5 Ways to ruin a book description

There’s no doubt about the importance of a good book description to sell your book. 

And it’s not surprising that authors spend a lot of time or money on getting it right. 

Learning how to write a book description that sells is a niche form of copywriting. 

It’s a product description that’s not trying to sell the concept of a book but rather the story within it. (Obvs.)

Pretty soon, I’ll start testing my hypothesis for writing ruddy good blurbs by analysing a whole bunch of book descriptions. 

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few common mistakes . . .

One – This happened and then this happened and then this happened

A.k.a giving away too much information about the whole plot. 

There’s a balance between giving away enough to pique interest and build a curiosity gap and giving away too much or overwhelming readers with a big info dump. 

Two – Not giving enough 

Being too vague and too short, hoping that will be enough to entice readers to buy. There’s a real difference between brevity that packs a Hemmingway-like punch and a punch that misses the mark completely. 

Three – Not enough bait on the hook 

I’ll talk more about hooks and triggers in other emails but a good hook to grab the reader’s attention and get them to read the next line is your first point of attention-grabbing attack.  

Four – Introducing too many characters 

In fiction, this can be trying to include too many side characters and confusing people—confusion is a conversion killer. In non-fiction, this might be a lack of clarity about who you’re trying to target. Being specific about the main characters or target readers will go a long way to helping readers work out if your book is one to read.

Five – ‘Reason why’ copy 

‘Reason why’ copy tends to look like this:

‘Do X because of Y…,’ 

‘For fans of…,’ 

‘Get it today…’ 

This type of copy appeals to the logical parts of our brain. 

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and a place for it, but it’s not at the end of a book description.  

You’ve worked hard to build intrigue and create an emotional response in the body copy it might seem logical to end with a reason to buy—especially if you’ve tried to follow the AIDA copywriting formula—but you can actually do yourself a disservice. 

Because books tend to be impulse purchases, ending on an open loop, leaving questions in your reader’s mind, is the best way to get them to take their next step . . .

Whether that’s checking out the reviews, the ‘look inside’ or hitting the buy button. 

Bonus tip . . .

Ah, that one was just for my email subscribers. If you want in on the best bits, you’re welcome to join, and snag a copy of my Author Amplifier by clicking here for more details.

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