How to write a blurb that hooks readers and converts to book sales

I’ve been doing more research for one of my books that isn’t selling well.
I used K-lytics to get the data for the teen and young adult category.

http://k-lytics.com/teen-young-adult/

They list all the bestsellers of the genre, keywords, categories, etc – you could do the research yourself but I like the easy format they provide.

I read through the 100 top bestsellers in my genre looking for patterns, and what I found has me questioning my current blurbs.

Based on the top performing books, at least in Teen and Young Adult, it *seems* that starting with:

-credibility
-positioning

FIRST may convert better.

Basically, you need to prove the book is good, increase trust and credibility, but also very succinctly explain who the book is for – before you get into the hook or story.
Even better if you can include some genre keywords for positioning.

Examples:
A magic school story with a spine-tingling twist, for adults or teens who enjoyed Harry Potter…

Discover the bestselling paranormal romance series that’s captivating readers with an exciting new twist on an old favorite.

An unforgettable tale brimming with suspense, mystery and romance – this book will thrill fans of The Gender Game, Divergent & The Hunger Games…

“TWILIGHT MEETS OUTLANDER” Experience the USA Today bestselling novel taking the world by storm!

Followed by some “proof” (if you have it…)
-A #1 Best Seller in Amazon’s Epic Fantasy!
-Amazon top 100 bestseller
-Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy
-MILLIONS of pages read. Thousands of copies sold each week.
-#1 bestseller in Time Travel books

Followed by some reviews

Very short reviews, just a few phrases, that hit the main benefits; and/or mention similar books. With star icons (you can copy and paste them). Better if you can use the reviewers name, but you can skip and just put them in quotes.

“Intoxicatingly good” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A mixture of Twilight, Vampire Diaries! There is so much action, deception, drama, romance! I am in love!” ★★★★★

“Action and mystery and the feels!! Wow!” -★★★★★

THEN, your hook, in bold. OR, 3 awesome words that hit your main benefits:

Dark. Thrilling. Romantic.
A violent storm. A damaged ship. A mysterious island. (thanks Roman Blair​

Then a short description, possibly followed with a call to action = “BUY NOW!” or something similar.

I’m going to redo my weak seller with this format and see how it goes.

 

Original…

 

Enhanced…

 

 

UPDATE: I was expecting big results, but unfortunately the new blurb isn’t moving the needle much. I’ll continue testing and post full results on what I’m doing on this post: “How to write a book that doesn’t sell.”

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

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