The alluring cover art and title have captured the attention of a potential reader. Where do they look next? Typically, the book description and reviews are next in line to assess whether or not a reader would like to invest their precious time and money into your book.
Creating book descriptions that convert to sales can prove to be a struggle. It acts as an advertisement for your book. Writing for advertising and writing a novel are two very different monsters. You also have a deep knowledge of the material. This can make it tough to remove yourself from the minor details and subplots to get a birds-eye view.
If you need some help, consider hiring a pro to either spruce it up or write the whole thing for you! In the meantime, here are a few guidelines to get you started.
Style & Formatting
- Audiobook descriptions must be a maximum of 2,000 characters in length, which tends to be about 300 to 500 words. Most of our sources recommend keeping the actual book description short and sweet - 150 to 200 words, broken up into 2-3 paragraphs. The remaining characters are typically used for prominent testimonials or review excerpts.
- Most resources suggest writing from a third-person perspective, but writing in the second person works particularly well in some genres, like self-help.
- Keep the language simple, clear, and concise.
- Many partner platforms will accept bullet points and simple formatting; most will not accept additional HTML formatting. Play it safe and keep it simple - avoid HTML altogether.
Content & Structure
- Make your genre clear. If your book is a psychological thriller, don't dwell on a minor romantic subplot.
- Use relevant keywords throughout the description that a potential reader might be searching for. Sprinkle in a few power words to trigger the emotional response your book elicits.
- Hook your reader in immediately with a captivating tagline. You could start with a bold statement or a rhetorical question
- Fiction: Introduce your main characters and simplify the main plot and key themes of your book. Hint at the conflict but leave out minor details and subplots - and definitely do not include spoilers! Pique your reader’s curiosity, let them know what the stakes are.
- Nonfiction: If you’re presenting yourself as an expert, it’s wise to let your readers know who you are and why you’re qualified to write this book. Tell your reader what they’ll learn and who the book is for.
- End on a curiosity-inducing cliffhanger that leaves them wanting more.
It's time to experiment on yourself! Hop into the shoes of your potential reader. Choose a few books and analyze the descriptions. You might choose one of your favourite books, a bestseller in your genre, another with an author you’re not familiar with. Read each book description and assess:
- How does the first line make you feel?
- Is it intriguing enough to make you want to spend your precious time and money on the book?
- What would improve it?
- How is it structured?
- Is there anything from the structure you could adapt for your own book description?
Need help creating your audiobook description? We’ve gathered up some resources from the pros that break down exactly what to include in your book blurb.
Reedsy - How To Write A Book Blurb: A Guide For Novelists
IngramSpark - How To Write A Good Book Description
Standout Books - The Perfect Book Blurb
The Novel Smithy - A Handy Formula For Writing The Perfect Book Blurb [Fiction]
Medium - How (and Why) to Write a Logline and a Tagline for Your Book
TCK Publishing - How To Write Book Descriptions For Fiction And Nonfiction
Scribe Media - How To Write A Book Description That Sells [Nonfiction]
NY Book Editors - How To Write A Book Blurb
Writers Helping Writers - Three Powerful Techniques To Harness A Reader’s Curiosity