One of the useful aspects of being registered as a KDP publisher is that every now and then you get sent the KDP newsletter and are invited to read some very useful articles. This week was no exception and one of the topics covered was the extremely important ‘how to write an effective book description’.
Why it is so important, actually critical, to write a good book description is because the description should be more accurately named ‘my best chance to sell my book’. It is your primary advert and the main opportunity you will get to hook a potential reader and customer. It can mean the difference between your book languishing inconspicuously among the crowded shelves or really standing out as a book that a buyer might want to read, put on their wish list or even better in their shopping basket.
It is for this reason that many authors might struggle to write a good description. They often don’t regard it as an advert, but as an extension to their writing prowess. The two need to be divorced, what is written in the book is one thing and what is written to sell the book is another.
As most marketers will know, a good advert is one that grabs the attention in a simple concise move that leaves the observer wanting more. And of course, with books, the way to find out more is to open the cover and read the book; step 1 on the route to a sale.
What are the elements that contribute to a good book description?
- Keep it simple, don’t try and tell the whole story just keep to the main plot and don’t be tempted to get into the ‘if and then’ scenarios. Concentrate on the key focus of the book and try to make sure the description makes an impact.
- Less is more, bearing in mind that the objective is to carry your potential client swiftly to the ‘cover opening point’ (or ‘Look Inside’ on Amazon). Give them too much to read and too much of the story and you may lose them before they decide to open the cover. Keeping the description short and punchy is more likely to leave them wanting more.
- Tell the your viewer about the story as though you were sitting in a bar having a chat to a friend and they want to know how much you enjoyed the story. Remembering that you are describing it in the third person and you are doing it right now.
- Provide a smattering of power words that are compelling and highlight the depth of emotions felt, the danger present or the potential rewards.
- Read the descriptions of the best sellers in your genre and see what you can adopt and modify for your own book, especially those parts that act as the hook. If you see a few words that make you think ‘wow’ I want to find out more about this, they are the hooks, the decision maker words that will take the reader to that next step.
To visit the full article on how to write an effective book description go to the CreatSpace page.
What about the search engines?
Something that many authors, or publishers for that matter, will fail to consider are the search engines. Amazon for example is a powerful player on the Internet and as a consequence pages they publish often get returned by search engines for relevant inquiries. This is especially true of reference books that discuss serious topics. But it can also be true of non-reference books and novels.
Clearly Fifty Shades of Grey is a bit of an obvious example to use. But you can see that just typing ‘shade of grey’ gave a second place for Amazon in the search results even before I had selected an option to go with.
But believe it or not, the same can be true of other less well known examples. And what you should also note is that the highlighted Shades of Grey in the snippet below the title will either have come from the book title or the book description. In this example it was the title, but it could just have easily been the description.
Google (or any other search engine used) decide exactly what goes in the snippet from the relevant text available and will clearly try and match the search with the result they list. This is to show that the result returned is truly related to the search being made.
To get to the point then, if you include some words in your description that are searched on and are relevant to your book topic or genre then combine that with the power of sites like Amazon. There is a chance that it could be your book that is sitting at number 2 or 3 in the search results. You can find out a little more about keywords and how they work via this link.
This doesn’t just work for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony and even sites like Smashwords carry a lot of clout with search engines, so if you are publishing a book and writing a description, this is perhaps one more aspect you might want to consider. Again don’t go over the top, identify one or two highly relevant keywords for your book that are frequently searched for and include them in your description. That won’t do any harm at all, as long as you don’t compromise the natural flow of the words and ensure the description still reads well. It is a human audience you need to satisfy, once they view the page, after all.