this kind of writing, hire someone who does to help you.

Image via ShutterStock.com.

 

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Read More
Focus On Your Book’s Back Cover
5 Tips For Crafting A Memorable Book Description
Budget Enough Time (And Patience) For Your Book Promotion
What To Expect From Copy Editing
10 Mistakes A New Author Makes (And How To Avoid Them)

 

BlueInk Review

About BlueInk Review

BlueInk Review has written 8 posts in this blog.

BlueInk Review is a fee-based service that reviews self published books exclusively. Founded by Patricia Moosbrugger, an internationally known literary agent, and Patti Thorn, an award-winning book review editor, BlueInk Review offers honest, objective appraisals penned by professional writers whose bylines have appeared in major publications. Reviews are widely distributed, including to BarnesandNoble.com and Ingram and ProQuest databases (reaching 70,000 booksellers and librarians). Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine (read by 60,000 librarians), Publishing Perspectives (an internationally revered online journal), Goodreads, Twitter. and more.

10 thoughts on “Four Mistakes Indie Authors Make With Their Book Description

  1. Riaz Hassan says:

    Good list of mistakes.. Perhaps another mistake is expecting other people to be interested in the author’s interests.

  2. So true–still working on this.

  3. As a book editor, the other common mistake I see is too much emphasis on the author. Readers buy a book for the plot or content (in the case of nonfiction). They buy it because they think it will be entertaining, informative, interesting, or somehow benefit them. They don’t care who wrote it. Put “about the author” inside or, if you really feel the need to put it on the cover, keep it very short, just a sentence or two.

  4. Alex Rich says:

    You had me at ” It lists every plot detail.” Although I will also invest a bit more time in typo eradication I will make brevity of revealed plot details a primary focus.

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