how to write better book descriptions

How to Write Better Book Descriptions

This post is sponsored by Dibbly Create. More about them later in the post. Some outbound links are part of an affiliate program where I’m compensated for any sales made through them. I appreciate the understanding and support.


how to write better book descriptionsIf you’re struggling to get any book sales despite all your best marketing and promotional efforts, then you have one of two problems:

  1. Your book cover is trash
  2. Your book description sucks

I’ve published tons of videos about the power of a high-quality, professional cover design using a variety of services including Miblart, GetCovers, Fiverr, Formatted Books, The Urban Writers, and more. Let’s focus on the area you can better control without having to invest a ton of money—book descriptions.

The job of the cover design is to attract browsing customers to explore more about the book. From there, the book description should entice browsing customers to buy your book. That part we have direct control over and usually don’t need to rely on an outside professional for assistance.

But, writing a book description isn’t as simple as providing a summary of the book. You absolutely must convince browsing customers their money and time will be well-spent on your book.

For that reason, I often refer to book descriptions as ad copy–short and persuasive text used in advertisements to grab the attention of a target audience and convince them to take a specific action. In this instance, it’s buying a book.

While good storytelling keeps readers hooked, devouring every page from front to back, good ad copy will do the same. Likewise, compelling nonfiction books should keep a reader consuming every last nugget of wisdom to get to the back. Ad copy functions much in the same way, but if you get it wrong, you’ll lose their interest.

So, how do you create a compelling book description that actually sells books? Let’s tackle it in a couple of different ways.

Primary Elements to a Good Book Description

As you can imagine, not all book descriptions are created equal. I could easily spend hours breaking down book description structure based on specific genres in fiction and nonfiction. Instead, let’s focus on the primary elements to a good book description.

For fiction, you’ll want:

  • A hook;
  • A brief summary of the plot;
  • To showcase the protagonist;
  • To highlight the stakes;
  • And, to create intrigue to entice readers.

For nonfiction, you’ll want:

  • A strong hook;
  • A clear explanation of the book’s purpose;
  • To highlight the unique value and benefits;
  • To showcase the author’s expertise;
  • And, to provide a call-to-action to encourage readers to take the next step.

But, you have to find a balance between sharing too much and sharing too little. For instance, in this book description for Our Stolen Pieces by indie author James Hunt, you’ll see a concise ad copy, but it leaves a lot to the imagination of the browsing customer. Sure, it’d be a great blurb for a movie, but for a book, browsing customers need more substance.

Two detectives, each with their share of personal and professional baggage, are paired together under the watchful eye of a newly minted lieutenant. The disappearance of two young girls at a slumber party prompts Detective Jim North and Kerry Martin to examine all facets of the girl’s lives, and they discover the girl’s parents are hiding more than they’re letting on.

how to write better book descriptionsThe author did manage to share a brief summary of the plot and showcase the protagonist, but he left out a hook, didn’t highlight what’s at stake, and provided only a little intrigue.

In the description for Book Marketing for Introverts by indie author IM Zono, again, you’ll see concise yet fairly dense copy.

As an introverted writer myself, I stumbled upon the inspiration for this book when I came across a meme on one of the Facebook Indie Author pages I joined with the aim of learning from fellow writers. The meme read, “I am an introvert, please buy my book.” The humor resonated with many of us in the group, prompting some to actually check out the author’s book. Surprisingly, I noticed this meme making its rounds in several similar groups I belonged to, posted by other writers seeking to grab attention. It still pops up at least once or twice a month. This humorous aspect of marketing as an introverted indie author had me thinking, this can’t be it. This can not be all an introvert is able to do to market their book. Especially after dedicating so much time and effort to writing the book.

I therefore decided to do some research, and in this book, I share different strategies a writer can use to market their book. Especially those of us who are an introverts.

how to write better book descriptions

There’s entirely too much storytelling and most browsing customers will pass. This author did an okay job with this description but has missed out on every aspect of a good book description from the hook to the call-to-action.

SIDE NOTE: I mean no harm by sharing these examples, so please don’t harass or beat-up these authors for the opinions I shared. I linked their books in this post so you can check them out and maybe grab a copy for yourself. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Now, we could all agree that hiring a professional book description writer might be the most logical next step, but what if you can’t afford to do it? Experts like Brian Meeks charge $150 per description while Bryan Cohen’s Best Page Forward runs $297.

You could grind it out yourself and get a little peer feedback through author forums or my Discord community, but that takes a lot of time and effort. While I still believe you should get peer feedback, having a more refined book description could save the back and forth.

If you’re anything like me, you might be a bit indecisive or overwhelmed at the task of writing a book description. I’ve spent hours crafting ad copy that I thought would surely convert to more sales, only to find it provided little results. Let’s save ourselves the time and hassle.

Using an AI Book Description Generator

I’m leaning on Dibbly Create’s AI assistant, KIP, to generate my book descriptions today. To get a seven-day free trial of the pro plan, visit my affiliate link at DaleLinks.com/DibblyCreate. Feel free to follow along and generate different iterations of your own book descriptions. You just might surprise yourself.

book description generator

Let’s start with a fiction description for my horror series, Infestate. Click on KIP in the top right corner, then choose the Description generator. Select Fiction from the dropdown menu, enter the genre, set the tone, then choose the input. You can either upload your manuscript with the File option or select Section if you’ve written your manuscript within Dibbly Create. I’ll select all sections so KIP gets access to my entire fiction manuscript. After that, hit “Generate” and KIP will whip something together in minutes.

Once you get the output, you can save it to your notes or copy and paste it elsewhere. Here’s what I got:

In the heart-pounding depths of terror, Harold, Cliff, Susie, Jon, Kai, and Jay stand as the last line of defense. With every step, they plunge further into the clutches of an infested mall, where disfigured creatures lurk in the shadows, ready to strike with ferocious brutality. Their survival teeters on a knife’s edge, their only hope to outwit and outlast the grotesque horrors that hunger for their flesh.

Within the crumbling walls of the abandoned mall, a sinister conflict erupts. The survivors’ desperate mission to flee becomes a treacherous dance with death, as the disfigured creatures are drawn to the slightest sound. Every breath must be hushed, every movement calculated, as the group fights to evade the relentless pursuit of their bloodthirsty adversaries.

In this nerve-shredding race against time, will Harold, Cliff, and Susie find the strength to silence their screams? Can they unravel the secrets of the mall’s labyrinthine corridors and discover an escape route before their tormentors claim their lives? In the face of unimaginable horror, the ultimate test awaits. Will they conquer their fears or be consumed by the nightmarish darkness that surrounds them?

how to write book descriptions

This description is fairly solid, but I’m not going to let AI do all the heavy lifting. I’m most likely going to trim up some sentences, break up the paragraphs, and close with a killer call-to-action. That description would’ve taken me hours to create whereas now, I have much more time to refine and perfect the ad copy.

I’d probably start with a stronger hook like:

Hell descends on a dying mall…

When bloodthirsty creatures arrive.

Will any humans survive the onslaught?

And, I’d close with a stronger call-to-action like:

You’ll love this nail-biting science fiction horror story, because it’ll grip you by the throat from beginning to end with no remorse.

Buy it now!

Last year, I wrote a nonfiction book tentatively called Networking for Authors. The good news is I already generated a book description for this manuscript, so all I have to do is click KIP in the top right corner, select the clock icon, then select the output for my book description. Looking briefly at the input, you’ll see what I inserted for prompts. All I have to do is save it to notes, and it’s good to go. I removed some of the headings KIP added to clean it up.

how to write book descriptions for nonfiction books

Here’s what it said:

Unlock the Power of Networking and Build Your Writing Career

Imagine stepping into a room filled with like-minded authors, literary agents, and publishing professionals. As you mingle, the air buzzes with excitement and possibility. Conversations flow effortlessly, connections are made, and opportunities for collaboration and growth abound. This is the world of networking in the writing and publishing industry. And with our book, you can unlock the power of networking to propel your writing career to new heights.

In today’s interconnected world, building relationships is key to success. Whether you’re an aspiring author or a seasoned writer, networking is the secret ingredient that can open doors and create endless possibilities. Let us take you on a journey that will transform your approach to networking and help you build a thriving writing career.

Here are the benefits you’ll gain from this book:

  • Learn how to navigate networking events with grace and confidence
  • Discover the secrets to crafting a compelling author bio that captures attention
  • Uncover effective strategies to expand your online presence and engage with writing communities
  • Gain insights on leveraging endorsements, book reviews, and networking opportunities during book launches
  • Find support, build a team, and collaborate with industry professionals
  • Overcome anxiety and start meaningful conversations that can lead to valuable connections
  • Embrace continuous professional development and stay ahead of industry trends
  • Expand your network as your writing career evolves and grow your opportunities for success

Step into the world of networking and unlock the limitless potential for your writing career. Start building meaningful connections today and watch your dreams become reality.

This book description isn’t too bad. Again, I’ll refine it a bit more, trim a few sentences, and cut down to six solid bullet points. My only nitpick would be to add a call-to-action at the end like “Buy it now” or “Get your copy today!”

Again, I’m confident that description would’ve taken me hours.

Could I use the descriptions as is? Sure, but I like to collaborate with AI and not just let it control all aspects of my publishing business. Should you find the output to be perfect, run with it. I like to infuse my descriptions with a little of my personality so when someone reads it, they know it’s undeniably my voice speaking to them.

Final Thoughts

This post is only the fifth part in an eight-part series about writing and publishing books that sell. Check out the first post in the series where I share how to develop and research your next book. Or, see what type of titles AI generated for my nonfiction book. Some of the suggestions are actually way better than I’d ever come up with. See you there!

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