How to Write a Book Description That Attracts Readers and Reviewers. #GuestPost from Reedsy Writer Savannah Cordova #MondayBlogs

Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories. She’s very passionate about indie publishing and hopes to help as many authors as possible achieve their dreams.

It’s no secret that publishing a book is a mammoth task. Once all the long nights of writing, editing, and formatting are over, a book description may seem like that final formality you just want to get over and done with — but losing steam at this vital moment could mean losing sales.

After all, avid readers are presented with hundreds of books they might like to read every day. Somewhere among all these books clamoring to be heard, yours needs to rise above the crowd. In comes your book description: an invaluable tool in your marketing arsenal.

In this short space of words, you need to take your reader from knowing nothing at all about your book to wanting to fork over money to buy it. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, these tips will cover all the bases to help you captivate readers and reviewers alike.

1. Lead with a hook

First impressions are everything; the way you open your book description dictates whether someone decides to keep reading. The importance of this is magnified on retailer sites like Amazon, where only a few lines of the description are seen without clicking a read more button.

Your hook should be a bold, punchy headline that immediately grabs the reader’s attention. If you’re writing fiction, this might be a question that plunges your reader straight into the world of the book. For nonfiction, you might want to start with a surprising statement that forms the basis of your work. If you’ve got a particularly strong first line, you might even use that — though you don’t want to use more than one line in your description, otherwise it just becomes a preview.

On the critical side, a glowing quote from an editorial review may be the vote of confidence that wins readers over (though of course, you won’t be able to add this until you actually receivea review — all the more reason to make your description compelling). Whatever your hook is, it needs to stand out! And remember, if you ever think of a better way to phrase your hook, or get a stellar review you’d like to feature, you can always edit your book description down the line.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

2. Make the conflict clear

No good piece of fiction should be smooth sailing for every character — where’s the fun in that? The intrigue happens when things start to go wrong. To that end, make the nature of your conflict known in your book description with an allusion to a character clash, an internal battle, a societal struggle, or whatever conflict lies at the heart of your story. This will assure readers they’re going to get that bit of action or drama, enticing them to read more to find out what it is.

What about nonfiction? While narrative-driven books like biographies and memoirs lend themselves well to conflict taking center stage, this is not true for all works of nonfiction. In these cases, however, there will still be some core theme or issue that your book addresses (how to improve your life through organization, how to tap into your resilient side to build a business, etc.), which should also be made clear in the description.

In both fiction and nonfiction, once you’ve established this central conflict or theme, you can spell out some of the questions that arise from it — both basic, plot-essential questions like “Will the main characters get through this?” and deeper, more abstract questions about your themes. Then tantalize readers by dangling the resolution or answers your book provides, without giving away what they actually are.

3. Create a point of reference

People like what they know, which means that mentioning something recognizable to your readers is a simple-yet-effective way to appeal to them. For starters, consider your genre and any standout features that a fan of that genre might expect to see — for instance, if you’ve written a thriller, you could hint at a character with a dark past, or a situation where all is not as it seems.

For nonfiction, though, genre tropes won’t be the way forward. Instead, use familiar points of reference to establish your authority and expertise. If you’ve honed your knowledge under the tutelage of an expert, give that expert’s name — better yet, if you can get a quote of praise from a well-known figure in your field, make sure to get that in your book description (and maybe even on your book cover!).

Of course, no one wants to read a book they feel they’ve already read, so also give enough info for readers to understand how your book differs from what they’ve seen before. What is the twist that makes your book special? Why should they invest in these specific characters? As for nonfiction, what are you saying on the topic that other people haven’t yet heard?

Try to strike a balance between your unique elements and other, familiar books in your genre. This will show readers and reviewers that your book is “for them” like those other books were, yet tempt them to read it for the new twist or angle you’re offering.

4. Keep things short and sweet

There are probably a thousand amazing things you could say about your book to convince readers to buy it — but in a 200-word description, you need to be selective. Not to mention there’s an increasing trend of people being put off watching movies when they feel they’ve seen all the action in the trailer, and you certainly don’t want your book to suffer this fate.

So don’t try to cram everything at once, and obviously don’t give away the best bits. Not only will this likely push your description way beyond the advised word count (again, 200 words max), but a straight-up synopsis will take away any reason to actually readyour book.

Even outside the spoiler concern, concision and readability are key in a book description. It’s true that you’re trying to impress, but purple prose here doesn’t bode well for what’s inside. To that end, stick to short, clear sentences and break your description up into two or three paragraphs to keep the reader’s attention. Unless you have some truly impressive pull quotes to stick at the end, it really shouldn’t be longer than that.

Yes, writing the perfect book description will take some care and attention — but with these tips, you should be able to attract readers and land reviews that stick with ease. Good luck!

Wednesday Wing….Writer’s Craft series by @RayneHall #wwwblogs #WritersTips

Welcome to my new feature called Wednesday Wing where I’ll be passing on

observations, tips and information to readers I’ve made a note of.

Rosie's Notebook

Today I’m passing on a tip about Rayne Hall’s writer’s craft series of books.

During my time of reviewing I have suggested to many authors that I believe their writing would benefit from the advice Rayne gives in her low priced easy to read writers craft series.

I have read The Word Loss Diet which is a full of useful tips on ways to slim-line your writing, cut down your descriptions and remove watery weak words. It’s a fabulous way to polish your manuscript before publishing or if you’ve had reviews which suggest the writing needed tightening. No one wants to be labelled as a novice writer.


Published your book, but it’s not selling? Why Does My Book not Sell? Written for the Indie writer, but with tips for anyone who does any of the marketing of their books. Rayne has a list of 20 reasons your book may not be getting the sales you’d like and offers quick fixes.


Are you burnt out using Twitter to sell your book? Twitter for Writers offers tips and advice on the best ways to get the most from Twitter as an author, going from the basics of setting up an account with a twitter name that is easy for readers to find to hosting a Twitter party.


Rayne has also written books which help you write particular scenes.

Writing Fighting Scenes

Writing About Villains

Writing Scary Scenes

Writing Dark Scenes

Writing Short Stories

Writing About Magic

Find Rayne’s books on or

A bit about Rayne.

RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - reduced size Portrait by Fawnheart

Rayne Hall writes fantasy and horror fiction, some of it quirky, most of it dark. She is the author of over sixty books in different genres and under different pen names, published by twelve publishers in six countries, translated into several languages. Her short stories have been published in magazines, e-zines and anthologies.

After living in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has settled in a small Victorian seaside town in southern England. Rayne holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Over three decades, she has worked in the publishing industry as a trainee, investigative journalist, feature writer, magazine editor, production editor, page designer, concept editor for non-fiction book series, anthology editor, editorial consultant and more. Outside publishing, she worked as a museum guide, apple picker, tarot reader, adult education teacher, trade fair hostess, translator and belly dancer.

Currently, Rayne Hall writes fantasy and horror fiction and tries to regain the rights to her out-of-print books so she can republish them as e-books.

Her books on the writing craft (Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, The Word-Loss Diet, Writing Dark Stories, Writing About Villains, Writing Short Stories to Promote Your Novel, Writing About Magic, Twitter for Writers) are bestsellers.

Find Rayne on Twitter @RayneHall where she’s doing something right with 68k followers.

Why Does My Book Not Sell? By Rayne Hall

23163869Why Does My Book Not Sell? 20 Simple Fixes by Rayne Hall My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is most suitable for published Indie writers, people who are out there trying all they can to sell the books they have worked so hard to write. People who want to boost their marketing ideas and inject a fresh approach to connecting to their readers who are overloaded with choice.

Rayne’s book is split into 20 chapters which talk about the blocks that hinder your book sales. They range from your book cover, the book blurb, your promotions and the way you meet your readers. Is your current marketing plan intrusive or permissive?

What do readers find if they read the free first 10% of your book? Do they get straight into the story or do they find pages of off-putting dedications, thank-you messages and other people’s reviews?

Is your Twitter feed filled with tweets which say “Buy my Book” or “Must-read”, empty tweets which get passed over? Instead you need to learn to engage with your readers and show them you are human too.

Rayne writes down to earth no-nonsense writer’s craft books from her own experience and she happily admits her own mistakes along the way. Well worth a few pounds spent and a little time reading.

Book description


Does your book sell as well as it deserves?

If it doesn’t, one of twenty blocks may hinder its sales—blocks you can easily remove once you’re aware of them. Sell more books!

Many authors who’ve used this guide for a few weeks already report a significant increase in sales.

Each chapter reveals one area where indie authors are sabotaging their books’ success, and shows how you can free yourself from that trap. Whether you want to sell 100,000 copies or would be happy with just 100, this guide helps you raise your book above the hundreds of thousands of titles competing for attention. All strategies are proven and ethical – no cheating, no aggressive methods, no hype.

Rayne Hall is the author of over 60 books published under several pen names, in several genres, in several languages, by several publishers … and all the recent ones are indie-published. As a trained publisher with thirty years experience, she knows the business. In this book she reveals the strategies that worked for her, and the mistakes she made and learnt from along the way.

Find a copy here from or

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Good Deeds Challenge Year 2 Week 23

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I an into my second year.

New Good DeedsDuring my week I’ll also being updating you on My Kindness Challenge which I’m also doing. I read about a new challenge to make the world a better place to live in. “Speak Kind Words, Receive Kind Echoes” see the inspiration on  The Kindness blog . During my learning process I’m donating money to charity for my slip-ups to make me work harder to achieve results. I earn no money from any of my book reviews, so having little to spare should focus my mind.

September 21st – Today my son and my Dad share a birthday. It made my Dad’s day when my tiny baby hung on for a few minutes longer and then rushed out to share his day with his Granddad. Funnily though my Dad always reckoned he’d play second best from then on, and try as I might, it’s always a last minute rush to either buy or deliver my Dad’s birthday gift while all the time I’m really organised with my son’s gifts. We are off out to tea with the other Granny and Uncle. Will take around a book I have just finished reading. We That Are Left by Juliet Greenwood, a fantastic book written around WWI and the strength of the women who were left to survive in England while the men went off to war.

September 22nd – Have got together with a couple of my girl friends to keep us all positive and to stop us all worrying ourselves to death about our kids and the future (Think 3 women heading towards the menopause) The Hormones go berserk and we find ourselves freaking out about all sorts of strange things. So we’ve got together for a little girl power and I’m shouting the loudest about having treats and “me time” and being busy with other things. So this week I’ve challenge us all to find out how to cook a dish of “pulled Pork” and to go out and get the ingredients and try out a recipe.

Last night I read “Baby Girl, Book 1 : The Beginning by Elle Klass. At just 38 pages I soon had it read and will write up the review in a few moments. My next book will be Going Pecans by Gina Henning

September 23rd – Having a chat with BrookCottage Books about helping out with some chicklit book reviews. Checking proofs for the October editions of the local magazines I write book reviews for. My copy and pasting skills were appalling this month and I have apologised to the editor about my mistakes which need changing in the proof.

September 24th – Organised a couple of my book review team to help out with reviews for the BrookCottage team. Make that 6 of my team, thanks for volunteering everyone. Blogging friend Diane Coto has been helping point me in the right direction towards some new to me authors for the mystery book tour.

In my endeavour to try out something new in my life, I got all the ingredients together for pulled pork. Found a recipe and away I went, well those who know me better, know I tend to wing a recipe when I don’t actually want to use all the list of recommended ingredients, so keen to get on, I forgot how long it would take to defrost my joint of pork. Then found it was larger that the recipe recommended. Marinaded  it for 30 minutes, covered in foil and bunged it in the oven at 2.30pm. Recipe said a slow cook for upto 5 hours. At 7pm it was still raw in the middle, at 9pm it was nearly cooked but no where near the pulled look. At 10.30 I went to bed, switched off the oven leaving the pork in the heat.

September 25th -Pulled pork continued: Got up at 6am, the oven and pork were still just warm and my pork was just about pulled. Not sure it’s the runaway success I planned. Will serve it up for tea tonight and see what the family think.

Just had a lovely book morning chatting over a coffee with fellow writer Alison Williams. Can’t go anywhere without recommending a book these days and added a few more to Alison’s TBR pile. Good Deeds received, drinks were on Alison, thank you.

September 26th – Went to the local market and bought homemade jams as a gift for my husband’s aunt. Been really busy on the blog writing up lots of post drafts. Reading Romancing My Love by Melissa Foster

September 27th – Helped a man at the Supermarket this morning.

Have bought a copy of “Why Does My Book Not Sell?” by Rayne Hall, I’m sure it will be as good as her last one “Twitter for Writers” which I keep recommending to people. I shall be reading and reviewing it in due course.

Today I’m reading Seaside Dreams by Melissa Foster.