Is Your Book’s Description Enticing?

In my recent post “How Visuals Affect Purchasing Decisions”, I listed the survey finding that 63% of consumers said good images are more important than product descriptions. Your book’s cover is your number one marketing tool.

However, the second most important piece of information in marketing your book, after the cover of your book, is your book’s description. Also known as the back-cover copy, this piece of information is crucial in convincing readers to make a decision to purchase your book. Your book’s description should be alluring.

Most people read a book because they want to be informed or entertained. Therefore, a good book description will do the following two things:

1. Make a promise to the reader about what she will find in the book.
2. Answer the WIIFM question.

I recently received a Christian book catalog from a large Christian self-publishing company (which shall remain unnamed). The catalog listed close to 200 titles. Sometimes I thumb through unsolicited catalogs before recycling them. On a lark, I thumbed through this one.

When a book title or cover image in the catalog caught my eye, I took a moment to read the description. One cover with an engaging photo touted this book description:

The author’s story of her life and how she felt she had to wear different masks, thus projecting different faces to others at various time in her life. She had to learn that what makes her mighty is based on knowing God loves her. Knowing that God loves her is her power.

That book description told me about the book, but it did not make a promise or tell me how this book would “inform” me. In other words, the description did not tell me what I would get out of reading this book—other than the author’s personal story.


I don’t know this author. Therefore, I am not really interested in her personal story. I, like most readers, become interested in her personal story when I know what the book has to offer me for my life.

A better description for this book that both makes a promise and answers the WIIFM question might be:

We all long to be accepted. Susan craved acceptance so much that she felt she needed to wear masks to project an image of herself others would accept. Follow Susan on her journey as she learns that God’s love and acceptance gives her the power to be her true self. If you have ever felt that you needed to alter your true self be accepted, this story is for you.

I always find it disheartening when authors pay a large sum of money to have a book published and end up with a less than stellar product. Don’t waste your money.

When crafting your next book’s description. Remember that the job of your description is to entice readers to want to read your book. Make the information on your book alluring by delivering a promise and answering the WIIFM question.

Related Posts:
Sell More Books with Better Descriptions
Sales Text that Sells
Do You Know What it Takes to Sell a Book?

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Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt.

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