Writing your book doesn’t end when the last word of the last page is written. In fact, there’s still writing left to do, and in some ways, it’s just as important as the words in your book!
If you’re scratching your head as to what we are talking about, we’re referring to the book description and how important it is in helping to promote your book.
We’ve all been there before: You’re in your local book store meandering through the aisles to find a new book to read, you pick one up, take a look at the cover, leaf through the pages and read through the book description to see if you want to read more of the story that lives within the pages. It’s at that point that you either put the book down or keep it with you.
Book descriptions are like the hook that latches on to the reader’s attention just enough to help you as an author reel them in with your story.
But, the fact of the matter is, some authors have a hard time writing their book description because they don’t want to leave any detail out. However, that’s not the “write” mindset; too many details leaves nothing to the imagination and might, in fact, work against you.
Here are five key elements to remember when writing your book description:
1. Keep it simple – The nitty-gritty details are best left on the pages of your book. Think of your book description as a teaser, or a short movie trailer. The only piece of information that’s necessary is the main plot. The subplots would be nothing more than a distraction that would dilute your book description. Basically, you want to briefly describe the overarching theme of what your book is about without too much detail.
2. Keep it short – Short, sweet and to the point is the way to go! It may seem like a daunting task, summarizing your book from thousands and thousands of words to only 150 or so. But it’s not as difficult as one would think. To summarize your book, simply think of what will interest a reader and discuss what your book is about. Once you iron out the details of those two questions, you can start to write your brief description.
3. It’s a word game – Words are powerful and your book description is the perfect place to use words that evoke emotion. One way to do so is to use power words, such as “terrifying,” “passion” and “looming.” A simple Google search of “power words” will point you in the right direction, too! Be careful not to add too many; you don’t want to knock a potential reader out with too many power words that pack a punch.
4. It’s tense – One thing to keep in mind while writing your book description is to see it as an opportunity to speak to the reader about your book. The easiest way to do so is to imagine that someone has asked you what your book is about. In this case, you wouldn’t answer them in past tense. Rather, your description should be written in third person point-of-view which uses pronouns like he, she, it and they to describe an event.
5. Leave them hanging – When writing your description, you want to lead the reader to a point that leaves them curious as to what could happen next. This goes back to our first tip about keeping it simple. You’ll want to add just enough detail without giving too much away to entice them and lead them to a cliffhanger that leaves them wanting more!
As a Dorrance author, however, your editor will do the leg work and write your book description for you as part of your book publishing agreement with us.
So although you won’t be writing your own book description, it doesn’t hurt to keep these five tips in your writing toolbox!