How to write a blurb, back cover copy or sales description for your book that converts

I’m working through the material for my next course, Guerrilla Publishing, but this part is too important not to share for everyone. I keep saying, if you’re not selling books, it’s almost always because of your cover, blurbs or # of reviews.

I’ve made tons of videos (and a free course) on cover design, and I recently posted a video on how to get 1000 reviews (I was at 923 when I made it, I think I’m past that now).

But I haven’t talked much about the sales copy or book description, even though it’s one of the most critical pieces of your conversion. IF you have a good enough book cover that attracts readers (and most authors don’t), the next step is a description that hooks their attention and makes them desire the book enough to buy it.

The more they want it, the less the price or number of reviews is a factor.

But it’s really hard to write your own, and I don’t feel like I’m an expert at it by any means.

I rewrite my book descriptions every month until they’re selling as well as I want them to.

I’ve hired people to write them for me, to edit, for feedback – I think the takeaway is that you need to rigorously test. That said, there are some easy things that most people get wrong, and some simple things that will almost always boost conversion.

I talk about them in this video, and then I critique 10 actual books on Amazon.

If you like this video, make sure to follow me on YouTube.
I’m making less than 5% of the course public, but I often make a simplified or quick version I can post to YouTube.

Guerrilla Publishing was meant to be a quick, crash-course introduction to the way I make a living publishing books… unfortunately brevity is not one of my skillsets, and I want to answer everything.

So it’ll probably be huge, but you can use the parts you need most, and go back back to the rest when you get to that particular issue or topic.

 

What goes on the back cover of your book?

I should mention a few more things, since we’re on the subject…

The Kindle book description needs to have keywords that people are actively using and searching for (for visibility). If you don’t have a visibility problem – some authors don’t – focus on the story only. 

Keywords are good for visibility but might be bad for conversion.

For your actual print book, it’s less important. Reviews are often better than sales copy; you can’t say “this is the best book ever” and have it be believable, but if it’s in a review it’s fine. However you only want reviews that add new and specific information.

On the back of your book cover, you’ll want an author bio and website – usually – but just one or two short sentences. You have another author bio in the back of the book that’s for connecting with readers and making your optin offer. The first is sales copy, the second is relationship building and to get them to take the next step.

If you need feedback on your blurb, you can join the free Guerrilla Publishing Facebook group.

About Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors build profitable publishing platforms. Find me
  • James W

    Does anyone have a take on a/b testing book descriptions using a service like PickFu?

    There’s a case study here – https://kindlepreneur.com/write-test-book-description/ – which breaks down using PickFu to a/b test two different book descriptions.

    If anyone’s used this service, do you have any tips on the right number of people to run the test on? Any awesome experiences or horrror stories to share?

    I think it’s a really interesting point that keywords help with visibility, but not so much with conversion. I think it goes to show that there really is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to any aspect of self-publishing, more a set of principles that need to be adjusted based on an author’s situation and status.

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