It's a common struggle. Authors write fabulous books all day long, but struggle to create compelling book listings for their Amazon sales pages. The result is inevitably that their high hopes of becoming a best-selling author are dashed when sales barely simmer instead of coming to a rolling boil.
While book descriptions come in all shapes and sizes, they do have a few common denominators. Likewise, there are several don'ts that come into play when crafting an Amazon sales page that converts. Let's look at some real-life examples so you can see firsthand what I mean.
DO Explain The Struggle
Whether you've created a business how-to book, a children's book or a novel, one marketing truth holds firm: Outlining the problems makes readers more interested in the solutions.
In the description above for a popular Stephen King paperback, you see a great example of how to do this. Phrases like “out of work,” “daughter is sick,” “afford to take her to a doctor,” “no hope,” etc., describe a pretty bleak outlook for the main character. The description goes on to explain that there is a way out for poor Ben.
As long as there is hope, people will latch on to a topic in order to find out what happens next, or how to do whatever it is that your book might teach them.
DO Leave Out Information
While the description above reveals how Ben will attempt to overcome his circumstances, it does not give away the plot. As a matter of fact, it makes every effort to exclude a good bit of information so you're left with a mystery.
Becoming a contestant on a game show sounds like a long shot, but a safe enough option for raising money fast. That is, until the author tells you that our main character might die trying and will become prey. With no more enlightenment than that, our imagination is left to run wild and drive us crazy until we buy the book to satisfy our curiosity.
DO Make It Clear How Readers Will Benefit
People don't buy books just for the fun of it. They buy books because they want something. Maybe reading fiction is a stress reliever that allows them to escape for a time. Reading business books gives them new knowledge and skills they can use to advance their career or earn more as an entrepreneur. It could be that they are trying to broaden their children's imagination or teach them to read.
Whatever the purpose of your book, communicate its value either directly or indirectly so the reader doesn't have to guess about the answer to the question “What's in it for me?” (aka WIIFM).
The example above does a good job of explaining WIIFM in the top portion of the description copy, but goes so far as to add some bullets that clarify the benefits even more. No, not every book needs to use this method, but in certain circumstances (like this how-to business book) it works well.
DON'T Be Too Vague
While you don't want to give away all the good stuff, you do want your book description to provide enough specifics to intrigue and entice readers. Compare the description above to the one from “The Running Man” and “The Reputation Economy.” The title “The Entrepreneur Mind” is much more vague and therefore a great deal less captivating, in my opinion.
Instead of “Lessons include how to think big, who makes the best business partners and what captivates investors,” give some details. For instance (and I'm completely making this up for the sake of example):
- Discover what steps entrepreneurs take to elevate their mindset above goals worth thousands of dollars to the million-dollar mark.
- Three never-fail “tells” that instantly let you know who would and would not make a good business partner.
- The language of investors and how to understand what captivates their interest and what sends them packing.
DON'T Include Reviews/Testimonials In The Description
There is a place for reviews and testimonials, and the book description area isn't it, according to Amazon's terms of service. Putting them here not only violates Amazon's rules, it also wastes space that could be used to expand your description if needed.
DON'T Ignore Your Target Audience
If your book is written for a specific group of people (or is applicable to everyone), you'll want to make it clear in your book description as indicated above. Otherwise, readers who won't find any value (or as much value) may purchase your work, be disappointed and possibly leave a bad review.
Since your book description is one of the few indications readers have about whether they'll like your publication or not, you want to make every effort to create one that is engaging and informative.
In my newest ebook, “Author Advantage: How to Create Amazon Book Descriptions That Sell,” I'll give you the quick fix you need to move from commonplace to compelling. In only about 60 pages, you can literally finish the book and begin writing your enticing book description in less than 1 hour.
Order your copy today!
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