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Self Publishing: Creating Effective Descriptions

Self Publishing: Creating Effective Descriptions

People always judge a book by its cover.

You have a great cover, right? That’s one of the most important ways to capture people’s attention when they’re searching through Amazon or any bookseller trying to find a book that interests them.

After looking at a cover, the next thing people do is look at the book’s blurb, or description. Creating a great description is a really overlooked skill.

Think about how people shop at a physical bookstore-- if the description (such as what’s written on the front and back covers) doesn’t shine, then people are very likely to just set that book back down on the shelf.

The same thing happens online. If you don’t have a great book description, people are likely to click the back button away from your book.

This is, unfortunately, one of those areas of self-publishing that so many people get wrong. They spend so much time creating and editing the book and making sure they have a great book cover that doing anything else seems a little exhausting.

But, you’re really trouncing on your own profits if you ignore the description. The good news is that it really doesn’t have to take that long at all to craft a great description. After a while, you’ll be an old pro.

Book descriptions or blurbs don’t have to be long (and probably shouldn’t be) but they are important.

Using Your Copywriting Skills to Write a Great Description

Have you studied copywriting at all as part of your business? It’s a really helpful skill. Think of your book’s Amazon page as a mini sales letter.

You don’t want to hype your book up, but you do want to make it interesting and appealing.

Think about where people are and what they want. What are their emotions and needs as they read your book’s description? How can you capture them and make them want to keep reading your short blurb and then go on to buy or download your sample?

Study What Other Authors Are Doing

One way you can figure out what will work for your audience when it comes to your book blurb is by studying what other authors are doing.

How long is their blurb? Did they use any HTML formatting? Did they include any of the elements of copy?

Did they leave an element of mystery?

Study what works for the successful authors of your niche. That’s one of the best things you can do.

You’ll probably see some common threads among successfully self-published books in your niche or genre.

Take notes on what you find so you are ready to go when it’s actually time to write your description or blurb.

Writing a Fiction Blurb

Writing a fiction blurb is different from writing a nonfiction blurb.

In this case, you’ll want to pique the interest of the reader.

How are blurbs in your genre typically presented?

Introduce the main character and the main tension they’re faced with. Maybe introduce a supporting character or antagonist.

What are they up against? What are the stakes?

Study what readers in your genre expect and deliver that. Make sure you include what’s different about your book as part of your blurb while also including those expected elements.

Writing a Nonfiction Description

When you write a nonfiction blurb, it’s important to pay attention to the desire people have when they read your book. What is the benefit they expect to get out of it?

What sets your book apart? What can people hope to learn?

It can really help draw people in if you use a story and try to connect with them right there in the blurb.

Depending on the book, you can use a list of benefits within your blurb.

In other cases, it might be appropriate to include a little about you and your qualifications for writing the book.

As always—take a look at what other successful self-published authors are doing within their blurbs for your niche.

Using HTML for Your Book’s Kindle Page

Relatively few people know this, but Amazon allows you to use a limited amount of HTML for your book’s description:

Doing this the right way can help your book stand out and make it more enticing. Just make sure not to overdo it and note that it can look different on the various Kindle screens than it does on the regular Amazon page within your web browser.

Test different heading styles and bolding out to see what works for you.

Using Keywords in Your Description

It can really be beneficial to sprinkle some of your top targeted keywords within your description. This is something many people neglect to do and that’s a mistake.

Hopefully, you’ve figured out which keywords you should be targeting. If you haven’t, then start to type keywords that are related to your genre, niche, or topic into the Amazon search bar. You’ll see search suggestions pop up.

Click through the various keyword options. What makes the most sense for your book? What’s the competition like for those keywords? You want something that’s highly searched but that’s also lower in competition so you have hopes of ranking for those keywords in Amazon’s search engines. You should also use these keywords in the keyword area when you’re uploading your book to publish, by the way. And also, consider fitting your top keywords in your title as well.

Effective Descriptions Lead to Sales

Please don’t ignore the benefit of a powerful description. There are so many other books out there. Having an effective description is a good way to ensure your book stands out.

The title and cover of your book have captivated your audience in some way. Now, your description can be the thing that really hooks them.

Once you write your description, go through a checklist you create for yourself based on what works for your genre. Have you covered all your bases? Can people tell what your book is about? Are they enticed to buy your book, or at least download the sample?

Consider what’s really going to sell your book without being too hypey. This is a skill you can develop over time.

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