If you are struggling to write a book description for your book, you are not alone. It’s amazing how many self-published authors come to us because they’ve written a book that they want to get published, but are struggling to write the book description.
It makes sense when you think about it. You had enough knowledge and expertise on a subject to write a book about it, and you want people to read that book, so how do you condense it down into a few short paragraphs?
We get it. It’s hard. But your book description is a key piece of book marketing so you don’t want to skip this step.
You also don’t want to write something generic because you think it’s not that important. In reality the opposite is true – especially for self-published authors.
Think about it. The majority of your potential readers are going to find your book on Amazon or some other website. They aren’t picking your book up in the library, or seeing it displayed at a local bookstore where they can flip through the pages and read the inside flap.
All they are seeing when they land on your book page is:
- Your book cover
- Your author photo
- Your book description
- Any book reviews you may have
That makes each of these elements equally as important as the book itself. You want to have a cover design that draws them in. You want a professionally looking author photo and bio. And, you want a book description that makes a reader go, “oh I have to read this book” and click the “buy now” button.
So how do you write a book description that turns a potential buyer into a reader?
We use a formula we call “the hook, the book, and the cook.” Let’s talk about each of these individually.
A good book description always starts with a hook. Depending on the genre and type of book, the hook could be a really powerful celebrity endorsement like this one:
The hook could also be an intriguing snippet from the book, like this one:
If your book is non-fiction, your hook might be a question that demands to be solved (that you, of course, have the answer to.)
Whatever your hook is, you want to make it count because when a potential reader clicks on your Amazon book page all they will see is a few lines of the book description. In the newspaper business we would call this the “above fold” content. You have to entice them enough with your hook to want to click the “read more” button.
Once you’ve nailed the hook, it’s time to talk a bit about the book. You don’t want to give away too much (after all, we still want them to buy it and read it), so this section really depends on what type of book you are writing.
If it’s a fantasy novel, you might need to include some narrative elements to get the plot started. Introduce the main characters and what problem they face. You don’t want to give the entire story away, but it’s okay to hint at some of the things that might happen.
For non fiction, this is your chance to convince the reader why this book is the answer to their problem. And you’re going to do it in a way that doesn’t five away your secret sauce. You can tell them what the ingredients are, but make sure they have to buy the book to know how to mix it all together.
Whatever your genre, be sure to write in the third person.
The last piece of a good book description has to do with you, the author. This is technically optional, and works best for non-fiction books, because it gives you one or two lines to share your credentials and why you are the best person to write this book. Like the rest of your book description, continue to write in the third person, and don’t get too braggy. Only include those elements of your bio that make sense for the book you are writing.
Like everything, practice makes perfect. You might need to take several stabs at writing your book description before you land on something that has a great hook, evokes emotion, and draws a reader in.
Where to Use your Book Description
We mentioned your Amazon book page at the beginning because in our experience that is where most people are going to read your book description. But it’s not the only place you will want to use this essential piece of book marketing copy.
- You’ll need a version of your book description on the back cover of your book.
- And, you will want to have your book description on your author website.
- You might also use your book description when pitching your book to potential podcasts, or even book stores.
- You can use parts of it on social media or in blog posts.
Having a solid book description will go a long way, so it’s worth taking your time to get it right. Here are some examples of book descriptions we think knocked it out of the park: