The book cover is often the first thing a reader notices. But the book description is the author’s hook. The goal for every self-published author is to peak the reader’s interest so they are enticed to purchase your book. This might sound easy, but time and time again writers will include too much information, not include enough detail, or just fail at making an appealing book blurb.
Fiction author, Richard Ridley, has been writing books for more than 20 years, and is no stranger to marketing his work. Over the years, Richard has mastered the art of writing effective book descriptions, which have lead to stronger book sales. Check out his successful tips below and learn how to effectively write your next book description!
1. Don’t include subplots. When it comes to the book description, the only thing that matters is the main plot or main theme. That’s all you need to focus on when you sit down to write your book description. Including anything else will send you off into an endless loop of “then this happened” moments that will dilute your book description. What is the primary action that drives your book?
2. Keep it under 150 words. This, no doubt, will elicit some moans and groans by a lot of authors. Summarizing a book that consists of tens of thousands of words to just 150 is impossible, right? No. In fact, I am of the belief that you should be able to summarize your book in a single short sentence. Remember, you don’t have to concern yourself with the character development and sub-plots, so those tens of thousands of words it takes to adequately draw a reader into a book aren’t necessary when it comes to your book description. In the simplest terms, what is your book about and what will make readers interested?
3. Write in third person, present tense. Even though your book is most likely told in past tense, your book description is not. You are describing this book as if you’re sitting face to face with the reader, and they’ve asked you what the book is about. You wouldn’t speak to them in the past tense. In addition, the book description is told from third person point-of-view even if you’ve written your book from first person point-of-view.
4. Use emotional power words. You are trying to evoke emotions with your book description, the same emotions that your book evokes. To convey these feelings, you need emotional powers words like tormented, charismatic, passion, obsession, terrifying, etc. There are too many to mention here, but a quick search for “Power Words” on the internet will produces hundreds of words to choose from. Just be careful not to overdo it. Use power words sparingly and strategically. If I had to put a number it, I’d say in a 125 word description, you’d use 6-10 emotional power words.
5. You are not the author. You are not writing your book description as the author. You are writing it as the publisher. Making an impact on the reader is your principal concern. What will move the reader to want to know more about your book? What will motivate the reader to add your book to his or her cart? Write the book description with your head, not your heart. Remember, the book description is marketing material – not literature.
Another thing Richard suggests, and we at BookRix have suggested this as well, is to find your favorite author and books and read through all of their book descriptions. Chances are, they’re getting it right. If you write in a genre outside of what you typically read, then search for those specifically. Read as many as you can, take notes, and identify the formats used.
Richard provided an example of a good book description that he feels was written correctly. The following excerpt is from The Outlander, a Gil Adamson novel:
In 1903 Mary Boulton flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, she has just become a widow-and her husband’s killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to avenge their younger brother’s death. Responding to little more than the primitive instinct for survival at any cost, she retreats ever deeper into the wilderness-and into the wilds of her own mind.
According to Richard:
From the description, I know the book is a psychological thriller featuring a young woman on the run from some very nasty people. I get a hint that her husband may have deserved his fate, but I’m also led to believe that Mary Boulton may be mentally unstable. The description is roughly 90 words. It’s told in third-person, present tense, and I count seven emotional power words (”heart-pounding,” “frantic,” “tormented,” “mad,” “ruthless,” “primitive,” and “wilds”). I only know the main plot: she killed her husband, and now she’s a fugitive running for her life. I picked up the book because of its cover, but I opened the book because of this description. I now own it.
Keep in mind that your book description extends far beyond a side panel in online eBook stores. This description will be used for social media efforts, and for promotional material for your self-publishing efforts. It’s something for your fans to latch onto. Keep it punchy, clean and concise.
Happy writing, everyone! Best of luck with your book descriptions!
Getting published by a traditional publishing house these days is tough. Ask any writer about their publishing experience and you’ll hear a variety stories with poor results. The process can induce nerves and anxiety, even for those who have a thick skin. But when you think about celebrities and the famous people of the world, it’s hard to imagine them on the receiving end of a rejection letter from a publishing house. After all, they’re popular. Don’t people want to read about them? That’s what we thought. But yesterday we learned about Patti Davis, Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s daughter, who struggled to find approval with her latest book. Although she sings her literary agents praises in interviews, she says she was unable to get a book deal for her latest book Til Human Voices Wake Us. This fictional piece focuses on a mother who falls in love with her sister-in-law while mourning the loss of her husband.
But this wasn’t Patti Davis’ first literary rodeo. She penned her first book Home Front back in 1986. Unfortunately, it was not well received. This was rumored to have been caused by her families’ political involvement. Since then she has written 8 more books. Her struggle with publishing Til Human Voices Wake Us was the motivating factor behind self publishing. “With each of my traditionally published books”, says Patti, “I felt like I was dropping off my child in a strange city, in the senseless murder district, with, ‘Hope you make it’”. Sadly, many authors are familiar with this feeling.
BookRix was created to give writers a platform to publish and distribute their work while having a sense of control. Self publishing also eliminates the waiting game many encounter with traditional publishing houses. Getting your book out there shouldn’t be that hard. And when people, even famous people, are taking control of their book, it’s really encouraging.
“There is now a boundary line in my career separating being conventionally published and self published”, Patti says. “And I’m very much at peace on this side of that boundary line.”
Good for you, Patti. Your determination is commendable!
With the weekend approaching, that means more reading time. So let’s take a moment to focus on BookRix author Stanley McQueen and his witty tales of the people within the Muddy Fork community. He has penned a variety of enjoyable eBooks on our site. Today we recommend Mail Order Bride.
Willie North is a successful, hardworking pig farmer, known all around Muddy Fork as a kind man and a good neighbor. However, due to his weight and looks, Willie couldn’t attract a woman, no matter how hard he tried. He was the only single man in Muddy Fork, so in an act of desperation, he pays $1000 for a mail order bride. When word spreads, the whole of Muddy Fork is at the train station to greet her. Will she turn out just as he imagined, or will he end up with a broken heart? A Muddy Fork Short Story.
For those of you who don’t already know, Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Their mission is to help people find and share books they love. Basically, they are making reading more social and it’s working! If you’re an author who sells your books through Kobo, you’ll know just how important Goodreads is. At the moment, only people with Goodreads accounts can leave a book review at Kobo. You have to sign-in to your Goodreads account, search for the book, add it to one of your bookshelves (read, to read, currently reading), give it a star rating and then, if you want, leave a personal review about the book. This review will then automatically show up on the book’s Kobo page.
For indie authors, reviews can make or break the success of a book. Most readers find new books through word of mouth or recommendations from a friend. The great thing about Goodreads is that your friends can share their reviews and recommendations with you, or you can visit their profile to see what books they’re reading or read (and enjoyed) in the past. BookRix is similar, we add books to our favorites and add our reviews to the book info pages – then our friends can see what we think about other books on the site. Leaving a book review on BookRix is easy because all the free eBooks are already available on the site, and the self-published eBooks have accessible shop links. However, more often than not, indie books won’t be found in the Goodreads search. If a reader can’t find your book to leave a review, then other Kobo readers won’t know if anyone likes or dislikes your book. Without a review to read, they might not buy your book.
The simple thing to do is add your book to the Goodreads library. To add your book manually, here is what you do. You can visit the Goodreads Home Page, then click on the Find and add books to your shelves button which will take you to the search page. Then simply click on the Manually Add a Book button on the top right. Next, you just need to input your book info.
Here’s what you need:
1. Title and author name (*If your book is part of a series, you should add “Part One” or “Part Two” to the end of the title to alert the reader.)
2. ISBN (If you don’t know this, you can find it on the Imprint page of your BookRix book, you can also usually find it on Amazon – if not, contact our support and we’ll help you.)
3. Publisher (BookRix GmbH & Co. KG)
4. Date published (Again, if you’re not sure of the exact date, you can find it on Amazon, or on the imprint page of your BookRix book.)
5. Number of pages (If your book is a short story, just leave this part blank.)
6. Format (In this case, you would always select eBook.)
7. Edition (You only enter information here if you have published more than one edition.)
8. Description or Blurb (Just copy and paste it!)
9. Edition Language
10. Cover image (This is so important – it’s on the top right hand side and allows you to upload a jpeg from your computer. Don’t skip this step or your book won’t have a cover and we all know how important that is for potential readers.)
There is one more thing that you should know about Goodreads – it was just bought by Amazon. That’s one more major reason why your eBook should be in their library. Just because you’re an indie author, doesn’t mean you should be left behind!
*Don’t forget to sign up for the Goodreads Author Program – then you’ll be able to create a personalized profile page and promote your books.
The BookRix Young Adult Contest: Be The Best (Seller) You Can Be
Writing is your talent, your skill, and your greatness! Unfortunately, being an Indie Author comes with a downside: The grueling task of self-marketing. It’s a big, book-filled world out there, and without marketing, readers won’t know about you or your work. It’s kinda hard to be a Best Seller when nobody knows about your book, so let’s get you noticed!
Entering this contest could ease some of the pressures of marketing because BookRix will help you get your eBook out there to the world. Yes, we’re cool like that!
The top 2 winners in this “Be The Best (Seller)” contest will each receive a MARKETING PACKAGE for special book promotions, when their winning eBook is distributed via the BookRix Self-Publishing Service. This Marketing Package includes being featured on the BookRix website /blog/Twitter & Facebook fan pages/newsletter, external book reviews, possible blog tours and exposure on external sites with a possible feature in an eBook shop. A custom cover and editing service could also be thrown into the mix because, like we said, we are cool like that!
* You can only submit ONE entry so make sure that it’s your best work
*Anyone can enter however your story should be written for YOUNG ADULTS (YA) which is typically 13-17.
* Your entry CANNOT BE A BOOK FOR SALE
*Your entry MUST HAVE A COVER
* Your entry should be a novelette, 7,000 – 17,000 words and be a complete story (beginning, middle and end)
*Your entry should be PART ONE OF A SERIES with a minimum of 4,000 words
*If you are an over achiever (which we love!), feel free to enter a novel length book.
Submit your story in the thread, between April 3, 2013 through June 27, 2013 11a.m. EST, 4 p.m. London Time/GMT in the BookRix Free Writing Contests Entry Thread.
* One winner will be chosen by the BookRix Team and another winner will be chosen by the BookRix writing community, in a separate voting thread, from June 28 through July 8, 2013 11a.m. EST.
* Only quality books will be chosen so make sure that your entry is 100% proofread for spelling, grammar, syntax, etc.
HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST:
Submit a link to your eBook in the contest entry thread, on or after April 3, 2013, in the group Writing Contests on BookRix.com.
BookRix is always looking for great books to have published and we are there to help you get the exposure you need to market your eBook to become a more successful author. This contest is designed to inspire great writing to give you the push that you need to get your best out there and for us to help you get it further.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Creating beautiful eBooks is EASY!
It seems like the easiest way to create an eBook exactly how you want it to look would be to create a stunning PDF, right? WRONG! At this point, in the world of eBook technology, it is impossible to convert a PDF directly into an ePub. A PDF is a print format, so PDF documents are basically less-structured versions of their word-processor originals. While PDF content is made to look really good, it actually includes very little structure. And by that I mean that it doesn’t contain enough clues about the function of text elements (like bold, italics, spacing, line breaks, indentation, paragraph alignment, etc.,) or how they should be displayed in a different context (I.E. YOUR EBOOK). This means that converting a PDF document to ePub first requires conversion to a more structured text format, like Microsoft Word… So now you’re back to the basics.
As an author, you have to remember that an eBook just isn’t a print book. Look at the books on your eReading devices and you’ll start to get a better understanding. Each eReader is different. On my Kobo, I can even change the font type, which would totally disregard whatever the author initially chose. Honestly, I love this option. Years ago (before my love affair with eReaders) I tried reading a paperback copy of Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie three times and could never seem to get into it. Then, while visiting a friend, I picked up her copy and started reading it without any trouble. Upon closer inspection of my own copy, I realized that the font was just too difficult to wrap my eyes around. It was old fashioned and looked slightly smudged on the somewhat yellowed page. My friend’s copy was crisp and clean and so easy to read. As much as I miss the smell of an old book, being able to read The Brothers Karamazov on my eReader, in a lovely modern font type, is a dream come true. The most important thing about reading is actually being able to read. It’s not the smell of the book, the feel of the pages, or even adding another title to your ever-growing bookshelf; it’s about the story, it’s about imagination, and it’s about losing yourself over and over again to the power of a good book.
I’m off track. The point of all of this is that the formatting from a PDF can’t be extracted because it just doesn’t work as an ePub. If you want nice clean formatting in your eBook, all you need is Microsoft Word (for you Mac users out there, you can save your Pages doc as a Word doc). Using the BookRix Self-Publishing service couldn’t be easier with Word, just write your story and make sure each chapter title is formatted as a “Heading” (you can find the Heading option in the same tool bar as bold, italics and alignment – just look to the right, you can’t miss it) and then, when you create an eBook our editor will automatically set all those Headings as chapters. This way, when you download an eBook you’ve got a fully interactive table of contents. Easy-peasy, right? RIGHT!
Self-publishing is about freedom and ease, so take advantage of it and spend more time writing!
A new book category for YA lovers who want
their books to grow-up just like they have.
If you’ve grown up reading Young Adult books (YA) and you just can’t say goodbye to them, well, this is your ticket. Hold on to your youth for as long as you can. New Adult Fiction is the up-and-coming genre for eBooks – They still have the intense emotions and irrational behavior of YA Fiction, but with the serious responsibility, freedom, and romantic inclinations of an adult.
These are the coming-of-age books for people who have just discovered they’re no longer teenagers. The characters have moved away from home, maybe to go to University or to live on their own. They’re finally free of the ever watchful eyes of parents and guardians. Not only are they finding out what it means to be an adult, they are also learning how to handle so much freedom. They have complete control over their own decisions and can suddenly do whatever they want. This reminds me of the great quote: “With great power there must also come great responsibility.” (Fact of the day: You all probably heard that from Stan Lee (via Spiderman) but it actually originated from Voltaire.)
If you’re like me (and half the readers out there) you’re always going to love reading YA literature. However, you might also be starting to suspect that you’re getting too old for teen angst. New Adult literature is our saving grace. We can still read about young people falling in love, and watch the dramatic changes of a character who is gaining life experiences while leaving childhood behind, but we won’t be embarrassed to answer the simple question: What are you reading?
Check out USA Today’s Bestseller list – the Number One spot is currently being held by Jamie McGuire’s Walking Disaster. New Adult writer Carrie Butler says, “The e-book revolution pushed (New Adult) into the readers’ hands.” Readers were looking for books that bridged the gap between YA and Adult fiction. Of course, there is an element of sex in these books, but it isn’t the most important aspect, it’s more about self-discovery, the ups and downs of young love, and a happy-for-now-ending. It’s real and we want to read it.
While BookRix doesn’t yet have a genre for New Adult books, we’re suggesting that authors use it in their keywords. Discuss this new phenomena with our online community of writers, or search for free eBooks with New Adult content. Watch out, or you’ll be hooked! Not that being hooked would be a bad thing… You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t already ADDICTED TO READING.
Here are some great BookRix eBooks that could be marked as “New Adult” if it were an official category:
- "A Kevin Review" (7)
- Author Services (22)
- Book Blog Tours (8)
- Book Reviews (29)
- BookRix (320)
- BookRix Community (85)
- BookRix News (62)
- Charity Campaigns (7)
- Cover Art (2)
- E-Readers (18)
- Featured Authors (72)
- Featured Books (100)
- Free Writing Contests (34)
- Giveaways (7)
- Great Authors (22)
- Industry News (47)
- Interviews (8)
- Just For Fun (118)
- Self-publishing (31)
- Special Days/Months (73)
- Tips For Writers (70)