Balancing Act: Book Descriptions

I’m not the greatest when it comes to writing descriptions and blurbs for books. When I write one, my goal is to provide accurate information that will get people interested in reading my book. It sounds easy but it’s not. A lot of people, including yours truly, can get hung up on what to put into a blurb. This is another area where you have to compromise. You don’t want to give away too much but you want to reveal enough to make someone want to read your sample then hopefully your book. Then there are the little things that people worry about like whether or not to include page and word counts and editorial reviews.

There are three hard and fast rules to writing a description or blurb. Be honest. The worse thing you can do is mislead your potential readers. Be accurate. Make sure everything in your blurb is accurate. Double check for errors. And finally, be interesting. If someone finds your description dull or not interesting, they aren’t going to sample or read your book. This last part is a little tricky. When I’ve mastered it, I’ll let you know. All the other stuff isn’t really important. It doesn’t matter how long your book is or how glowing an editorial review is if the rest of the description is either dishonest, inaccurate or boring.

As for the little things, don’t worry about them. It’s a matter of taste and personal preference. There is no need to agonize over them.

I don’t include editorial reviews in my descriptions. As a reader, I usually skip them to get to the book’s actual description. That said, I would change my mind if the book’s description was listed first instead of the editorial reviews. For me, a book description is more important than a few words from Publisher’s Weekly or snippets of text from a review that can be read in full elsewhere.

I include the page count in my descriptions because I want readers to know what they are getting. I used to include  the word and page count but I’ve changed my mind about that. I was in the process of creating a book description for Hunter’s Moon. I decided to get some feedback from a long time reader. She asked me why I had the number of words listed in my book’s description. I explained the reasoning behind it. She understood but to her, seeing the word count gave her the impression that she was about to read someone’s school assignment. It might seem silly but my book is perceived is very important to me. First impressions count for a lot and I could see where she was coming from. I asked a few other readers about what they thought about it. Their feedback made me go with just including the page count.

This is what works for me. Go with what you feel is best.

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