How to Create a Powerful Amazon Book Description
In 10 Easy Steps
1. A Strong Headline Will Stop Readers in Their Tracks
We are bombarded with headlines everywhere we go. Whether it’s a blog, a newspaper article or junk mail, we see and respond to headlines… All. The. Time.
Your Amazon book description shouldn’t be any different. You have a product and that product is your book. Don’t forget that. So, you need to sell your product with a very strong headline.
Here’s a great example of a strong headline
Are You Looking To Explode Your Social Media Presence?
—David Kelley, author of Social Media: Strategies to Mastering Your Brand
If you’re ever stumped on how to come up with a great headline, always start with a question. Question headlines work really well because the answer will be in the text (of the book description) or in the book, so naturally your prospect will read your book description to find the answer OR find out how he/she can find the answer (i.e. the book you’re selling).
It’s the itch that won’t go away—until some reading takes place, such as your book description.
So if your book is about weight loss, you can ask, “Are You Looking to Lose a Ton Weight by the Holidays?” Yes, I am. How can I do that? I better read on to find out.
Here’s another example from Michael Richards’ book, Social Media: Do You Want To Grow Your First 10,000 Followers Within 3 Months?
No, I don’t. How dare you suggest a thing to me?
I’m being facetious. Of course I want 10,000 followers in 3 months. Show me how! Read the book? Sure, why not. That was easy.
It really gets you to read on to the next line because you want to know how to get “10,000 Followers.”
Let’s look at a different example.
WARNING: Do Not Read This Book If You Hate Money
—Allan Dib, author of The 1-Page Marketing Plan
Here’s another great example. How many times have you read a sign that said NOT to do something, but you did it anyway?
The other day I was fishing in the woods, and there was a small sign that said, “Do Not Enter.” This sparked my curiosity, and I immediately had the urge to disobey that sign. I didn’t but that sign really challenged and got me to notice it.
Telling people NOT to do something is a sure way to arouse curiosity, especially for Americans where we feel we have every right to do whatever we want. When someone tells us NOT to do something, we get our back up and try to figure out who has the gall to tell us NOT to do something…which what may be something we didn’t want to do in the first place, but it doesn’t matter.
Let’s move on.
So, this headline is works on that level. It tells you NOT to read the book if you hate money. This headline also works on another level, and that’s the warning message. A warning sign is also an attention grabber. It really stops people in their tracks. We know for our own safety to pay attention to warning signs, so this one is no different.
Here are some examples of the warning messages that can be used for your Amazon book description headlines.
WARNING: You might lose too much weight following the 6 simple steps in this book
WARNING: You might get client overload if you use the methods outlined in this book
WARNING: Your neighbors are gonna hate you when your begonias start growing like mad
As you can see these are PROBLEMS that we actually DON’T mind having.
- I don’t hate money
- I don’t’ mind if I lose a ton of weight
- I don’t mind if I’m flooded with new clients
These are all problems I can deal with.
So, if you’re not doing this, you should. You want to create a headline that will STOP people in their tracks. Remember, there are hundreds and thousands of books that your customer is browsing while on Amazon at any given moment. They are clicking here and there. Therefore, that headline really needs to grab them. In short, a question…a WARNING…or telling them NOT to do something will certainly get their attention. Guaranteed.
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2. Arousing Curiosity in the First Few Lines Will Get Readers to Read More
Once you have a great headline that stops people in their tracks, you need a great opener to draw them in. This isn’t always easy, but if you can do it, you’ve won another battle in the war of getting people to buy your book.
Let’s take a look at this opener for 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 10 Days! By JJ Smith:
“The New York Times bestselling 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse will jump-start your weight loss, increase your energy level, clear your mind, and improve your overall health.”
Whenever you make a strong claim, you immediately arouse curiosity.
There is no doubt that this book has a lot going for it, but the strong claims in this headline (or first few lines) really make you want to read what the book is all about. In other words, how will I be able to jump-start my weight loss, increase my energy, clear my mind and improve my health? I guess I better read on to see what these claims are all about.
This book has over 7,500 total reviews with an average of 4 ½ stars. That’s really impressive. However, this didn’t carry over to one of the author’s other books. Let’s examine it and see why.
Another book by this author: Why I Love Men: The Joys of Dating has only 9 reviews with any average rating of 3 stars. Here’s the first sentence of the book description:
“You want to be happy in your relationships, but it’s not always what you imagined.”
Not very exciting is it? There’s no strong claim. Nothing to stop you in your tracks.
To borrow from her first book I would suggest:
Why I Love Men will show you how to spot bad advice from friends…how to STOP wasting time on unavailable men… and how to STOP flying by the seat of your pants.
Not the greatest (I didn’t read the book and I only read the first half of the description), but you can see how a strong claim like will get a lot more attention than pretty much anything else. Like the headlines I mentioned earlier, it triggers a defensive posture.
Now, many believe that ratings will make or break a book. That’s just not the case. Many poorly reviewed books can still make lots of sales if the book description is powerful and persuasive. The reason why is because people know that when it comes to books (just like restaurants) it’s a matter of personal taste. It’s not like buying a piece of electronic equipment—where it either works or it doesn’t and bad reviews really do matter.
However, a poorly received book can make up for bad reviews by showcasing all that is good with the book and let the customer decide if he she wants to purchase the book.
Here’s another great opener:
“Do you want to stop living with stress, unworthiness, social anxiety, insecurity, anger, sadness, or a sense of lack?” –Noah Elkrief, author of A Guide to The Present Moment
Is there anything in there you could object to? Who wouldn’t want to stop anxiety, sadness and stress? Sign me up!
So, for a strong start right after your headline, you need to arouse curiosity right in the beginning. You will have about two or three sentences to accomplish this. If you don’t, then no one will read the rest of your book description. And your book description is your sales letter for your book! Don’t forget that.
3. Make Your Book Description Longer Than the River Nile
In an article titled, Millennials Are Out-Reading Older Generations, in The Atlantic shows how there is more reading done today than ever.
With this knowledge, why would you ever create a short Amazon book description? It just makes no sense. People want to read. So let them!
People Actually Like to Read
There is a reason why blogs have gotten so popular: because people actually do read. They like to read. And the reason people read is because they want information.
When you fill your book description with a lot of information you allow your customer to pick and choose what’s important to them.
When you’re writing a book description for your book, you’re making a case of why your customer should buy your book. You can’t do that if you don’t say anything. I’ve seen too many book descriptions that are less than 150 words (usually because of bad advice).
Amazon allows you to use up to 600 words (and some cases more) on your book description, so use them. This is NOT the time to be brief. After all, your customer is BUYING a BOOK, so why would you think they would not want to READ. It’s silly to think that a reader wouldn’t read a full book description.
The people who don’t read the full book description have already decided to buy your book. Everyone else is on the fence. They need more information and a nudge. They need to know why it is in their best interest to buy your book.
If they have any objection on buying your book, here are they may have:
- Cost too much
- Don’t’ have time to read
- Not for me
- I don’t believe the claims (on the title of the book)
Your job is to address and refute those claims. And you can’t do it in less than 150 words.
For the price of a cup of coffee, you will gain insight on how to build your e-mail list on your morning commute with this proven system.
Do you see how I crammed all those objections into one sentence? I wouldn’t recommend it, but this is to show you how can do that.
- Cost too much – “price of cup of coffee”
- Don’t’ have time to read “morning commute”
- Not for me “build your e-mail list”
- I don’t believe the claims (on the title of the book) “proven system”
Normally, you would want to address each objection one at a time rather than cram them all in one sentence like I did. Let’s take another crack at it.
For the price of a cup of coffee, you could hold in your hand the one book that will show you how to easily build your e-mail list far beyond what you ever imagined. If you’re struggling with your business, you’ll see returns in no time at all with this proven system that has worked for thousands–and just takes just a few days to master.
In just two sentences I was able to address:
Cost too much
For the price of a cup of coffee. Granted this has been used a lot—but it works. It really instills the guilt factor. Someone probably just spent $4.45 on a Caramel Macchiato and now they are considering on buying a book on how to make their business grow.
If someone can’t see how a book that makes their business grow is much more valuable than a cup of coffee, then there is something wrong with the world—or the book description is unconvincing.
Don’t have time to read.
If it takes “just days to master,” then reading it must not take that long. We could have been more explicit in the reading part but it’s implied with the “mastery” part.
Not for me
Nearly everyone is struggling with their business so how can it possibly be “Not for me.” Again, this could be more explicit such as mentioning managers, accountants, business owners, entrepreneurs etc., but this is just a quick example. The line “see returns in no time at all” is certainly for me—and for all of us who want our businesses to grow.
I don’t believe the claims (on the title)
Here you should really work hard to show how your system works. In my example, I just inserted “proven system that has worked for thousands.” Here is the proof that this system has worked.
So, as you can see, making a case for your book will take a lot of thinking. Granted, I made a pretty strong case and I addressed four main objections in only two sentences, there is still needs to be a lot of work to do to convince someone to press that Buy button. Don’t think one or two sentences will do the trick. When you try to cram it all in one or two sentences, it starts looking like a headline.
Unlike a quick snappy headline, the body copy needs to elaborate on all of those objections.
Also the body copy needs to reveal what’s inside. What’s important for one person may not be so important for someone else.
Weight loss books are big business. Some emphasize just weight loss while others also mention healthy eating. If your book covers healthy eating then that needs to be covered in the book.
Don’t be brief for brevity sake even if your book is about being brief:
Although it may look that way, this image wasn’t cropped. This is the whole description. It really doesn’t really tell me much other than the author practices what he teaches except that “simplify” doesn’t really mean brief. As you read on, you can have a lot of info but still be simple.
I recognize that this is a best-selling author, but if he hopes to get more people interested in his book here on Amazon, he really needs to put some more meat on his book description.
4. Bullet Points Are the Lifeblood of Your Book Description
Bullet points are extremely important to the readability of your book description. It breaks up your text in readable chunks. Most of the time, people will read the bullets first and then go back and read the other text.
You have to remember that people are scanning and skimming your copy. They will read your headline, maybe your opener and then jump down to the bullets.
Renown copywriter, Ben Settle, said in his book, Crypto Copywriting Secrets that it’s “…it’s all about the bullets, baby.” And it sure is.
There is a right way of creating bullet points and the wrong way. I show you examples of both
Don’t waste bullet points on garbage. I found these nonsensical bullet points in a weight loss book:
Here Is a Preview of What You’ll Learn…
*Deciding to Get Started on Your Weight Loss Goals
*Choosing a Weight Loss Plan
*Setting Goals for Your Success
*Easy Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated During the Hard Times
*Weight Loss Tips
*Weight Loss Myths That are Slowing You Down
*Much, much more!
The first three are the same: goals. And the last ones don’t reveal anything new. The best way to see if your bullet points are effective is to paste them onto another book description. If they fit, then they’re garbage.
Make your bullet points stand out and don’t make them too long:
These bullet points are much too long and defeat the purpose of having bullet points. Bullet points should be short and show a real benefit.
Here is a good example of bullets points:
These points are shorter (one line each) and show a real benefit. Bullet points become ineffective if you write garbage and/or if they exceed one line. The whole purpose is to catch someone’s eye. In contrast to what I said earlier, some people don’t want to read or they don’t have time. This allows them to get the gist of what your book has to offer on the inside.
The more specific you can make your bullets, the more effective they will be. Avoid things like:
- Reach your goals
- Get more sales
- Manage your time
- Ways To Express And Leverage Your Value
What goals? Sales? How? Manage my time? Really
These bullet points didn’t answer any of the questions in my head and makes me not want to bother reading more.
The last bullet, I got from an actual Amazon book description. “Ways”? How many ways? It wouldn’t hurt the author to count up how many ways he was thinking of when he wrote that, so a more convincing bullet point would be:
- 7 Surefire Ways to Express and Leverage Your True Value
Okay, that got my attention.
Just like your opener and headline, you want to arouse some curiosity. Don’t be vague. Give details.
Another way to get people curious about what’s inside a book is to say things like:
- The number one way to relieve back without getting out of your chair
- Two things to do upon waking up
- Why doing these three exercises will actually hurt you
Here is another list of bland platitudes that don’t really mean anything:
Learn how to:
* Create more demand for your skills
* Leverage LinkedIn to accelerate your career
* Gain access to the hidden job market
* Build your professional network
* Write a resume that stands out
* Get better telephone and face-to-face interview results
* Negotiate better offers
* Resign with less pain
* Manage your job search if you’re unemployed
These are all rather bland. “Write a resume that stands out”? Really? I never thought of that before.
How about: “Discover this 5-minute exercise that will get the attention of every recruiter.” Not the best, but not the worst.
Here a few more of my suggestions:
- Seven magic words that will get your resume to stand out from the stack
- Four words that you should NEVER put on your resume
- 50 Questions the hiring manager is thinking when reading your resume
See how these are a little more intriguing? You want to know what those seven magic words are. I’ll talk more about being specific below.
Bottom-line, as I will repeat this form time to time, if you can copy your book description and put it on someone else’s book, then you need to put in more work. Don’t under estimate the power of a good book description on Amazon. It could make or break your book.
5. The More Specific Your Book Description Is, The More Believable It Will Be
In his book, Get Paid For Your Pad: How to Maximize Profit From Your Airbnb Listing, Jasper Ribbers is very specific in his Amazon book description.
Let’s take a look at a portion of it:
This certainly got my attention:
How Jasper went from making $24,000 per year to $60,000 from his apartment in Amsterdam
You should highlight any specific stories in your book description. Where authors get hung up is if it’s too specific, then the book would alienate those people who cannot relate to what was mentioned in the book description. Possibly, but being specific solidifies the sale for those that can relate. And the real money is from your true believers, not the people are on the fence.
You’re far better off in being specific than being vague. When you’re vague you might think you’re appealing to everyone, but in fact you appeal to no one. It’s kind of like “Jack of all trades, master of none”
After I read that powerful bullet point mentioned above, I went back and read this in the intro:
Even just renting out a spare room could bring in well over $1000 a month!
That’s very specific. The author could have just as easily said, “Make lots of money month after month” but what does “lots” mean anyway?
Ribbers is specific. Sure he may alienate those that think $1,000 a month isn’t worth it, but he’s got the attention of those who thinks it’s worth it. And they believe this book will give that $1,000 to them because the book description specifically said so.
Here’s another claim from another book that’s specific and certainly got my attention:
If you take only 10 percent of the information and ideas in this book and put them into practice, it will change your life. I promise.
– Jesse Krieger, author of: Lifestyle Entrepreneur: Live Your Dreams, Ignite Your Passions and Run Your Business From Anywhere in The World
The specific point here is “10 percent.” Krieger didn’t say, “Read this book, and it will change your life.” He was specific in what the reader must do to change their life.
Here’s another example from Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek:
Here some of the highlights from that screenshot above:
- How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
- How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
- How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
- More than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point
- Real-world templates you can copy for eliminating e-mail, negotiating with bosses and clients, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal
Ferriss uses numbers like $40,000, $5 per hour, 50 practical tips, and $8 a meal. These are the specific things that gets people’s attention; AND they are the things that people can relate to. Words like “a lot,” and “many” are vague and can mean different things to different people. But everyone knows what “50 practical tips” means.
Here’s another example. Instead of showing numbers and stats, Michael Bungay Stanier in his book, The Coaching Habit, shows specific concepts things that can only be found in his book. Take a look:
– Get straight to the point in any conversation with The Kickstart Question
– Stay on track during any interaction with The Awe Question
– Save hours of time for yourself with The Lazy Question
– and hours of time for others with The Strategic Question
– Get to the heart of any interpersonal or external challenge with The Focus Question
– and The Foundation Question
– Ensure others find your coaching as beneficial as you do with The Learning Question
Not one of these concepts can be copied and pasted into another author’s book description. They are very specific to this book. Concepts like “The Kickstart Question” almost seem like a trademarked phrase. No one is going to look at this list and say, “Oh, I can get info that on Larry Gardner’s book,” or “I can just look that Google that.” Where else are you going to find the answer to “The Lazy Question”? Nowhere!
So in order to stand out and convince your potential buyer that the information you are selling cannot be found anywhere else, you need to put specifics in your book. If you have numbers and stats, put them in there. If you have names and places in your book, put them in your book description.
Being vague is not going to help convince people that your book is unique and that they cannot find that information anywhere else. Remember, you’re competing against hundreds of thousands of books in your genre. Outside of your genre, you’re competing with millions of books! Make your book memorable by being specific in your Amazon book description.
6. Don’t Just Tell Your Book, Sell Your Book
Don’t let the word “book description” trip you up. You shouldn’t just merely describe your book; you should SELL your book. Despite what a lot of people say, people do want to be sold to.
Have you ever gone to a store and you are at the checkout counter and the cashier makes a comment like, “Oh, these are good. You’ll love these”? Don’t you feel that much better about your purchase? Granted, the cashier’s comment came after you made the decision to buy the product. But get this: that little bit of selling by the cashier greatly reduces of in-store returns.
This happens to me a lot: I go to the movies and the usher rips my ticket says, “Oh, that’s a great movie. You’re gonna love.” Guess what? I enjoy the movie that much more. I almost feel obligated to enjoy the movie. How can I not enjoy the movie with an endorsement like that?
You’re probably wondering, “What does all that have to do with an Amazon book description? People read the description BEFORE they buy the product.” True. However, the same mind games are still at play here. Let’s look at how they sell movies on TV.
They don’t tell you the story. They do show some scenes to give you the gist of the movie, but then have a lot of testimonials like:
“It’s great!” says Rolling Stone.
“A real joyride,” says Time Magazine
“Two thumbs up,” says Roger Ebert
Okay, so you may not have any testimonials to throw in there—more on that later—but read on for more selling tactics.
I just watched the trailer on TV for Moana, a recent Disney movie. I looked online to see if I could find the trailer for it. On YouTube there are nearly 12 million views! These are people willing to watch an advertisement, selling them a product! Don’t tell me people don’t want to be sold to. That’s ridiculous.
The problem people have with being sold to is from all of the stupid messages that show up on Super Bowl Sunday. Sure, they’re entertaining on Sunday but any other day, there’ just down right stupid.
If you sell people in the right way, like in a movie trailer, you’ll get their attention and appreciation.
Let’s take a look at telling versus selling:
This is from the book, Idea to Execution: How to Optimize, Automate, and Outsource Everything in Your Business by Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg:
When Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg launched their high-end virtual assistant (VA) company, Less Doing™, they changed the culture of startups forever, effectively debunking the gospel that every new venture requires months of pre-planning and a hefty investment of capital. A business born from scribbled notes on a cocktail napkin during dinner was an up-and- running concern less than 24 hours later, ingeniously brought to life with the help of free, readily available digital tools and apps and no outlay of cash whatsoever. Meisel and Sonnenberg reveal how a scalable startup is done to perfection in this fascinating and informative chronicle of their first year in business together. An essential read for any budding entrepreneur, it follows the creative commercial process from inspiration to inception to success, detailing a bold new approach to 21st century business based on a fearless ingenuity and a willingness to rewrite the rules.
This is the whole book description and all it talks about is how the authors started a business. They never answered the proverbial, “What’s in it for me?”
The closest it comes to answering that question is in the last line: “An essential read for any budding entrepreneur…” This might be a good book, but this book description doesn’t nudge me to investigate any further.
This description needs a headline, some bullets and bunch of reasons why I should read this book.
Since this book has to do with outsourcing and automating, I would think they would address the pain points that people have usually have in their business such as:
- “We can’t afford to hire people because the high cost of health care.”
- “I have too many projects with too little time.”
- “We only need people during the holidays.”
- “We’ve hired Virtual Assistant in the past but they didn’t work out.”
These are the pain points that their audience has, so the description could say something like:
If the rising cost of Obamacare has you cutting staff while still managing the same workload, then this book will show you how you can:
- Handle all your projects with virtual assistants with ease
- Only hire people when you need them without wasting time and money
- Understand the nuances of outsourcing so you can reap the benefits fast
Admittedly, this is awful, but I didn’t read the book and I only spent two minutes on it—about as long as it takes me to type this. The point is: this book description as is was just describing the book or rather telling their story (which has its own benefits) but doesn’t actually tell ME why I should BUY THEIR BOOK.
I need to know what’s in it for me. Will I become rich? Will I become less stressed? Will I discover something new about myself?
Remember, your Amazon book description is actually a SALES PAGE that requires sales copy.
7. Explain How Your Book Solves Your Reader’s Problem
Other than looking for entertainment, people’s main drive in purchasing a book is to solve a problem—whether it’s putting up bookshelves or managing belligerent employees. Therefore, you must show how your book solves their problem. Sadly, too many books just rely on the cover and the title to show how that book solves one’s problems. But that is simply not enough.
To solve a problem, you must address a problem. You must show the pain your customer is having. If someone is looking up a book on home repair chances they are looking to solve these general problems:
- Can’t afford to hire someone (plumber, roofer, etc.)
- Too many issues to resolve with hiring people
- Don’t want strangers in the house
- I have strong need to kill time (i.e. I need a hobby)
What a lot of books tend to do is focus on features. Features are great but that’s not what makes the sale. The benefits—or solving one’s problem—are what sells the book.
I came across a book called Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual. The book description went on about how many photos were in the book and how it was updated to reflect the latest technology, but it didn’t say how it was going to solve my most pressing problems.
Here’s my quick rewrite:
End the frustration of hiring people, not getting projects done and overall lack of knowledge of keeping your home a profitable investment.
Okay, not the greatest headline. I wrote it in about five seconds, but it attempts to address how the book will solve people’s problems
Compare that to what they had:
The leading manual for home improvements is getting an update to address current codes, latest materials, tools and technology.
These are my suggested bullet points for addressing a customer’s problems:
- Light bulb stuck? Easy removal on page 45
- Why hire an electrician when you can follow these three easy steps in chapter 4
- Three ways your home water meter could be ripping you off and how to fix it
- How to replace smoke alarms safely without worry
Even if you don’t have an electrician come in and do the work, this book will help you from getting ripped off. Your home is the single biggest investment you’ll ever have, protecting it from weather, deterioration, fires, water damage and so on is the best step you can make to ensure that investment is profitable in years to come.
If you were looking over my shoulder, you will see that I didn’t spend a lot of time on that, but it’s more problem solving and motivation toward a sale than what they had written:
Written in a style of text that addresses readers in a very accessible, conversational tone for easy, user-friendly assistance with every do-it-yourself task. All instructions and materials have been updated to address current codes (electrical, plumbing and building), and revised to indicate the very latest in materials, tools, and technology.
That’s all great info, but it doesn’t really solve any of my problems. It only really addresses one problem, which is the complexity of do-it-yourself manuals. Again, that description is focused on features of the book, not the results of reading the book. You should focus on the results.
A book description for a book on how to be a millionaire shouldn’t focus on how easy it is to READ the book, but on how easy it is to BECOME a millionaire—if there is such a thing.
So, the simple rule is to focus on benefits NOT features of your book and say in the description how that book solves the reader’s problem.
What are the most common problems people want to solve?
- More money
- More love
- More friendships
- Be happy
- Less stress
All these can be addressed in nearly every book. Onward and upward.
8. How to Create Easy to Read and Attractive Formatting to Catch Reader’s Attention
Most people like skim and scan an article before they start reading. Having a proper format will get people to read your book description more easily.
In Greg Koorhan’s book, Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me, he shows a very easy to skim-and-scan format:
You can easily grab tidbits with a quick scan such as: “communicate your unique value” or “step-by-step guide” Who doesn’t like step-by-step guides? Nobody!
Many authors who aren’t familiar with the nuances of direct response copywriting may find this format to be too salesy or unattractive, but the bottom-line is that this type of format WORKS because people like to skim and scan an article, book description, etc. They like it because they can get a good overview of what’s there to read in about one or two seconds.
Contrast that easy to read book description method with this Amazon book description below:
As much as I said before that people want to read, the above description with its un-scannable format just seems like too much reading for me. Maybe I’m lazy or maybe I’m in a hurry, but the fact is that content like this just isn’t going to be read as much as the content in the first example. That’s just a real simple fact of life.
If you don’t like a salesy approach, you can still make the format attractive.
This book, Level Up Your Day: How to Maximize the 6 Essential Areas of Your Daily Routine by S.J. Scott and Rebecca Livermore is another great example of good formatting on a book description:
It’s neat, clean and easy to read.
There’s a good bold headline, well-spaced paragraphs and some attractive one-line bullets. Not too many bold or underlined words. I’m not saying this is either better or worse than the first example. This is just another example of good easy to read formatting. Also, it has a nice call to action at the bottom (more on that later).
Not only will nice formatting catch a reader’s attention, but it is more likely your reader will read the entire book description.
This blog post doesn’t go into the technical aspects (i.e. html) of the formatting process for Amazon, but keep in mind that this is how you want your book description to look. You’ve worked this hard on your book, don’t crap out now. Either figure out how to do good formatting or hire someone to do it for you. It will be well worth your effort and investment.
9. Testimonials & Reviews
Take advantage of the reviews that your book already has. Use them to gain insight into how people feel about your book. You get an understanding of what they think is the most important aspect of your book. You may think one thing about your book, but the reality may be something differently in your reader’s eyes. Pay attention to that.
In this article, they explain how some products had unintended uses:
For example, Viagra was intended to lower blood pressure but feedback from trial participants gave a different benefit and the rest is history. So listen to your viewers.
And Frisbees® were originally pie containers, so you never know what you’re really selling until you read the feedback from your reviewers.
Reads the reviews and take them to heart. So, what you may think is important is not what your user thinks is important.
Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers wrote a great article on how “mine” headlines and copy from user reviews. Take a look here: https://copyhackers.com/2014/10/amazon-review-mining/
You can even use actual quotes from your book reviews. After all, those reviews are in the public domain and are on the same page as your book. As of this writing, I don’t know of any restrictions in using a quote from a review in your Amazon book description. There may be some conflict if used elsewhere.
Let’s take an example:
Here are some possible headlines from Charles Duhigg’s fans:
- Not your Typical Book on Habits!: Unique, Useful & Informative
- Re-engineering your habits works where willpower would eventually fail.
- Habit Changing is Life Changing!
Usually the best headlines rise to the top. That’s how you’ll know they are good headlines. You can use them as is in the body copy or rework them into your headline.
In your book description you can say,
Here’s what other readers like you have to say about our book,
- “Fascinating, practical, informative”
- “One of those few great books everyone should read.”
- “I’m telling everyone to read it”
- “Simply brilliant”
Starts to seem like a TV commercial for a Broadway play, doesn’t it? So what! It works. These testimonials are pure gold, so use them in your book description.
Be sure to dig deep and find those nuggets. They’re in there.
10. Strong Calls-to-Action Will Make the Sale
Nudging someone toward the sale will get the fence sitters to make a decision—usually in your favor.
Here are some really good calls-to-action
Patrick King’s Science of Likeability
Don’t hesitate to pick up your copy today by clicking the BUY NOW button at the top of this page!
Another one by Patrick King, from Fearless Social Confidence:
To conquer your fears and reject rejection, click the BUY NOW button at the top right of this page!
To learn more about calls-to-action, click here.
11. Bonus: It’s All About Your Customer
This should go without saying but since writing this blog post and reading dozens of good and bad Amazon book descriptions, I guess I need to say this: It’s not about you. It’s about your customer.
While you want to sell you book and you want everyone to get excited about your book, don’t forget it’s about your customer. Your customer cares more about solving their problem than you being a bestseller. Yes, that’s true. Take it to the bank. So, yes you can brag a little bit, it’s more important that you include your customer into the conversation.
I’ve seen plenty of books that have thousands of reviews and the only thing they have in their book description is a few hundred words. Sure, they have thousands of reviews and hundreds of thousands of sales with just some brief sales copy. But just think of how many more review and sales they could have had if they applied the ten rules that I’ve presented here, AND put the customer first. I guarantee they would sell MORE books. Guaranteed.
Let me summarize: There are many really bad Amazon book descriptions—not because they don’t apply these ten items I just listed. NO, but because they DID apply the ten items I just listed and did it in a very bad way. Either they were too salesy without showing substances—or too long without good formatting. Or just off-putting in every way. Writing a good Amazon book description takes a lot of time and cannot be just slapped together.
Like I said at the beginning, “book description” is somewhat of a misnomer, because it really is a sales page for your book. And a good sales page doesn’t come off as a sales page; it comes off as a book description that shows:
- Value to the reader
- Informs the reader
- Gives reasons to buy
If you’re going to put in all the hard work of writing a book and marketing it, at least go the extra mile and write a really good book description or have someone write it for you. And this is where I come in. If you want an Amazon book description that will sell more books, contact me via e-mail, this form or by phone.