Here are 10 book description hacks you can implement right now. The book description is a part of your metadata. And improving metadata should be an ongoing part of your publishing strategy.
Metadata is info about your book, used by stores and readers. It includes the author name, title, subtitle, series information, language, categories, keywords, reviews, pricing, and description. Accurate metadata helps search engines rank in the right queries. Optimized metadata boosts discoverability and engages readers.
The book description is one of the first things people see (along with the book cover design). As a core component of metadata, the description is something you want to fine-tune for better sales performance. Here are 10 low-fuss hacks to try –
#1: Double-check the length of your book description
Some say the sweet spot is between 150-200 words. But ask three different experts and get three different answers. So I recommend doing a bit of research. Check the top 10 books in your genre in stores like Amazon and see what the norm is. Though, generally, shorter is better.
#2: Include words or phrases your ideal readers would type out
Sprinkling keywords in metadata is about increasing the likelihood of your book getting searched. There are several ways to collect high-traffic keywords for your book, such as directly typing into Amazon’s search engine. Yes, conduct keyword research. Think of your target audience and the kind of words or phrases they'd type out. You know your content best, especially if you’re in a niche genre.
#3: Use easy language
Even if your book is at a higher reading level, the description should be consumer-friendly. Think: it's an ad. For ads, the rule of thumb is to tap into basic writing. Try checking your text's Flesch Readability Score with Grammarly (it's free). This score gives a number from 1 to 100. 70 to 80 is equivalent to an 8th grade level. You want to aim for a score lower than 60.
#4: Avoid time-sensitive language
Refrain from using words like “latest”, “recently”, or “coming soon.” You don’t want an outdated book description. That’s more editing work for you later on. We want timeless.
#5: Avoid messy HTML
Simplicity keeps people engaged across various mediums, especially with ads (psychology). Limit your HTML to: <i>, <li>, <b>, <p>, <br >, <ul>, <ol>, and corresponding end tags. Avoid hyperlinks if you can.
#6: Opt for simplicity
Emphasizing this further: go for simplicity. This means getting rid of superfluous words. Make every sentence count. Include paragraph breaks to break up longer blocks of texts. Use shorter paragraphs overall.
#7: Opt for bullet points
Another way to clean up your book description is by using bullet points or lists. We like these. They add a dash of dynamism to your text while delivering key messages in a concise way.
#8: Strengthen your headline
Bookstores like Amazon display only the first few lines of your book description. Aka your headline. To make up for this limited spaced, your headline should be really, really impressive. It should hold your strongest or most emotional hooks. Read more tips on writing headlines.
#9: Strengthen your first sentence
For stores that don’t use a headline section, add your best hook to the first sentence of your description. If you’ve won any significant awards, consider adding those too. Got a provocative question? Grab the attention of your audience right away.
#10: Use an ending hook
This is most commonly seen in the fiction category. An ending hook is pretty much a cliffhanger that makes the reader want more. Got one? Add it in.