Positive Writer

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5 Tips on How to Write The Best Book Description Ever

Why is it so hard to write your book’s description?

If a friend were to ask us to write her book description we’d do it in a heartbeat and it would be a darned good description. Right?

There’s a good reason why most of us have such difficulty writing our own.

Photo Cred: Dreamstime

Photo Cred: Dreamstime

I’ve tried for months to write the description for my new book “Happy Every Day“, but for each version I write, I feel as though I didn’t say enough or I said too much.

Alas, this is normal.

The reality is the author is not usually the best person to write their own book’s description. As the author it’s difficult because we are too close to our own work.

A few authors can do it very well, by stepping away and detaching themselves to write a brief and clear description, hitting on all the necessary points and not go too far.

Through trial and error, I’ve learned a few things, such as:

How to Write The Best Book Description Ever

My book is non-fiction.

1) Hook the reader in the first sentence: Make the first sentence a standout headline that not only sums up the book enticingly and very quickly, but also compels the reader to read the rest of the description.

2) Make the description personal, clearly explain why anyone interested in this type of book needs to read it.

3) Create an emotional connection by describing how the book will make the potential reader feel after reading it or after putting to use the tips it provides.

4) Detail what the reader will get out of the book – what’s in it for the potential reader? If he or she is unhappy, will it make him or her happier than ever before? If so, why? Because the tips are practicable, doable and instantly useable? What else? List the benefits.

5) How? For example, everyone wants to be happy, so how does “Happy Every Day” achieve that goal?

As you can see there’s a lot to consider and yet, most of us do this without thinking about it when we write a review on Amazon for a book we love.

We go to the Amazon page of the book we just read, write a compelling headline in the subject field (because, admit it, we want people to read our reviews), and then we write what we thought of the book, usually hitting on the above 5 points without even considering that we are doing so.

Sounds easy. Unless it’s your own book.

So then what? Well, you can hire someone, or ask a good writer friend to write it, or maybe you do as I have and create a writing contest (over).

If you really want to write your own book’s description, then it’s a good idea to practice writing book descriptions or reviews for other authors and see how enticing you can make them.

What tips would you add to the 5 above for writing the best book description ever? Share in the comments.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins
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  • kathunsworth

    Great list Bryan I also think it is a good idea to know who your target audience is. Research needs, wants and aspirations. This way you can write in a way that resonates to that group. Loved these points and post. Just down loaded your book and look forward to reading it soon.

    • Excellent point! And the good thing about your point is that most likely you’ve already done this either before or during the actual writing of the book. It’s valuable to go back over those notes and remind yourself why you wrote your book in the first place.

      Great tip!

      Bryan

  • I wrote my own book descriptions. My strategy was to create something like I would imagine an elevator pitch for a film to be. I kept it short, simple, and only focused on the key elements of the story.

    • Cool, Dan. I’ve got a few versions, but I think I’m just too picky when describing my own stuff. I know there are authors out there like you who are pretty good at it. Short, simple, and only focused on key elements is an excellent guideline. I recently discovered, though, that Google only crawls 500 words or more descriptions on Amazon. I’m going to look more into that and if it is even all that important. What do you think?

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  • Sue Noye Clark

    Thanks for your tips on writing book descriptions. I think writing a blurb/synopsis etc is ten times worse than writing the actual book!
    I like the idea of practicing writing descriptions about other books – perhaps I’ll have a rummage through my bookshelves and have a go….
    A few tips I’ve picked up along the way:
    Don’t include subplots – just stick to the main theme of your story
    Write in the third person and in the present tense – it’s surprising how much “sharper” this makes the description seem
    Use emotive words to stir emotions – e.g. horrifying, passionate etc
    Cut back, cut back – I read somewhere that 150 words are plenty enough for a book description
    Get out of your (author’s) skin and write as if you’re the publisher, or anyone else who is interested in promoting your book
    Read other descriptions of your genre
    Thanks again for the tips – where would we be without all the info and help we pick up from one another?!
    Hope you don’t mind if I just mention my blog site – http://www.suenoyeclark.blogspot.com – it’s relatively new and I need some visitors!! Thank you,.

    • Thanks Sue, some great pointers you included in your comment. Thanks for sharing with us. I hope you enter the book description contest. 🙂

  • Great tips, Bryan! I can’t count how many times I’ve said that writing a blurb is harder than writing a full length novel. The best one that I wrote on my own was one that I wrote to entice beta readers.

    What that shows me is the importance of a target audience and hooking the reader at the first sentence. I had several comments about how they were hooked by that.

    • Yep, the first sentence is the most critical, if the potential reader reads nothing more, then that sentence must be powerful and compelling enough for the reader to purchase the book. If it is a weak opening sentence then the blurb fails and can even convince a person NOT to read the book.

      As a writer who has written book descriptions, I hope you enter the book description contest too. 🙂

  • Jen

    Great tips! Some strategies I picked off were:
    ~To see how other authors write their descriptions
    ~Look at your description and think if you would continue reading this book
    ~Think if it explains your plot without giving out the entire book
    ~Try making your topic sentence seem interesting and unique to hook your readers
    Thank you for your amazing tips again!

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  • Great post. I’m of the camp that generally believes the briefer, the better, as far as blurbs go. For my last one, I threw a couple blurbs out to my author FB page followers and they really helped me zoom in on what caught their eye/was critical. Turned out, most felt I was giving too MUCH of the book away. So that hook is so important, and I think the shorter you can keep it (and focused on the main character), the easier it is for wannabe readers to get a quick feel for the book.

  • Carin Channing

    Hey! I just wanted to say thanks! This article is super helpful and to the point. I’m making my very first ever book description for Amazon, and you’ve helped me greatly. Thanks also to the other commenters! Best wishes to all authors! <3

  • Aidan Lucid

    I love this article and it’s very apt for me right now. I am in the process of writing my book description for Amazon too but find it very difficult. When i finish writing it, it just never feels ‘enough’. If there are any good Amazon book description writers that want to lend their service, please feel free to PM me. Again, a great article, Bryan.

  • Guest

    Top tip: don’t add a ‘hook’ to your actual title on Amazon – seems to be a recent trend that needs nipping in the bud. If a book (or author!) feels the need to inform you in its title that it is a ‘brilliant thriller with a psychological twist’ or a ‘laugh out loud romantic comedy’ et al (if I may), it really suggests otherwise given it smacks of desperation…

    • The question–and the only question–is: Does it sell? If it does, then there is no “bud nipping” necessary.