5 Product Description Tips

I want to give some quick tips about your book description or Product Description as it's called on Amazon.

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Within the past couple of weeks, I've had requests from 4 authors to critique their book blurbs, and I volunteered to do it for 2 other authors who were concerned about their slow sales.

In all cases, I had not read any of the books so I didn't know what they were about. That's probably a good situation because that way I was objective about whether the product description made me want to read the book.

Here's some advice I gave those authors. You can quickly utilize these tips and see if they work for you.

Points To Remember

1. Carefully arrange or format your Product Description.

When someone reads a book blurb, if they haven't previously read your books, they really don't care what anyone else said about the book. Not at that point. They are only interested in determining whether the book is something they want. They don't care how many accolades you may have. They are only wondering whether they should buy the book.

So, unless you are a NYT or USA Today bestselling author, put all those review quotes and similar information below the part that tells what your book is about. Especially put it below if you are midlist or below in the pecking order or if you are an unknown quantity to most readers.

If you are Jane Doe from Podunk, Texas, and you've never had a book published before anywhere or in any medium, you are unknown. It probably won't matter if you have a quote from Publishers Weekly to put at the top of the blurb. Other writers might buy you out of curiosity, but the vast reading audience of strangers will not.

2. You must grab the browsing book buyer's attention within seconds.

Learn how to write short ad copy using buzz words. I edited the book blurb on Old Enough To Know Better once I got it out of the Prime Select program. I started the copy with "A funny, sexy cougar-licious romance to warm your heart."

I may change that, but for now, that's the marketing hook with which I'm experimenting. I try to use a first sentence that's a log line or a marketing hook or some combination of buzz words because they're a pop culture shortcut that clues the reader in as to what kind of book it is. They get that without reading further. Studies show that most readers make up their minds within a few sentences.

3. Short is better.

Because most readers make up their minds quickly, the faster you can get the necessary information in, the better. Usually this means that shorter is better. My book descriptions look long, but all the necessary info is at the top. If the browsing book buyer is interested, he can read on down and see the accolades, the list of Bonus Features, and contact information for me. I also put in the date of the most recent file upload if I've made any changes or corrections to the file.

4. Tone is important.

I think if you're pushing a romantic comedy, then your book blurb should have at least a mild element of humor. If you're writing mystery, then your blurb should probably not be a laugh fest unless it's a comic mystery. If at all possible, make your tone match your book.

5. Be careful with excerpts.

I've actually decided not to buy books based on the excerpt posted in the book description. Make your excerpt match the category of your book. A romantic comedy should have a matching excerpt. You don't necessarily have to post chapter 1 as an excerpt. Pull out a scene that depicts the kind of book you're selling and use that. That's how the big publishers do it. Remember that scene usually on the flyleaf of many books? That's the kind of excerpt you want.

Don't use an excerpt unless it absolutely knocks your socks off and makes a reader want the book. Until readers care about the characters (and that's by reading from the beginning) they're not going to be interested in a scene that's basically just a prelude to a seduction rather than part of the seduction itself or a prelude to a murder, etc.

Takeaway Truth

Writing ad copy is an art. That's why publishing houses hire Cover Copy Editors. Or they used to. Many still do I suppose. Work on your cover copy. Read hundreds of other book blurbs and sharpen your skills.

Note: If Joan Reeves aka SlingWords helps you get ahead, please consider buying one of my books (Written Wisdom is perfect for writers--readers too!), subscribing (only $.99 per month) to the Kindle Edition of SlingWords,or making a donation of any amount by clicking the button below. Thank you for your moral support and any monetary support you see fit to contribute.

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