We all know that book descriptions are vital part of book sales, and one of the biggest pains on an indie author’s to-do list.
I’m on a myth-busting mission impossible to breakdown the elements of bestselling blurbs so that you can use the techniques to write your own best selling blurbs…and make it a lot less painful in the process.
Heck, I’m gonna go so far as to say that I actually want you to start enjoying writing the bleddie things…
Because you’ll have a handy bag ‘o’ tricks to refer to, grab inspiration from, and stop using the spaghetti-thrown-at-the-wall approach.
Here’s how these weekly blurb breakdowns are gonna go down…
Every week I’ll take a best selling book off the digital shelves of Amazon’s top 100 in a given category… and I’ll break it down, sentence by sentence, so you can see the techniques and strategies at play.
Then, you can use those techniques to strengthen or create your own best selling book description.
If you come across an awesome book description out in the wilderness, and you want me to break it down, I’m more than happy to do it. The catch is, it can’t be for one of your own books.
Just email me with the Amazon link and tell me what you liked about it – if it made you want to buy it, or if you bought it.
Right, so them’s the rules, let’s dive in…
This weeks blurb breakdown is Dandy Smith’s, The Perfect Match. At the time of writing it was No. 62 in the Amazon UK’ Kindle store..
Here’s the blurb…
“‘Omg the twist!!!’ Reader review, 5 stars
‘Wowsers… still has my head spinning!’ Reader review, 5 stars
‘This book was the wildest ride ever! Twisty! Unpredictable!’ Reader review, 5 stars”
Let’s just talk about this social proof sandwich for a sec. They’re reader reviews. That shows you don’t need to have big named endorsements.
Plus, the snippets they’ve pulled from the reviews are well thought out. It’s clever because ‘OMG’ can be read quickly which suggests movement and again ‘twist’ is another word suggestive of movement.
Yes, I know if you look at it in the book context it’s talking about a plot twist, but this word congruence fits with the next two review quotes: spinning, wild ride, twisty, unpredictable.
Using words that suggest motion gets us excited because we imagine the movement – which helps to get us to read the next line. Speaking of which…
Formatting – the first review is short, the last one is longest – this not only looks more inviting to read, it also helps us to build up speed… and when you build up speed, you build momentum… and when you build momentum you get the next line of copy read.
“She loves him, but can she trust him?“
This opening hook is top dollar. It speaks to our values and, because we insert ourselves into the dilemma, it engages our brains to elicit an emotional response. And emotional responses drive our behaviour. It’s reminiscent of Adam Croft’s now infamous hook: Would you kill your wife to save your daughter? A killer hook, for sure.
“When I meet Henry by chance at a wedding, it is love at first sight. He’s charming, handsome and successful – everything I’ve ever wanted.”
Quick side note – this is the second book description breakdown I’ve done where the writer has emboldened the names of the characters. The first time I spotted was in week 16 – Rev Richard Coles.
Now, obviously, this is written in the first person. The style—I think—is common in romance, but I’ve not seen it much in psychological thrillers. Happy to stand corrected though.
This first sentence sets up the backdrop for the story. Although we’re not told the main character’s first name—that would be weird in this POV choice. So we’re told about the secondary character in broad-brush terms. It’s just enough info to hang our hats on.
“When he proposes, it seems like all my dreams are coming true.”
On the surface, it doesn’t look like this sentence is doing much…but here’s what it is doing…it’s planting a seed -it seems – this tiny little phrase opens a loop because it leaves room for doubt.
But Ivy, my best friend, isn’t happy for me at all. She tells me I am making a huge mistake and accuses Henry of something unthinkable.
Here we go again with the emboldening of the character name. We’re not given lot’s of information about Ivy. We don’t need it. The writer, I think, trusts that the reader knows what a best friend is or might be like and allows us to fill in the gap with our own version of a best friend.
This and the next sentence create an open loop. What’s with this best friend? What’s she got against Henry. And what does she know that the main character doesn’t?
“I know it can’t be true. But why would Ivy lie to me?”
Now they’re just teasing us by concealing what the ‘it’ is. They’re raising our curiosity and the desire to find out what the secret is. We’re suckers for secrets.
“Now someone is dead and I need to find the truth, whatever it costs me. Before I lose everyone I’ve ever loved… “
What the heck? There’s a dead body? Who is it? We did not see that coming. This open loop wants you to wonder who the dead body is or was and what the truth is? What will she lose? Well, I guess it implies she might lose either Henry or Ivy… or worse.
“A totally gripping read with a killer twist you won’t see coming. Fans of K.L Slater, Lisa Jewell and C.L Taylor will be hooked by Dandy Smith.”
Now, I’m not enamoured by this sales pitch at the end. Some folks swear by it. I wouldn’t as it takes the wind out of all that anticipation you’ve built up.
Readers are gripped by The Perfect Match:
‘I LOVE all of the twists and turns… Kept me on my toes and made it so hard to put it down for even a brief moment… A must read!‘ Reader review, 5 stars
‘Clear your schedules before even looking at the first page as you will not be able to put this book down!!!!‘ Reader review, 5 stars
‘A gripping and twisting relationship based psychological thriller that kept me up till the early hours… The ending is once again unexpected and unsettling, leaving me wanting more!’ Reader review, 5 stars
‘Super gripping… hard for me to put it down!’ Reader review, 5 stars
‘I loved the twists. Such an awesome book’ Reader review, 5 stars
This is the bottom half of the social proof sandwich. Again, no big names here, just some choice short sentences from reviewers. Each review sticks to the unputdownable and twisty theme often used to sell psychological thrillers.
The fact that we’re not told the main character’s name or any concrete identifying features about them adds to the curiosity. Who is this person? We want to learn more.
Have you got any questions about it?
Want to suggest a book description to breakdown?
Either comment below or shoot me an email.
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