What Is a Book Description

Glossary > Description

💬 Definition of a Book Description:

A description summarizes a book's content to give readers a glimpse into what the book is about. Some authors place the description on the back of the book cover, but you'll find it mostly on retailer websites, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Related questions about book descriptions:

What's the difference between book blurbs and book descriptions?

Although the two terms are used interchangeably, they are different. The book blurb is the short and catchy text that goes on the back of the book cover, meant to intrigue the reader. It's no longer than 200 words and usually contains a hook, the most important detail from its author's biography, and the main selling point. The book description goes more into the book's content, giving readers the central plot line without spoiling it. 

Who writes the book description?

Self-publishing authors usually write their own book descriptions. Some authors, however, choose to hire book marketers with copywriting experience to ensure readers will discover their books easily.  

How to write a compelling book description

A book description is part of your book's metadata, which is essential to get right for better sales.

Here are a few tips to help you write a good description:

  • Have an attention-grabbing intro: include key elements of the story, an award (From the best-selling author of…), or unique selling points of your book.
  • Think about your book's main conflict (fiction) or takeaway (nonfiction) to write a concise synopsis around it without giving out details or spoilers.
  • Include relevant keywords. Think about the way people search for your book without knowing its title. They can search for specific topics, a certain genre, or titles similar to those they've read. These are the words you should include in your description.
  • If you haven't started with this, make sure to include other published books or mention you've won awards or become a bestseller.
  • Add relevant comp titles.
  • Format the description to be legible. You can also bold some buzzwords to make them stand out even if the reader only skims through the text.

Does every online retailer use the same description format?

Your book description is part of the book's metadata. Each online retailer uses that metadata in different ways. The most obvious difference lies in their system for book categorization.

You'll notice this when it comes to Amazon, which has the widest selection of categories and sub-categories. Because it's one of the biggest book retailers, you should optimize your metadata after you check the Amazon categories. However, remember that this is a best practice for each online retailer where you distribute your book.

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