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Reading Between the Lines: Write a Book Description That Sells

How do you go about choosing the next book you’re going to read? Maybe beautiful covers draw you in, or perhaps you’re loyal to authors you know and love. Whatever your motivation, it’s likely you don’t hand over your money after simply judging a book by its cover. Reading the book description is such an important part of the book-buying process, which means it needs to be captivating. To guide you on your writing journey, we’ve compiled some tips that will help your books fly off the shelves!


1. Short and sweet


A well-written book description grabs the reader’s attention from the very beginning and keeps them hooked until the end. Keeping your description short and simple means you get your point across right at the beginning and don’t leave the reader guessing at what you’re trying to say. Using too many words can over-complicate the description very quickly and cause the reader to get distracted by other books on the shelf (or webpage).


2. Understand your audience


The description that appears on the back or inside flap of your book is a form of advertising. Try to imagine yourself as the reader of your book. What motivated them to pick it up? What are they trying to change or achieve in their lives by reading this book? Clearly state why this is the book they should be reading and how it could benefit them. Giving readers a reason for reading your book is a great motivator to add it to their reading list.


3. The element of mystery


After writing your book, you are so immersed in the details of it, maybe more than you ever thought possible. The benefit of this is that you know the content back to front and understand what needs to be included in the book description. The difficulties arise when authors try to explain a little too much, leaving no mysteries for the reader to uncover. What if your friend told you what she had bought you for your birthday before she gave it to you? The elements of surprise and anticipation would be gone! While it’s important to give a brief outline of the book, it’s also wise to exclude some of the more pivotal details. No one wants to read an entire novel before even opening the front cover.


While writing a book description may at first seem daunting, there’s no need to fear. You’ve already written the book, so you’ve been preparing for this step all along. Reading the book description invites readers into the world of your book and allows them to decide if it is right for them. As long as you keep it simple and write what you know, you’ll be off to a great start!