4 Steps to Writing Your Amazon Book Description

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Many self-published authors sell their books through Amazon, but to grab a reader’s attention, you need a compelling description. Potential readers need to be pulled into the world of your story, so make your description as captivating as possible.

Find out how we can help you as an indie author and read on to learn how to write an Amazon description that converts browsers into buyers.

1. Perfect the headline

The headline is the first couple of lines of your description, and it’s what Amazon previews, so you want a gripping opener to make people click to read more. They will skip over headlines that don’t interest them, giving up on the rest of the description. Give people a reason to read more. Pique their curiosity.

The headline is a great place to quote a positive review (readers want to hear what other book lovers think) or mention any endorsements or awards.

Bottom line: Come up with something that reels the reader in.

See the description of Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer for an example of an effective headline.

2. Write a descriptive blurb

The blurb is a summary of the story elements meant to help potential buyers decide if the book sounds like one they’d want to grab. Most readers have their favorite genres. By inspecting the blurb, they should learn what type of book they would be buying, so be clear about that. You want the blurb to have specific details about your book—this is no time for vagueness! You also want it to be short and easy to read. Keep your language concise and simple; avoid words the average reader might not understand.

Keep the paragraphs short (two to three sentences) and end the blurb on a strong note. Those who read to the end are likely interested in the book, so give them that last nudge to buy it. The end is a great place to compare your book to another well-known work or to explain who would enjoy the story. (“This book will be perfect for lovers of…”)

With nonfiction, zero in on the main idea or the issue your book is addressing. Highlight your background and expertise in the subject matter or the personal experience that gives you credibility.

Bottom line: Tell the reader exactly what kind of book this is.

This description of Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras presents the plot and characters with sufficient detail, and the short paragraphs invite people to read it.

3. Play with formatting

A wall of text with no formatting puts people off. Play around with bold and italics to bring attention to details readers would be interested in. Don’t overuse bold text; instead, choose one or two key places. The headline is a great place to use bold, drawing people in and making positive reviews stand out, or you can choose to bold some keywords.

Bulleted lists are useful for nonfiction book descriptions. They are visually appealing and make it easy for readers to scan for the main events or ideas that will be presented in the book.

Bottom line: Make key elements pop and keep it easy to read.

This excerpt from the description of The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss uses formatting effectively, with the key message and accolades bolded, a short introductory paragraph, and a bulleted list detailing what you will learn by reading the book.

4. Keywords

Keywords are buzzwords; they are the words readers search for when selecting a book. Research the ones trending in your genre and decide which make the most sense for your book. 

Categories of keywords you should include are:

  • Setting (e.g., Scottish moors, deserted island)
  • Character type (e.g., detective, single mom)
  • Themes (e.g., redemption, courage, friendship)
  • Genre (e.g., coming-of-age, cozy mystery)

Ideally, you should include keywords from all the above categories. You want to make sure your book will be found by people who are interested in specific settings, character types, themes, and/or genres.

Bottom line: Familiarize yourself with the words potential readers will be searching for and include those in your description.

We hope these steps will help you craft the perfect Amazon description to sell your book. If you find yourself paralyzed by indecision, start with something. If it doesn’t work, change it! Your Amazon description isn’t set in stone, and you can refine it whenever you need to. Try different keywords. Change your headline. Also, don’t hesitate to get professional help. In fact, check out our marketing package to help sell your book.

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