Answering on Quora: “How important is a book description to selling books?”

Asked by Quora user Richard Lowe Jr.

Having a book description at all is important. Having a good one is very important. A good professional cover and a solid book description is what pulls people in to buy your book. People DO judge books by their cover!

Having an amateur or unprofessional-looking cover will turn people off from wanting to read your book, and the back cover is a big part of that.

Online marketplaces have the description right next to the book and people will read it before buying.

It must be an actual description of what they will get out the book or what the story is about.

When it comes to writing a book description, many first time authors feel like they don’t want to “give away” the story or their secrets, and while your description doesn’t need to cover every detail of the story or what you’re teaching, you DO want it to cover things like what people will learn from reading your book or the main story line.

Here is the back cover description of my first book, Write. Get Paid. Repeat.: The Guide to Being a Successful Freelance Writer:

Do you want to make the jump from writing as a side hustle to full-time freelancer?

Are you already a freelancer looking for ways to bring in new clients and revitalize your business?

This book is for you!

Follow the journey of author Jyssica Schwartz as she went from personal blogger to writing on the side to building a profitable business as a full-time freelance writer and editor. You will see exactly where she found clients, how she cold calls and direct messages companies, and read real examples of marketing strategies.

It was 90 days almost to the day of getting her first paying client to making enough to quit her sales and business development career to be a writer. She shares personal details of her struggle with anxiety and feeling isolated working from home to the mistakes and failures she has learned from — and hopes you can learn from, too!

Share in her trials and tribulations on the journey to creating a profitable writing business in Write. Get Paid. Repeat.

As you can see, the description asks questions to let the reader know who the book is targeted toward, and explains some details of what they will learn, such as how to build or grow a freelancing business, find clients, make cold calls, and will show examples of marketing. You know you’ll get my story, practical advice, and examples for the reader to use.

For nonfiction books, I believe having a title or subtitle which gives the readers an idea of what they will be getting, as well. Fiction books have more leeway when it comes to titles and descriptions, but nonfiction books are different. If someone cannot see the cover, title, and description and know what to expect, they will keep scrolling.

Do you have questions or advice on nonfiction book covers and descriptions? Share it with us in the comments!

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Check out my story and freelancing guide, “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” with tons of practical info packed into a short book! I am also putting together a writing course called “How to Write a Book in 3 Months.” Join that mailing list or go to the site if you’re interested in learning more!

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.”

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