Friday, February 8, 2019

Writing a Great Book Description

Three things are critical to your success as an indie publisher: the book, the cover, and the blurb. Last week, I posted information I found about cover design. This week I found some good articles about book descriptions. As I said in my presentation at the Elgin Literary Festival, I believe that authors should not write their book’s description. Authors tend to write descriptions that describe the book, not sell the book. So, given we all don’t know a copywriter, or have the funds to hire one, how can we write a better description, one that compels the potential reader to buy the book?

I found three articles that address this issue. From the first two articles (a part 1 and part 2 setup):
"There’s a common bit of advice that authors need to “grab readers by the throat” with the first paragraph. 
I fear writers who take that long are already struggling to play catch up. 
For me, as a reader and now as a publisher, more important to me than first paragraphs are titles and book descriptions. 
It used to be that readers would browse books and pick one up based on a title. They might look at a cover, but after the title, most readers checked either the inner dust jacket (remember those?) or the back cover of the paperback (remember those?). 
Nowadays there’s no such browsing. You get thumbnails and titles, and then a book description, all while that “Buy Now” button hovers so prominently as to be rarely seen at all until you need to click."
The examples he cites in the article are very long descriptions; perhaps descriptions don’t need to be short anymore. I think people are now so used to scrolling that the “keep everything above the fold” advice no longer applies. (KM)
"You DON’T want to give away major plot points. You DON’T want to reveal twists that are going to dig your hook deeper into your readers to ensure the HAVE TO keep turning pages. 
But you do want to allude to them.

You don’t want to give away the ending of your book, or even major plot points. What you DO want to do is two-fold: indicate what’s at stake and why it matters, because that’s where the emotions come from. You don’t want to tell your readers what obstacles your character needs to overcome and how they’ll do so; what your character is trying to achieve that those obstacles are in the way of, and why those achievements matter to your character."
Read both articles: Part 1 and Part 2.

I also came across this great article on the Draft2Digital site. As my blog readers know, I recently put one of my books on Draft2Digital to test the process. It worked great. No sales yet, but without advertising (or a decent book description, do as I say, not as I do), that isn't a big surprise.

From that article:
"You may call it a ‘blurb’ or ‘back cover copy’ or ‘all that text I have to paste into my book page.’ Whatever your name for it, you can’t afford to ignore it. After your cover, the product description of your book is the first experience the reader has with you as an author. So getting it right is the proverbial ‘big deal.’ 
Most book descriptions have less to do with the story of the book, and more to do with the story of the reader. Tell the reader about the journey they're going to take, rather than trying to create a shorthand or synopsis of your book. 
People forget this all the time, but you have to remember that you're writing marketing material, not a short story. And you always have to ask for what you want.
It's a psychological trigger."
Also, the online book description is what really matters, not what is on the back of the book. Since so few indie published books end up in bookstores, the back of the book could be blank! The online description can change as often as needed. It is now what sells the book in our digital age! (KM)

Read the entirety of this great article.

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