It may come as a surprise to most readers, but writers are generally unable to write an enticing description of their books, the kind that sends you to click the "buy" button. Even fiction writers, with all their imagination, suck at this.
Except for a few writers who are also good copywriters and know how to write the kind of ad that drives buyers to buy.
Like Mathew Kadish. He sells lots of books AND he's got valuable copywriting experience.
Here's his advice in 10 tips (and in my own words). By the way, the tips are applicable to anything you're selling, provided it's as complex as a book.
1. Don't think of it as a summary of your book, it's not a synopsis; think of it as an advertisement (summaries are boring, ads are enticing)
2. Assume your reader hasn't got a clue of what your book is about;
3. Use simple, striking language, don't get lost in big words and complex sentences;
4. Don't make it too long or too short, 3 to 5 paragraphs is about right;
5. Focus on the conflict/drama in your book, not the stuff around it, forget the details;
6. Leave people with a good hook at the end so that they want to grab your book to find out "what happens next";
7. No quotes, no gimmicks, no Bible verses, no song lyrics, no literary references: that "jazz" sounds pretentious;
8. Something cool or quirky about your book can be showcased as long as it doesn't take up too much space;
9. Don't compare your book to any other book, the comparison is more likely to damage than help: it makes you look like a second fiddler;
10. Don't address your reader in the book description: it should be self-standing and read like a story in itself...
But for much more detailed advice and in Mathew Kadish's inimitable style, click here:
I would add one more tip:
11. If your book was written for a special reason, like a major event in your own life, some unique experience you've had or a special skill, do tell it! Don't leave people in the dark about how or why your book was born - provided it's something really out of the ordinary. No bragging please or it might turn against you!
Can you think of anything else? Please share!
(Photo credit: from http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/01/self-publishing-your-own-book-is-the-new-business-card/)