Who has ever checked their ad performance and seen they’ve spent a whole lot of money without getting many (or any) sales?
It’s one thing to write a book, but selling it? That can be tricky. If you’re not seeing that many sales, one major contributor is often your book description. Think about it, if people are clicking your ad, then your book cover and title have already done their jobs. There’s something on your sales page that isn’t converting.
Your book description is the sales letter for your book. The right description will convert browsers on your sales page into readers.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can write a winning book description for fiction works.
How To Write A Fiction Book Description
We’ll start by looking at book descriptions for fiction books. Now, while there’s no set rulebook on writing a description for your novel, Byan Cohen’s book, How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis, has an awesome method of synopsis-writing.
Here’s a picture of what it looks like in action, then we’ll break it down piece by piece so you can use it to sell your next book.
Start With a Hook or Tagline
Last time you were at the cinema, did you see the taglines for the movies? These lines try to grab the audience’s attention and give you a slight insight into what the movie will be about.
The right tagline can do wonders for a film.
- “You’ll never go in the water again” – Jaws
- “One man’s struggle to take it easy”- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- “Life is in their hands — Death is on their minds.” – 12 Angry Men
- “If you only see one movie this year… you need to get out more often.” – Naked Gun (I love how the parody movie uses a parody tagline, and lets the audience know exactly what to expect)
- “She brought a small town to its feet and a corporation to its knees.” – Erin Brockovich
The same goes for your book. Instead of trying to get someone to check out the movie poster or watch the trailer, with a book tagline, you want to get your potential reader to read the entire description and hopefully buy your book.
You see, when an Amazon browser first clicks on a sales page, they only see the first few lines of your book description. They need to click a ‘read more’ button to access your full description. This makes the first line or two vital for getting people interested enough to want to read on.
If a movie-style tagline doesn’t work, you can ask a question. The description above uses the question “Can a dog and a chicken become best friends?” as a way to open the loop with the reader. If the reader wants to know more about that question, they’ll have to keep reading.
You can also try with a tagline that compares your book to another well-known film, TV show, or book. The fastest way you can get a potential reader to have any emotion about something they’re unfamiliar with (your book), is to compare it to something they do know.
A great comparison in a book description is in the book, Dinosaur Lords, which uses this tagline “It's like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones.” Odds are, if you liked one or both of those books, you’ll check out Dinosaur Lords.
Also, it doesn’t hurt if you can get George R. R. Martin to give your book a Game of Thrones reference.
Give a Short Synopsis of the Book
People like to think they enjoy trying new things. However, most of us know what we like and stick to it. This is especially accurate for book fans. Readers usually have a genre or two that they enjoy and stick with it.
This means when they’re looking for a book to read, they want to know mostly two things.
- Is this book in the genre I enjoy (like sci-fi, in my case)?
- Does this book look like something I’ll read?
The most efficient way you can let shoppers know if your book is one they’ll be interested in is to give a quick synopsis. This isn’t the time to brag about all the work you did world-making or designing backgrounds for your secondary characters. This also isn't the time to give away the ending to your book, especially if you're writing page-turner mystery books. Just the important stuff is needed here. Stick to these rules.
- Only mention the characters’ first names
- Only use characters that are absolutely essential to the plot
- Only include the main plot
This is enough information for your reader to know if your book is something they’d be interested in. You’ll attract the right readers and get the ones who won’t like your book to click away (this is a good thing).
Use a Selling Paragraph and Call-To-Action
If the potential reader has got this far in your book description that means they’ve:
- Seen your book on Amazon
- Noticed your cover or title
- Been interested enough in your book to click to the sales page
- Read the hook to your description
- Read the synopsis
Basically, they’re a hot lead. They obviously see something that they like in your book. Now all you have to do is give a nudge to buy. You do this with a short selling paragraph and a call-to-action.
For your selling paragraph, feel free to brag a little about yourself and your awesome book. If you’ve previously written a bestseller, include that here. Also, mention if your book is in a series. It’s important to use strong and emotive language in your selling paragraph to compel readers. Here’s a list of great power words you can try.
After your selling paragraph, it’s important to include a call-to-action to give potential shoppers the next step. If you’re not comfortable with “selling”, then here are some great examples of calls to actions for your books:
- 50 Call To Action Examples (and How to Write the Perfect One)
- 21 Call to Action Examples in Writing and 3 Rules for Effective CTAs
- Hook, Line, and Sinker: 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action
A well-written book description will make sure you sell more books at a much higher conversion rate. This will improve your all-around sales numbers along with giving a huge boost to your advertising ROI.
Follow the simple template in this article for your next. book description.
Dave Chesson is the creator of Kindlepreneur.com, a website devoted to teaching advanced book Marketing which even Amazon KDP acknowledge as one of the best by telling users to “Gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books.” Having worked with such authors as Orson Scott Card, Ted Dekker and more, his tactics help both Fiction and Nonfiction authors of all levels get their books discovered by the right readers.
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Unsplash