Book Descriptions

Writing Powerful Book Descriptions

Amazon says, “Your book descriptions are what customers see as they shop the Kindle store. Think of it like the inside flap of a hardcover book. The book descriptions are a reader’s first experience with the content of your book. A well-written description assures readers that the book itself is of similar quality.”

You’re allowed 2400 characters, about 480 words in your book descriptions, use them wisely. The approved HTML tags are: <b>, <br>, <em>, <font>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6>, <hr>, <i>, <li>, <ol>, <p>, <pre>, <s>, <strike>, <strong>, <sub>, <sup>, <u> and <ul>.

When writing your book descriptions, start with the strap-line or the hook for the story. Imagine you’re talking to someone who asks you, “So, what’s your book about?” Give them the important information. Tell them how the book will make them feel instead of telling them what it’s about. Make it exciting.

Don’t say, “It’s about a guy living on the streets of downtown Denver in the middle of the winter.” Instead say, “You’re homeless, in the middle of a bone-chilling winter. Hungry and broke, not knowing where your next meal is coming from.”

Get to the real meat of the story, right away. Don’t be afraid to be original, your book description may be your only chance to get someone interested in your story. There are literally thousands they can choose from. Let them know why they should spend the time and money on yours.

Next, write your opening paragraph. You have the reader’s interest, now don’t lose them. Give them the main elements of the story. Describe the conflict, the obstacles he has to overcome.

“The country is thrown into a devastating depression. Randall, an unemployed executive, is fighting for his life, trying to claw his way back into a society that has shunned him. Forced to steal to survive, he becomes part of the vicious underbelly taking over the country.”

Now we end it by leaving them with something exciting. Make them wonder what will happen next. “What will Randall do when suddenly faced with a life-or-death situation? Will he be willing, or able, to kill others to survive?” 

Read the descriptions of the successful books in your genre and use them as a guide. There is some disagreement about whether Amazon uses the book descriptions when determining the strength of your keywords.  I think Amazon looks at your description when deciding if the keywords you’ve chosen are “Relevant.” You’ll want to use the seven keywords you’ve chosen in your book descriptions. Amazon will compare them to your description to determine their weight.

I’ll talk about keywords another time. For now, just think of phrases people would use to describe your book. Is it an adventure fantasy, murder mystery, or a short horror story? If so, these keyword phrases should be included in your book descriptions.

Have you much success with your book? What have you done to make it more visible to readers?

About Jim Liston

I write short stories, love to travel, install auto glass, and collect Beatles memorabilia.
This entry was posted in How To, writing tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Book Descriptions

  1. Important information for people planning to publish an eBook at amazon. I will remember your advice. Thanks for sharing this.
    Crischo recently posted…Izamal – Yucatan – Magic City in Yellow Colors – Izamal, MexicoMy Profile

  2. Lenny says:

    Hi Jim! Great article! I have not yet written a book (although I do plan on it), but I do a lot of content writing on various blogs. I have definitely learned the importance of catching you audience immediately. I have had some of my best work go unread for sometime due to an uninteresting title, or ‘blah’ description. It is amazing the difference when you go back and edit them giving them more life! Thanks for the tips, and happy blogging!

    ~Lenny
    Lenny recently posted…Do I Have a Rain Sensor?My Profile

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