Five Tips For Writing A Book Description That Isn’t A Bore

book description

The more compelling your book description, the more likely people will click to learn more about what you have written, and the more likely they are to make a purchase.

You’ve written an amazing book. You’ve gone through a thorough editing process. Your book cover has been designed and it looks amazing. You have spent months, even years to get to this point, and you are probably experiencing a combination of elation and exhaustion. Well, take a deep breath and get ready for round two, because now you are ready for the next steps: publishing and promoting your book.

One of the tasks you will take on is writing a description for your book. The more compelling your book description, the more likely people will click to learn more about what you have written, and the more likely they are to make a purchase. These five tips can keep you on target.

1. Write a description that is Internet friendly

Here is a good rule of thumb: Write your book for readers, but write your description for skimmers. Skimmers usually have short attention spans and very little time. This means they want to understand what your book is about as quickly as possible. You can do this by making your description as easy to digest as possible by eschewing large blocks of descriptive text in favor of lists, bullet points, and short meaningful sentences.

2. Use power words to stir emotions

Is there something in your book that will change readers’ lives? Are you exposing a truth that will shock and anger people? Have you written a story that will touch hearts and inspire? Power words are evocative words that get an emotional response. Use the right words and you can tap into the right emotions and motivate your audience to take a closer look at your book.

3. Use your description to show – not tell – readers about your book

Take advantage of your writing skills to write a description that shows your readers what is in store for them if they read your book. If you think your book is clever or funny, share a snippet of dialogue. If you think you have a character that people will love, write a brief description of him.

4. Don’t waste words

If Hemingway were alive today, chances are he would have made a mint selling books on Amazon. This is because he didn’t ramble and he didn’t waste big words. Limit yourself to 175 words or less when you write your description. This will force you to be self-disciplined in your writing and stick to the real selling points of your book. If you can pare your description down even further, to 150 words, your description will be even more compelling.

5. Use testimonials if you have them

If you have done any test marketing, you’ve surely received some positive feedback on your book. Include these positive quotes in your book description. After all, potential readers will be more influenced by the words of a satisfied reader than they will by anything you have to say. If you participate in writers’ communities, and can get another published author’s endorsement, that plug will have even more impact.

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  1. I think it can be really valuable to get feedback on book descriptions to make sure they have the intended impact.

    As writers, we can be a little too close to our own work to be properly objective. What’s effective for us might not be for others.

    One of the best ways to make sure a book description is impactful on real readers is to run tests comparing different descriptions against each other. There’s a cool case study here - – which shows how the book description for Battlefield Earth was rewritten and then a/b tested to get real feedback from readers.

    I think the process could be equally effective in a readers’ group or some other place where relevant fans can offer feedback. Has anyone had experience getting and implementing feedback on their book description?


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