Write a Superlative Book Description Using These Seven Elements


Beat the drum and help potential readers find your book with a better than average book description

In my upcoming book: Write a Book to Ignite your Business, I demonstrate not only how writing a book  can provide an awesome marketing tool for your business, but I also show business owners how to actually write the book. One of the first things I recommend they do is to write their book description.  The seven elements needed to nail it include: having a compelling hook, having a great thesis statement, putting it in present tense, writing in the third person (most of the time), using the right key words, using power words, and making the reader want  to read more by providing a cliffhanger.

  1. The Narrative Hook

Whether you are writing nonfiction or fiction, a hook draws the reader in, encouraging the reader to invest time in reading your book description.

Here are fourteen types of hooks:

Advice

Words of advice that will make an impact on your reader.

 

Anecdote

A short and amusing story about an incident or a person, usually famous.

 

Bold Statement

A statement or assertion that arouses an opinion or response from your reader.

 

Contradiction

A pair of concepts that don’t go together.

 

Definition

A definition (Caution—don’t quote the dictionary) of a term or concept that is relevant to your work.

 

Dilemma

A situation where a choice must be made between two or more, usually undesirable, outcomes.

 

Fact

An interesting fact from a reliable source.

 

Famous quote

A quote from a famous person that is relevant to your work.

 

Humor

A joke, quip, or scene that arouses laughter or amusement in your readers.

 

Personal experience

A short story about an experience in your life that is relevant to the writing topic.

 

Rhetorical question

A question that inspires curiosity, but that cannon be simply answered (but it should be addressed in your essay).

 

Setting

A description of a scene or setting that stimulates any of the five senses.

 

Simile or metaphor

A comparison of one thing to another, usually unrelated, thing.

 

Statistic

A startling statistic from a reliable source.

 

 

  1. The Right Thesis Statement

The right thesis statement is essay 101 and is basically being able to say in one sentence what your book is all about. If you can’t, then you don’t know your book well enough.

 

  1. Present Tense

Present tense means the action in the description is happening now and you want your reader to actively feel that your book is relevant now rather than in the past or even in the future.  Use words like “is” rather than “was” and “what people are saying rather than “what people have said” to emulate the idea that this book is a book for today.

 

  1. Third Person

In the case of most books, write in the third person “he” or “she” is doing this rather than” I did this” or “you did this”.  One exception is the how-to book where you might want to use second person in your description.

 

  1. Key Words

Do you know which keywords are frequently put in the search bar but are seldom written and that relate to your book’s topic?

 

Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.

 

It’s not always about getting visitors to read your book description, but about getting the right kind of visitors. The usefulness of this intelligence cannot be overstated; with keyword research you can produce the content that web searchers are actively seeking.

 

Understanding which websites already rank for your keyword gives you valuable insight into the competition, and also how hard it will be to rank for the given term. Are there search advertisements running along the top and right-hand side of the organic results? Typically, many search ads means a high-value keyword, and multiple search ads above the organic results often means a highly lucrative and directly conversion-prone keyword.

The key though is not to just throw in keywords that just have the best scores however. It is most important that the key words relate directly to what your book description (and book!) is all about.

 

  1. Power Words

Power words are words that excite the reader. The most powerful word is because. We will be more successful at doing whatever it is that we say because  we offer this reason.

 

Some words have been overused, however. “New and improved”, “more”, “free”, and a few others have become spam because they have been written a little too often and are no longer as powerful as they used to be. This is because of their over use and abuse.

 

One of the greatest ad campaigns simply used the ‘if then’ duo to sell its message. If you spend only five minutes a day then you will…..fill in what ever success you could imagine. Surely your have five minutes you could spend every day?

 

Simply put if and add an appropriate reasonable action with a resulting then. Use this power word duo and take note of how it improves your power of persuasion.

 

Let the evidence or the authority speak for you. Let the higher authority leverage what you say. Use the power words to act as the pry bar to give you that leverage. Use an anecdotal authority story as a group of power words in your book description to create a set of power words.  A story about how you did something that is in your book or a story about how something didn’t work and how you had to fix it.

 

More power words exist. A study of these words by googling “power words” can help you develop stronger reasons in your description for readers to buy your book.

 

7. Cliffhanger

Just as the hook draws the reader in to invest time in reading your book description, the cliffhanger encourages the reader to purchase and read your book. Put a cliffhanger at the end of your description that leaves the audience in suspense, wanting more than what the description offers and looking to the book to provide the answers that the description doesn’t .

Different Types of Books Require Different Applications of the above elements, therefore it makes sense to study how effective other authors have used these elements in their descriptions of the books within your genre and good luck your book!

2 comments
  1. Excellent advice, Donna, one of your best posts. This is not an easy thing to do, and it is crucial that it be done well.

    • 1authorcygnetbrown said:

      Thank you! Yes, what you say is very true. A great book description can make all the difference in whether a reader decides to read a book or not.

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