Your book’s cover is your number one marketing tool. Your book’s description is your next most important tool in hooking a reader.
A potential reader will be drawn in or turned off by your book’s cover. If the reader is drawn in, next she will read the book’s description. What she reads will either make her continue to move toward a purchase or walk away.
I recently read the following description for a book billed as a Christian romance novel:
This story is about a lukewarm born again believer satisfied with his life until he receives an unexpected message. Joshua as a teenager believes that Jesus died on the cross for his sins, and is convicted that he will be entering Heaven one day. However, he is also convinced walking in the world will have no eternal consequences. The journey through Joshua’s Christian life reveals how serious he takes his relationship with Jesus.
Since the book was billed as a romance, I was expecting a boy gets girl story. But after reading the description I was confused. Is this a romance about Jesus and a believer or is it a boy-girl romance? If I can’t figure out what a book is about by reading the description, I am not going to even consider purchasing the book.
BookBub, a service that connects readers with books, has run a number of tests to see what book description (or blurb) copy resonates the most with their subscribers. They recently shared their findings on their website.
BookBub found the following worked best in hooking readers with book descriptions:
- When quoting a testimonial or endorsement for the book, quote people not a publication.
- Speak to your audience. Say “If you love thrillers, then you will love this book”, not “An action-packed read.”
- If your book is a historical fiction novel, tell the reader the time-period.
- The number of good reviews matter. Descriptions that included a high review count fared better. So if you have a good number of reviews, say so: “…with 100 five-star Amazon reviews.”
- Include author awards. Even if the book you are promoting has not won an award, state any awards the author has previously won for his or her writing.
- Including that the book is a bestseller. It makes no difference if it is a bestseller on Amazon or the New York bestseller list.
Remember the description you use to promote your book is your second most important tool in hooking a reader. Be sure to get plenty of feedback from test readers on your book’s description. The better your description, the more readers you will reel in.