I've been struggling with book descriptions or so-called "blurbage." I've seen some really great ones on books that don't really sell well, but more than 1-2 copies a week. Then I've seen mediocre blurbage on books that sell incredibly well--10-20 copies a day! I've been trying to figure out why one works and the other doesn't by analyzing the blurbages, themselves. I'm coming to the conclusion, it's not just the blurbage. But, of course, I already knew that.
Back in 2011 I wrote a 2-part post on 7 sales tools you have for selling your books. Make sure you're using them all! Then this past December, I went over 5 easy steps for writing a book's description. As I've said in both of these posts, there's more to your sales page than "just" the blurbage. You have to actually sell the book. Who knew? Click through the jump break to read more.
One of the things done for my favorite Romantic Suspense author, Suzanne Brockmann, by her publisher, Ballantine Books, now an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, is a standardization of the Amazon book pages for most of her 51 published titles. Suz is fairly prolific, as you can see, so there are a lot of examples to compare. Ballantine's publicists in their marketing department constructed book pages that almost exactly duplicate the book covers of the paper books (hard covers, paperbacks).
They have Publishers Weekly quotes, Booklist quotes, oh and don't forget about the blurbage. They use a standard format of blurbage for Suz's books--about 99% of the time. First paragraph describes the Hero and what will lead him into the Heroine's life; second paragraph describes the Heroine and why she'll allow the Hero into her life. It's a standard format for all romance novels, in fact.
The publishers for the world's most-prolific romance novelist, Nora Roberts, are several and varied but they also used the Hero-Heroine-conflict-attraction formula for crafting the blurbage. More to the point, the book pages look like a reproduction of the paper book covers, more so for Nora's hardcover releases than for Suz's actually.
So what do we Indie Authors just starting out do if we don't have covers from print books to copy/reproduce on a book page? Create one. It'll save you time and effort if you ever decide to release print versions of your eBooks. How to create it?
As I said in the 2-part post on the 7 sales tools you have, you really need to craft the page like sales pitch. Yes, your books' blurbage needs to describe your book but it needs to sell it, too! Yes, your book cover art should look nice and have some remote connection to your story but it needs to catch the eye and sell the book contents. Yes, your review quotes have to come from somewhere, but don't choose quotes from your friends and family; the quotes need to be believeable if they're going to (you guessed it) sell the book as a "gotta-have-it-buy-now" item!
What you need to do is start thinking in terms of the consumer. Remember, your Indie Author hat comes off when you stop writing your book and start selling it. That's when you become an Indie Publisher. It's not about how to make your story shine. It's about how to make your book product sell. You have to get into the salesman mindset.
It's hard, I know. I hate selling. We all do. However, if you don't want to learn how to sell, then let go of any hope that your books will make you money--and give them away free. You'll move way more copies and get higher rankings and reach more readers if you just give it away free indefinitely. You won't make any money. Guaranteed.
If you want to make money, you have to make your book appear to the consumer to fill some kind of critical need they never knew they had. You need to identify what it is they need and then convince them your book's the solution. Be sure to have a free sample they can download at no risk but be sure to suggest they buy the book Now! Create the sense of urgency by creating the desperate desire to know what happens in the story.
Your book doesn't have to be a mystery novel to use its "mysterious appeal." Like the people who populate the stories in them, books have personalities. Make yours irresistibly attractive. Give your book charisma. Get excited about your book and it will come through in your "sales speak." Hate having to write sales copy and your book will suffer as a result.
Oh yeah, one last tip: don't copy my book page at Amazon for Dicky's Story - it's terrible. If you look at it carefully, you'll see it's different from the book page at Smashwords (where I've sold nearly 10 times more units than I have at Amazon; the only difference being the layout of the page).
I haven't bothered to update the Amazon page. Why do I keep putting it off? I wanted to wait until I updated the cover art. Stupid rationale. You can tell from the ranking and utter dearth of reviews that my book has suffered from my lethargy. Learn from my lesson of failure. I know what to do to fix it. I'm not doing it. The result is my book's not selling. I'm okay with that (especially for Dicky's Story), but unless you want your book to fizzle and die a quiet death, do as I say, not as I do.
Next Monday is a followon post about executing a publicity campaign--and making it personal. I hope to see you then.
Thanks for stopping by!