June 26, 2013 by bernibus
How Much Money Are You Leaving
On The Table With Your Kindle eBooks?
If you’re selling eBooks on Kindle there are a few essentials you’ve got to get right or you don’t stand a chance for success. It goes without saying that your book has to be great. Next is the title. For nonfiction it needs to briefly explain the book’s topic while with a fiction title it must grab the reader’s attention and make her curious.
Then there’s your cover. I’m amazed at some of the awful covers I see. The cover is literally what makes your first impression and it needs to be not just good, it needs to be great. It also needs to be legible in postage stamp size so people can read the title and your name. But this isn’t about covers.
First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions…
The last of the “essential” up front items necessary for actual book sales is your book description, sometimes referred to in the business as your “blurb.” I’m on a couple of mailing lists where I get notified of free Kindle books every day. In the body of the email I get all the components I’ve mentioned: title, cover and blurb. You actually see the title and cover at the same time. I’m drawn to clever titles as much as I am to impressive covers. If the title and cover are interesting I go to the blurb.
Guess what? If the book description sucks it doesn’t matter how great your title is or how slick the cover is. The prospect will more often than not click away. The blurb is a telegram of how good a writer you are. Wait a second. Let me rephrase that because it’s not quite accurate. The blurb is an indicator of how good a copywriter you are. But most people don’t know a copywriter from a copy machine so the point is moot. Bottom line, if the blurb isn’t compelling, they’re gone. And it’s likely they’ll think you’re a lousy writer as well. Sad but true.
Like It Or Not, It’s About Sales…
You might be the best fiction or nonfiction scribe out there but your book description needs to be sales-oriented. Big publishers hire the best copywriters to write compelling book descriptions because they know the description is often what moves the customer to buy. With many physical books you’ll find the description in the dust jacket copy as well as a summary on the back cover. Captivating the prospect needs to be done subtly while piquing the reader’s interest, just as the author of a thriller would do as she built in that white knuckle urgency to turn to the next page and the next…
Make no mistake about it, that description has to be super compelling. Writing sales copy is a specialty unto itself. It’s got to draw readers in, make them want to know what happens next. There are many clever ways to achieve this effect. In my experience most book descriptions are weak. If the blurb is bad I don’t want the book… even if it’s free. There’s just not enough time in the day.
Another thing I see all the time that’s like fingernails on a blackboard is how short most book descriptions are. Man, what are people thinking? You may have spent months writing the book and now, almost as an afterthought you want to knock out a blurb in ten minutes? If you publish through KDP you’re allowed 4000 characters. That’s about 800 words. Amazon is literally handing you the opportunity to advertise your book while giving you 800 words to get it done in one of the most robust marketplaces online.
A lot can be conveyed with 800 words. I’ve done an informal survey by looking at various Kindle fiction and nonfiction titles and the average book description comes in at around 250 words for fiction and around 300 for nonfiction.
Snag Two Big Birds With One Stone…
It’s almost impossible build any interest with two or three short paragraphs. Another important thing about your book’s description is that it’s also a chance to insert your best keywords into the page. Those are the words that, if chosen with care, will not only make a compelling case for a book browser to become a book owner, but they will also increase your visibility on Amazon’s Kindle search engine. Lots of people look for books randomly. And what impresses them? Title, cover and description.
I’ve spoken to many authors and most of them cringe at the thought of having to write ad copy for their books. And at the risk of being repetitive, your book description is ad copy. Though in the case of submitting a title to Amazon it’s Search Engine Optimized ad copy. The blurb serves two purposes. First, if it’s done right, it gets the book browser to buy. And again, if it’s properly written your description will be fully optimized with keywords people are using to search for books like yours. Think of that. Are you beginning to see how much power a well written book description has?
Some of the authors I’ve spoken to say they simply can’t write compelling descriptions. Others claim writing effective copy for the book is far more difficult than writing the actual book itself!
If you find yourself getting a bit queasy over what I’m saying I’d venture to guess that you relate to the dilemma. Your actual book is well written and informative. It’s just what the reader needs. But you’ve thrown a few haphazard paragraphs together as your blurb. That spells missed opportunity. Considering how much of a challenge it is to simply get a prospective buyer to your book in the first place. Doesn’t it make sense to close the deal by having a great description in place? Of course it does.
Please, Tell Us Whatcha Got!
One of my pet peeves about people marketing stuff online is they often don’t take the time to describe the stuff they’re selling. They make the unconscious assumption that everyone is as hip to their products as they are. And with that false assumption they neglect the most important part of selling: telling the buyer what they have! I see this nearly every day.
Okay, let’s tie this all together. I’m one of those authors who can actually write compelling book descriptions. Many people have told be so. I like doing it and I believe that’s what makes the difference. A few years back I was selling stuff on eBay and I took great pride and joy in writing exciting auction descriptions. People would sometimes email and tell me they bought my stuff because of the colorful and unique description. Take a look at the blurb for my latest novel, The Truth Witch. You might also want to check this one: Magic Radio.
Now be objective. Are those good descriptions? Neither of them took the full 800 words but are both well developed. They’re also chock full of keywords that users looking for science fiction and political thrillers use. And they contain keywords specific to the story and the genre. I’ve had friends tell me they wanted to read the books based on the blurbs. Take a look at this one: The Time Traveler’s Guide To Health, Wealth & Romance. At present, the blurb is the only thing driving this title.
If you’re serious about your success as an author you can’t afford to present any of your titles with lukewarm descriptions. I’ve already mentioned this but it bears repeating: It takes a lot of work to get someone to one of your Amazon book pages. And once there the big three immediately come into play: The title. The cover. And finally, the description. If you score high with each of these and your visitor is actually in the market to buy a book, you’ve got a very good chance of making a sale.
But if you’ve got a lackluster description you can be sure that visitor will click away and buy a book where someone has posted a description that immediately engages him, makes him want to know how things turn out.
I’ll Do It For You
On a limited basis I’ve decided to write book descriptions for other authors. And when I say a limited basis I’m not trying to build bogus scarcity into this offer. I mean it. If I were to take on too many book description assignments I wouldn’t have time to write my fiction.
If you need a compelling book description and would like to hire me here’s what I’d need:
- An actual copy of the book or manuscript
- Your synopsis of the story
- For nonfiction, an explanation of what the book is about.
- Why a reader would want it
- The benefits of reading it
- A link to the sales page
- What you were trying to accomplish in writing the book
One of the most important things a copywriter can do is identify the benefits of a product. Benefits appeal to emotions. Virtually everything people do is designed to make them feel better in some way.
A man doesn’t buy tools to fix a leaky faucet because he’s excited about working around the house. He buys a tool to make his life better. That might come about as a result of pleasing his wife now that the faucet is fixed. The feeling (benefit) he receives is relief. That’s really what he was after.
The same concept applies to your books. People buy books not so much for the knowledge but for what the knowledge will do for them, how they’ll feel after successfully gaining and using that knowledge. With fiction it might be as simple as feeling the joy of being an observer of the characters for several hours. The reader gets the satisfaction of being able to escape for a while.
Tell me the benefits of reading your nonfiction book. And for you fiction writers tell me why someone should read your story. Fiction readers also derive benefits from reading a book. What are they? Inspiration. Are people inspired after reading one of your books? Spooked. Are they frightened? Enlightened. Are they introspective on one or more of the points you’ve made? Let me know.
If you’d like me to write your book drop me a note using the contact form below and let me know. The price is $150 and that’s bargain. I’ve talked to and read blog posts by authors who have made their blurbs more compelling and immediately seen a dramatic spike in sales. If the title is already up send me the link and I’ll look it over. If it’s not published yet let me know what it’s about, fiction or nonfiction. We’ll take it from there.
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