Do blurbs (book descriptions) help you to sell books?
You’ve attracted a reader’s attention with your cover. The reader decides that your title sounds promising, so he reads your blurb to assess whether he wants to read your book.
Your sole aim in writing a blurb is to trigger a click to the Buy button; consider it a tease.
When I’m working with my self-publishing students, I always check out their blurbs — a good blurb can turn a book’s fortunes around.
With an appropriate blurb:
- A book which isn’t selling starts to sell;
- A book that’s doing well sells more.
My aim in publishing a book on blurbs for indie authors is simple — I want to show you that blurbs which sell books are simple to write. Moreover, a blurb can help you to write, if you write your blurb first, before you start writing your book.
Write your blurbs before you start writing your books
Why write a blurb first?
One reason. Readers.
When you’re planning a book, your mind is clear. You can focus on what readers want. You’ll craft your blurb with your readers in mind, so that you give them what they want. Then you write a book which matches your blurb.
Contrast that with crafting a blurb once a book is done. Suddenly, you realize that there’s no way you can do your book justice in the blurb. Your mind is stuffed with too much information. Your blurb is pure agony to write… 🙂
Here’s an excerpt from Blurbs Sell Your Books — I sincerely hope that this book demystifies blurbs for you, and turns you into an expert copywriter of book descriptions.
(An aside… Should you decide that writing blurbs is fun, you can offer it as a writing service, because many authors hate writing blurbs.)
An excerpt from “Blurbs Sell Your Books”
Here’s an excerpt from Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today.
Writing your blurb begins with your title, and writing your book’s title begins with your audience — your readers.
Readers first: your readers are everything… have ONE reader in mind
Let’s say that you want to write a title for your upcoming book on photography. You’re a keen amateur photographer.
Who’s your reader?
Write a short description of one reader. Male or female? Age? Occupation? Income? Marital status? Children?
How will your photography book help your reader — what’s her/ his biggest challenge? The more clearly you can see your reader, the easier your book will be to write, and to market.
A tip: today we live in a world of social media and short attention spans.
The more narrowly you can target your book to a specific group of readers, the better. When you know your reader, it’s more likely that your book will sell. Your book will be easier to write, too, because it will be shorter…
Think “short” when you write nonfiction. I aim for 15,000 to 20,000 words in nonfiction books these days.
Please do this simple exercise if you’ve started writing a book, or if you’re planning a book — write a quick description of your ideal reader before you go on reading.
It’s easy — you can do it.
Consider this. There’s no way in which you can get your reader description wrong. You needn’t spend longer than five minutes on describing your ideal reader. The mere fact that you’ve made an attempt will guide you in your writing. Describing just one reader will make creating a title, and writing your blurb, easier.
Another tip. Books grow. They’re organic. You won’t be the same person when you complete your book that you were at the beginning. Your initial blurb will grow, and change, just as your book will as you write it.
All books, nonfiction and fiction too, morph while you’re writing. A useful title, and a blurb, ensure that you stay on track.
For example, let’s say that you begin writing your book on photography without a working title and blurb. Before you know it, you’ve wandered off into the wilds of child portrait photography, when you meant your book to be about cell phone camera photography.
Book titles: start with… what do readers want?
When you start by thinking about readers, creating titles becomes simpler.
So, what do readers want?
- Nonfiction readers have a problem for which your book offers solutions.
- Fiction readers want entertainment: they want to FEEL.
Please let me know if have further questions about book descriptions after reading Blurbs Sell Your Books. I want this book to be truly useful, so that you sell more books… Of course, after I’ve answered your questions, I’ll add the answers to future editions of the book. Enjoy. 🙂
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