Here’s the worst fiction book description I’ve ever seen:
“action packed Mystery, Suspense Novel….”
That was the book description of a novel who’s author had once contacted me for marketing help. The 5-word description was on her book’s Amazon sales page. The back page of her book was blank.
I suggested she redo the cover and include a description of the plot and her bio.
“But I don’t want to give the plot away.” she replied. “And what does this have to do with marketing?”
It has everything to do with marketing. Why else would someone who knows nothing about your book want to read it?
A book description is a critical part of your novel’s media kit
There are elements of an author’s media kit that will get used over and over again on social media, press releases, flyers, ads and other miscellaneous marketing pieces. The description of your book is certainly at the top of your list. Authors should prepare the following types of descriptions for their book:
- A simple one or two sentence description that can be used when someone asks “What’s your book about?” The inquirer doesn’t want a blow by blow outline of your plot. They want to know something like, “It’s a political thriller set during World War II in England.” Then, if they ask a follow up question you can go in to more detail.
- A longer description, about 150 words, to be used on the back of your book.
- Your longest description, about 250 words, for your Amazon and Goodreads book pages.
The most common mistake I see authors make when they write their descriptions is to write a narrative of the plot. This happened. Then this happened. And while this was happening, this happened… By this time you’ve lost your audience. They’ve moved on to something else.
Your back cover description is like a movie trailer
Study movie trailers to see what makes them effective. They only focus on the main plot. They evoke emotion. They’re short. Your book description should:
- start with a strong headline
- focus on the main plot only. Do not mention subplots
- introduce your main character or characters
- be in the present tense.
- include words that evoke emotions.
- end with a cliffhanger that makes the reader want to know more.
Need to create a media kit? Check out this post:
What’s in Your Personal Promotion Toolkit?