Elana Sztokman's JewFem blog

Elana Maryles Sztokman, PhD, writer, researcher, educator and activist, writing on issues pertaining to gender and Jewish life in Israel and around the world.

How To Write A Book Description That Sells With Examples


Why Your Book Description Matters

Despite having a nice cover and receiving good reviews, it wasn’t selling as many copies as it should have. So we dove into the book description, figured out the flaws, and completely revamped it.

1. Write A Compelling Hook

2. Describe The Current Pain They Are In

Once you have their attention, then describe the current pain they are in. If you can describe the pain of the reader you can engage them in entertaining the idea of buying the book.

You don’t need to be gratuitous here, all you need to do is be accurate: what pain is in their life? What unsolved problems do they have? Or, what unachieved aspirations grand goals do they have? Clearly and directly articulate these, in plain and simple language.

3. Describe How Your Book Will Solve Their Pain

Then tell them what the book does to help them solve for this pain. Done right, this creates an emotional connection by describing how the book will make the potential reader feel after reading it.

Be clear about the benefits, don’t insinuate them. You are selling a result to the reader, not a process (even though your book is the process). Explain exactly what the book is about, in clear, obvious terms.

4. Legitimize Yourself To The Reader

5. Create An Open Loop

Like a cliffhanger. This holds the reader’s attention and leaves them wanting more.
You do want to be very explicit about what they will learn, but you don’t have to go deep into the “how.” This is to create an “open loop” so to speak; you are keeping back the secret sauce that is actually in the book.

This being said, do not make the reader struggle to understand what your point is, or how to get the reader there. This is especially true for prescriptive books (how-to, self-help, motivational, etc.). People like to understand the basics of the “how” (as well as the “what”), especially if it’s something new or novel. This is a balance that our examples will show you how to hit.

Amazon Kindle Rankings E-Book

Wow. Just WOW. This was stupendously helpful. My book has been up on Amazon since January (with a February launch). I had no idea what I was doing and had to make do with what I could manage to not have look messed up in my description (a much abbreviated and formless thing). NOW I finally thought to look up the html code. Of COURSE I found it here on Kindlepreneur. (Insert forehead smacking!) Why didn’t I look here ages ago?? My new description is UP and looks just like I wanted it to six months ago. THANK YOU SO MUCH DAVE. And go Red Sox!! 😀

Hi Dave
I am new in this publishing space and trying to set up my Amazon KDP account. Why do i need to convert to html for book description when using word? i am a bit confused.
Thank you

When you are entering your book description into KDP, it used to be that you had to enter the description in html if you wanted any kind of special formatting. Though that might have changed recently. Let me check on that. We may need to modify the generator.

Amazon Description Requirements

In addition to everything I’ve talked about so far, there are a few pieces of advice that I would add. A lot of these didn’t quite fit in the structure above, so I am including them here:

  • Be succinct: copywriting is a different art from writing a book. When writing copy, you want to make every single word count. Trim everything that doesn’t contribute so you can say what you need to say in as few words as possible.
  • Get the right POV: in most cases, you will be using third person point of view (POV) for your blurb. However many nonfiction books will use second person POV, and certain genres of fiction may even use first person. Examine other blurbs in your genre to be certain which POV is most common.
  • Use keywords: while you should avoid over-stuffing your blurb with keywords, it never hurts to include a few terms or phrases that people are likely to use in their Amazon searches.
  • Write as the publisher: it is important to remember that your blurb is not a summary of your book. It is a sales tool. Act as if you are a publishing company, not the author, when writing your book description.
  • Find good examples: my best advice, if you are having trouble writing your blurb, is to find other books in your genre that have done well. Specifically look for independently-published books (because traditionally-published books are often lazy with their book descriptions) that are selling well. Then examine the structure of each sentence and the role that it fills. Model your book description after those examples.

That last tip is how I got started writing my own book descriptions, and it has made a huge difference in the quality of my blurbs. I learned a lot from running through those exercises.

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