4 Tips For Writing A Killer Book Description That Sells On Amazon

We’ve all heard the quote “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” when talking about judging people based on your initial impression.

However, in the literal sense of the quote, when thinking about selling books, your audience does indeed judge a book by it’s cover.

It’s obvious that you need a good book cover but what’s equally as important, and not as obvious, being the second thing that your readers will see, is a killer book description.

In this article I’m going to give you 4 tips that you can use to write a killer book description that will drive more sales:

  • 1. Make Your Book Scan-Friendly
  • 2. The Do’s and Don’t Of A Killer Book Description
  • 3. How To Format Your Description For Maximum Impact
  • 4. Writing A “Hook” To Entice Your Readers To Buy

Make Your Book Scan-Friendly

Penny C. Sansevieri, Author and CEO of Author Marketing Experts said in this article she wrote for the Huffington Post “How A Great Amazon Book Description Can Help Authors Sell More Books” that…

“…most people don’t read websites, they scan. So the same is true for your book description.”

According to a recent Google study, 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

Also, sites that load within five seconds see an increase of 70% in average sessions times.

An inference that can be taken from statistics like this is that people are spending less time on your Amazon page reading descriptions then they use to.

Therefore, the most important aspect of writing a killer book description on Amazon that sells is making sure that it’s scan-friendly and works with short attention spans.”

The key with developing scan-friendly text is to create short, two to three sentence blocks of text with specific formatting that allows people to get an understanding of your book with a short glance.

I mean like, 4 or 5 seconds…then if they are enticed they will read more, or they won’t.

In this article I’m going to show you how to get them to read more by giving you the tools to develop both a scan-friendly and enticing book description.

The thing is, readers may look at 100’s of other books just like yours before they buy, especially if you are in a bestselling fiction category like Mystery, Thriller & Suspense…therefore, making your Amazon book description the easiest to scan through versus other books in that category will make it stand out.”

In the case of non-fiction, which I’ll get into, it’s important to have headlines that speak to how your audience can overcome their pain points that are being identified and solved in your book.

If you keep reading I’ll be giving you some examples of some scan-friendly formatting from some successful fiction and non-fiction authors.

The Do’s and Don’t’s Of A Killer Book Description

According to Bryan Cohen, founder of Best Page Forward, a book description writing company, who’s written for well over 400 titles on Amazon, he says that descriptions for fiction and non-fiction books are
completely different.

Therefore, it’s important to talk about both, however, let me first focus on what’s required to write a great book description on Amazon for both fiction and non-fiction.

There are about 4,500 books a day being published in the US alone on Amazon, so it’s important that you are very clear on the core benefits of your book to your reader in your book description.

Don’t Be Vague

Therefore, being vague about the benefits of your book in your description is the biggest mistake that I see authors make on Amazon, and from the Authorpreneurs that I’ve worked with over the years.

I worked with an Authorpreneur not to long ago that was an HR recruitment expert for 20 years.

He had a book called “Screw The Naysayers” that broadly talked about how negative thinkers effect wether or not kids leaving college will get a job.

Now, the book itself was vague on exactly what it was teaching the reader.

Write A Book Description As Part Of Researching Your Book

So, what I suggested this client do, is to go back to the drawing board before he sits down to write another draft.

So I suggested he write 10 – 20 possible book descriptions before he ever starts writing again.

That way he can focus on the core benefits of the book for the reader, which helps guide the entire writing process.

This means that you are choosing your book category, conducting market research of your audience, and then visualizing what the end product looks like before you ever write.

You could also use a tool like KDP Rocket, to find out what readers are searching and buying on Amazon as part of your research, and then write your book descriptions based on popular keywords that people are searching.

Let’s dive a little deeper into how you can write a killer book description by actually looking at what you should and shouldn’t include in your description.

Based on looking at 100,000’s of books on Amazon these are the insights that I have about the do’s and don’t’s of writing a killer and profitable book description on Amazon.

The Do’s

  • Hook For The Reader

    Why should they keep reading? Here’s an example from Bryan Cohen’s book “The Dark Souls (The Viral Superhero Series Book 1)” pay particular attention to this sentence because it’s the hook. “The Dark Souls is the first novel in the action-packed Viral Superhero Series.

    If you like fast-paced thrillers, witty heroes, and evil villains, then you’ll love this high-octane series from USA Today bestselling authors Bryan Cohen & Casey Lane’s!”

    Take note of some specific keywords that are being utilized here “fast-paced thrillers” “witty heroes” and “evil villains.” To find keywords or phrases like these for your genre use a tool like KDP Rocket as I mentioned above.

The Dont’s

  • Table Of Contents

    This is one of those weird things that might confuse you as an author. Why would you not include the content of whats in your book?

    It’s because people aren’t interested in the content of the book when they buy. The most important thing to get the reader to buy is to tell them about what they’ll get when they finish the book.

  • Description Of Content

    Once again instead of focusing on the actual content, focus on the benefits your reader will get from the book.

    *Remember this applies to both fiction and non-fiction books.

  • Biography

    Don’t focus your description on you, focus it on the benefits for “them” i.e; your readers. If you have a biography that doesn’t specifically apply to the book, try and cater it to the book.

    Readers don’t really care who wrote it as much as they care about how it’s going to benefit them, so try and cater your biography to be focused around the reader.

3. How To Format Your Description For Maximum Impact

To understand formatting we simply have to understand how humans process writing.

The truth is we learn to process writing and language while intuitively we process images, meaning that we don’t have to work hard to process images versus language.

Therefore, how can we take this fact of human nature into account to make our description more enticing with text only on Amazon?

We can use formatting to create visual scan-friendly content.

Using HTML Formatting

Have you looked at other people’s book descriptions and wondered how they have bolded text, big headlines, and bullet points?

Of course on Amazon, you may notice that their is no formatting for your description.

Therefore, how can you include formatting on Amazon? You can by using HTML tags right in your description box.

If you aren’t a tech guy or gal, that’s ok, I’ll walk you through how you can use a simple tool to format your text like a pro with HTML.

Let me walk you through the kind of formatting you should use, and how you you can code it into your Amazon book description.

What Kind Of Formatting Should You Use?

Headlines

Strong headlines are the key to grabbing your readers in and getting them to read further. Considering using a headline that includes a core benefit and asks them to read more.

Consider this first headline example from bestselling author James Patterson:

To include a headline in your Amazon description just include a header tag. What the heck is a header tag?

Here’s a simple tutorial to generate a header tag for a headline.

Here’s how:

1. Go to: https://html5-editor.net/

2. Enter in your header text in the right field like so:

3. Now select the dropdown “formats” and you’ll be given the option to select different header sizes. Select Heading 1:

4. Then look to the box on the left and you’ll see that the tags where automatically added for a main header. Just copy the code and paste it right into your Amazon book description field.

Use this code as the template for all your other headings. You can also play with “formats” and have different sized headings.

Bullet Points

Bullet points are key to breaking up your text and listing the key benefits of your book to the reader.

I recommend with non-fiction authors to try and break up your text in this way when talking about the core benefits, and what you are going to learn by reading the book.

To create a bullet list:

1. Head over to the code generator again: https://html5-editor.net/

2. Paste some bullet points in the right box:

3. Select the text list that you just added and while the list is selected click the “bullet list” icon.

4. Copy the code that was generated on the left and paste it right into your Amazon book description where you want it to show up.

Bolding

Readers who are scanning through your description are going to process headlines and key text that can be highlighted through bolding. This is key to ensuring a scan-friendly description.

To bold use the generator as we did for the other formatting options.

Using a combination of these formatting types will not improve the overall visibility of your book on Amazon, however, it will provide a scan-friendly experience for readers that land on your book page on Amazon.

If readers are scanning through hundreds of book descriptions, that are in the same category as your book, and those books aren’t using formatting, like you, then your description will stand out.

So take your time and learn how to use these tags properly.

4. Writing A “Hook” To Entice Your Readers To Buy

What is a hook?

It’s the cliffhanger of the story, it’s a part of the plot that has to exist for the story to work.

For non-fiction it’s the promise of the benefits of learning something that will drastically change your life in some way.

Let’s talk about fiction first.

Ideally you want to present a cliffhanger of the story without giving away too much.

How To Develop Your Elevator Pitch

The cliffhanger, or hook is also known as the “elevator pitch” which is the shortest possible description of what your book is about.

You don’t want to take just an excerpt from the book, instead you want to take the key piece of the story that sells it.

Maybe it’s a flaw in the main character that carries the story line, or one specific event that changes everything…

What is the one thing that’s needed to convey the story, and entice readers to keep reading?

This is your elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is a 2-3 sentence description of the core premise of your book and it also:

  • works well with short online attention spans
  • is a great building block for the rest of your description
  • entices readers to read the rest of the description by capturing them right from the start

Non-fiction

For non-fiction the hook works in a similar way except you want to focus on the core benefit that the reader will get versus the cliffhanger of your story.

Maybe the core benefit is how you to write a book in 90 days and sell 2000 copies over 6 months.

Or maybe it’s teaching your readers a certain way to invest their savings with a promise of financial freedom in 10 years time.

Conclusion

Writing a killer book description on Amazon can be accomplished by using specialized formatting, and making your book scan-friendly for short attention spans.

If you use the following 4 tips to write your book description on Amazon then you will improve your current results, or have the best possible optimized Amazon listing for your upcoming books.

These are the 4 tips on writing a killer book description for Amazon that we covered today:

  • 1. Make Your Book Scan-Friendly
  • 2. The Do’s and Don’t Of A Killer Book Description
  • 3. How To Format Your Description For Maximum Impact
  • 4. Writing A “Hook” To Entice Your Readers To Buy

Please reference these tips covered above in this article to help you write a killer, and profitable book description on Amazon.