Writing a Strong Book Description, a.k.a. The Blurb

After the cover, a book description may be the most important tool in selling a book. On a print book, the blurb appears on the back cover. For ebooks, this is the description that appears on every sales page, usually below the cover and just before the reviews.

Concise tends to be better, and for books sold both as print and ebooks, it’s easier to use the same description. Therefore, it’s helpful to keep in mind the restrictions on both formats. 

Book Description Length and Content

Book Cover Express advises that on print books, there should only be 250-300 words.

Because of the short length, writing a book blurb can be difficult. It’s important to keep in mind that the blurb must hook the reader, while not giving away any spoilers. Beth Bacon on Digital Book World wrote “4 Easy Steps to an Irresistible Book Blurb,” which outlines a simple formula that involves the situation, the problem, the hopeful possibility, and the mood. Seuss’s Pieces gives more advice, which includes highlighting the conflict and adding review quotes, if any. It also helps to read book blurbs in the same genre as your book, to see what works and what doesn’t.

And if you find yourself stuck, or would like a second opinion, I recommend hiring the Blurb Doctor. For $50, MeiLin Miranda will offer feedback and help shape the blurb to make it better. I worked with her for my novella, and I was really happy with the results. She was quick to respond and happy to answer my questions.

Book Description SEO

Having book descriptions on web pages makes SEO a lot more important. Lori Culwell on The Creative Penn wrote an excellent post that details which retailers accept keywords and how many, and other places to insert keywords, such as by adding a bio, excerpt, and categories into the book description.

Using the right keywords will help readers find the book online. Three tools to find words that are often searched but have low(ish) competition are Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and Market Samurai.

Book Description Formatting

The way a book description appears also matters. On Amazon, through KDP, it’s possible to format the description to make it more appealing. To do this requires some simple HTML tags. Nick Daw’s Writing Blog has a list of which HTML tags are accepted.

Below is an example of how I formatted the description for my nonfiction book, How to Create Your First Ebook:

KDP_description_format

And this is how it looks on the sales page:

KDP_description

Have any other tricks to make a book blurb great? Share in the comments!

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