I’ve read some bad advice on writing an Amazon book description by an author of eight books, and that advice was to keep your book description on Amazon to less than 150 words.
Why was this advice given? Who knows? But it’s bad advice.
The person reading your book description on Amazon is about to BUY a book that they will READ, so sparing them more reading is NOT the strategy you should be using here.
People who buy books aren’t afraid to read, but they are afraid of buying the WRONG book. They don’t want to waste their time reading a book only to find out half way through that their purchase wasn’t for them.
The best way to get a happy customer who will give you 5-star rating is to write a thorough book description that provides information on what the reader will get. This is not the time to be brief.
The problem with this type of advice is that it comes from traditional booksellers, authors and publishers who were once limited to short copy on a traditional book jacket. Things have changed and they should take a cue from direct response copywriters who know how to sell products—most notably information products which are essentially reading materials that are not unlike a book.
What you may not know is that long copy has been used for years to sell magazine subscriptions, and it worked like magic because their audience loved to read. After all, why would they subscribe to a magazine if they didn’t like to read? Publications from the Wall Street Journal to International Living sold millions of subscriptions from long sales letters sent to their audience.
The debut letter for International Living was 8 pages long, and that letter alone launched a multimillion-dollar publishing empire.
Don’t buy into the “keep it short because people have short attention spans” business. People want INFORMATION; that’s why the Internet exploded. People were hungry for information. Give it to them.
Don’t make your book description short because you want to spare your READERS some READING. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You might as well spare your customers the changing room because you want to spare them the experience of trying on clothes. Sure, it’s not fun, but it SELLS clothes!
The funny thing about the author who recommended using less than 150 words actually has books on Amazon with book descriptions of over 300 words! But not all of his books, but here’s the kicker: the few books where his Amazon book descriptions exceed his recommendation of 150 words have more total reviews—by far—than the books that have a shorter book description.
I’m not a scientist or statistician but of the 8 books this author has on Amazon, there is a strong correlation between the number of total reviews and the length of his book description. Simply put, my observation is that the longer book description, the more total reviews and the more positive reviews. I’ve also looked at several authors and came to the same conclusion.
Here’s one thing to know about long copy (for anything): If it’s long, some people may shy away, but MOST people will see it as something worthy of looking at. We all value things that are big: cars, houses, parts of the anatomy and so on. We just like BIG. If it’s small, we don’t value it as something worthy of our time or interest. Amazon book descriptions are no different.
Amazon allows you up to 600 words on your book descriptions, so take advantage of all that space.
Authors are great at writing books, but salesmen they are not. And you would think publishers would have figured this out to. Not so fast. Some have, but many have not. I can see why.
It’s taken this long for traditional publishers to figure out that there is a whole new market out there, and they are scrambling to catch up. They just want to keep their heads in the sand and wish this new paradigm in book selling would go away.
Don’t look to them for guidance on writing your Amazon book description. What you need is a well-qualified direct response copywriter who knows how to CRAFT WORDS THAT SELL BOOKS.
For more information, please see other posts on this subject, or contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ash Waechter is a direct response copywriter who helps small businesses sell more products and services online. He also writes SEO copy for attracting readers from around the web.