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The Ultimate Guide to Professional Book Descriptions

Updated 2020/11/17

A professional book description gives literal meaning to judging a book by its cover. You might’ve learned about attracting people with the best book titles, and you probably took our advice on designing the best cover too. 

You might even have polished your Amazon author’s page to maximize your sales, but your book is still missing a key element. The book description is the final piece of the puzzle that allows the reader to judge the story, writer, and quality.

Your cover is what sells the book, whether it’s an ebook or a printed version. Visual effects are certainly a form of magic on their own, but the words you place in the description is what makes a reader purchase the book. 

Being a successful author means that you must market your book in every way possible. An expert description can add one more marketing tool that helps readers decide to choose your book above all the hundreds available in the Amazon ocean. 

The description tells us about the person whose words we’re about to submerge ourselves into and gives us insight into the beautiful mind of a writer. 

You can either hook your readers from the first word and make them click on read more, or you can bore them senselessly with utter jumble. This guide will help you differentiate your description from the robotic ensemble people avoid. 

How to Use Professionalism to Sell Your Books

A book description serves two main purposes: it is a major part of your marketing strategy, but it also says a lot about you as a writer. As much as it introduces your book, it also introduces your author brand.  

 

The synopsis provides your reader with an answer to a question without revealing the entire solution before they buy your book. It can also show them that you’re a respected authority on the subject, which helps to build the trust relationship before your readers part with their dollars. 

Readers, of course, know that your description is a sales pitch. They liked your cover and want you to convince them to buy your book. Your description is the tool you use to convince them. 

Randall Beard, a marketing guru, explains that we have a 20-second window to convince our readers to buy our book. Online shoppers look for convenience and speed, because their lives are too busy to take the slow-thinking road. 

Of course, there is a fine line between intriguing copy and overselling your book to the point that readers fear you may be hiding something. To achieve that delicate balance, follow this guide to take your work from amateur marketer to talk of the town. 

Writing a Professional Book Description for Amazon Kindle Publishing

You can call this a recipe of sorts. We’ll teach you what secret ingredients to add to your marketing campaign to make your readers’ jaws drop in the crucial-window phase. 

1. Keep it short and concise to prevent readers from running for the hills when they see an essay.

A book description should be no less than 200 words. The sweet spot is 500 words. This can be broken into short paragraphs for easier reading. You can also add bullet points where you give a brief insight into some questions. Be sure to use bold lettering for the more important bullet points.  

2. Open with a headline that screams “extra, extra, read all about it!”

The first line of your description is your hook. You’re guaranteed to lose your reader’s attention if your hook is as plain as transparent wallpaper on a white background. 

Open your description with a bold statement, famous quote, relatable question, or compelling sentence. It might be difficult to compare to the “wife-stealing horse,” but you can certainly give the horse a run for its money.

What is the critical problem your book solves? The answer can give you a one-liner that knocks people’s socks off. Browsing on Amazon will show you one or two sentences where you get to click on “read more” if you choose. 

No one’s going to click to read more when the first sentence says: “Hi, I’m Amy and I’d like to help you.” What does this even say? What can Amy help me with? Instead, let’s look at some simple opening sentences. Think about a dieting book. 

“Learn how to lose 20 pounds in your sleep!” Honestly, who wouldn’t want to lose weight in their sleep? Let’s think about a psychology book. “Licensed therapist, Amy Collins, shares her unique secrets to overcoming your deepest fears.” 

An entrepreneur could use a different approach. “Mike Jones, the pioneering founder of #suitsup, winner of the Rags to Riches Foundation Award, shares his guaranteed techniques for success.”

That first line is the hook that will bait your ideal audience. Strike a chord in your reader with the first line, and leave them with no choice but to read more. 

More examples: 

"Learn 100+ delicious vegetarian recipes for your keto fasting."

All you did was mention the solution in a brief point. Now you have the reader curious. They want to know more about these 100+ recipes that you have.

But what if you could add more? Here’s another example:

"Discover easy-to-prepare and healthy muffins, pizzas, salads, and so much more!"

You have now introduced another hook. You have revealed that they are now able to prepare healthy muffins and pizza with this information. Who doesn’t want to do that? Who thought they could? While at the same time, you added in the word "salads" to let your reader know that you are not only discussing fast food and snacks in your book.

3. Utilize keywords to bring more traffic to your description.

Keywords are used as a marketing ploy to allow search engines to find our articles online. Amazon is also a search engine and prioritizes keywords among other things. Learn about keywords to turn your description into a sales conversion for browsers. 

4. Learn how to turn words into art. 

Your headline alone isn’t going to keep someone reading to the end. You need to convert a regular pitch to an art form of words that hit the emotional and subconscious cores of your readers. 

Imagine reading a killer headline and the second sentence is “I stubbed my toe on Monday morning at eight sharp.” The reader will move along and won’t even feel bad for the stubber of said toe, who actually sounds like a stick in the mud. 

Learn to write with emotions in mind. We can use certain words and sequences to keep people on the edge of their seats. This is one of the foundations of an excellent book description. 

Cristina Gutierrez-Brewster is an English teacher who helps us understand the connection between writing and emotions. 

5. Use plain language for readability.

It’s tempting to spruce up our descriptions with a thesaurus at our fingertips, but this reduces our overall readability. The first word a reader doesn’t understand will make them skip your book. Th language you use in your description should also be a reflection of the language you use in your book. 

6. Give your readers confirmation that they’ll find an answer in your book. 

Break your story up by promising to solve a problem by the end of the book. We recommend using bullet points where you list questions the reader will typically ask about a certain issue. 

Give readers insight without providing the solution. Why would they need to pay for a book when the solution is on the cover? Stir curiosity and interest by showing them how you asked the same questions. 

By the same token, be sure not to overpromise. Words like "guaranteed" or "instantly" have no place in a book description unless you can stand by them being applicable to everyone.  

7. Introduce yourself in third-person mode.

“Toe stubber” was a little arrogant to talk about his typical Monday morning experience; however, explaining that the author is all too familiar with how Monday mornings are as blue as the sky for many people is a better start. 

You want to relate to the reader, but you also don’t want to focus on yourself. Readers’ intentions are to find answers from someone who has been there, done that, but they don’t know you personally. 

Chances are that they don’t care too much about your particular story. They just want the content in a practical and easy-to-read format. Reading first-person descriptions sends the wrong message.

Your focus should be on your content and not yourself. 

8. Legitimize your authority.

Keep the third-person mode in mind as you show the reader how you relate to their story. “Mike Jones wasn’t happy with his lack of wealth and knew that it was a viral problem in society. His vision was to uplift himself and thousands of people he met.”

This businessman has legitimized himself as an authority figure in the industry without using the word ‘I’ once. Authors with a degree could mention this as the reason why readers can trust them. 

People without authority of their own can also use numbers, figures, studies, and statistics to lay their claim. They can show readers that their information isn’t thumb-sucked, and they rely solely on authoritative data to compile their books. 

Add a testimonial or endorsement from someone who has read your book at the end if it’s been available for a while. Make sure you add someone who praises your book. 

9. Hit your reader with a cliffhanger of sorts.

You want jaws on the floor as the reader nears the end of your description. Their desire to know more must leave them hanging from a cliff. For example: “You won’t believe the lengths Mike went to, to put crisp suits on these ambitious, young gentlemen.”

10. End with a call-to-action to entice readers to purchase your book.

The truth is that some people need a push, and calls-to-actions can do this. You could say: “You’ve visualized the wealth, now all that’s left is to take the leap of faith!” You can also say: “Click on ‘buy now’ if you have what it takes.”

Meeting the Technical Requirements

Amazon Kindle publishing has a few requirements for their professional book descriptions. These aren’t hard to meet if we learn how to write in HTML format.

Amazon expects us to use HTML guidelines to insert italics, bold, and certain characters if we wish to have a statement stand out. You can learn all about HTML writing in this video tutorial. 

The second option is to use a book description generator. It becomes as simple as copy and paste when you need the right format.

Calling on the Experts

Let’s face it, you’re probably skilled enough to handle the wording on what you think will sell your book at first glance. However, the technical requirements can turn a 10-minute exercise into an hours long debacle if you simply aren't technically inclined. 

If you prefer to leave this task to expert copywriters with years of experience in writing descriptions for bestselling books, The Urban Writers should be your next stop. 

No hassle, no bustle, and certainly no fuss is necessary to ensure success for your book. You can also book a video call with our team if you prefer to meet face-to-face. Not everyone wants to talk to a robotic system. 

Final Thoughts

After spending so much time writing your masterpiece, the last thing you want to do is turn readers off with a dull, poorly-written book description.

Follow this guide step-by-step and get ready to watch your sales numbers climb!