Sales Copy and the Blurb
Now there is a common thread that tells you the blurb is the stuff that goes on the back of the book, and when you’re posting to an eBook retailer you see alongside or under the book. Most of us have seen a shocking amount of blurb in our time and it’s easy to think it’s easy to write.
Right up until you try to.
Yes this is the second thing the reader sees, it’s also a large part of what makes them buy the book.
It’s tempting to be vague in your blurb, try to be enticing or mysterious, in an attempt to get the reader to want to know more. Which is fine.
But when everything is online and ruled by the search engine gods you would be missing a huge chance to show up if you didn’t consider this part of the process carefully.
Amazon’s search engine alone is different to Googles (and bigger) and you should take that into account. You’ve already placed your book into a category and a sub-genre, and probably even added a few tag words. But your blurb can contain one or two more, especially if you want it to show up in a few more categories. However, those words need to be part of your copy and not stick out like sore thumbs.
The blurb for a non-fiction will likely be longer than for a fiction but it doesn’t prevent fiction writers from using keywords to be found for additional search terms.
So for non-fiction take a slightly more copywriting style with a tantalising intro, bullet points – but make sure they don’t repeat anything. It does you no favours to repeat anything in the amazon search engine. Closing paragraph and a little about the author.
And for fiction use a method similar to that of Stephen King, where the first sentence stands alone with three keywords in but appears to be part of the whole. Followed by two paragraphs of a brief storyline of the main character/plot without giving away the ending.
For your keywords think in terms of what you would search for in a book store. Don’t repeat the genre/category but think of additional search terms that narrow down or give more detail. For example you might have gone
Non-fiction – Health and Fitness – Diets and Weight Loss
But what else might someone looking for your book search for? Healthy meals, simple recipes, family friendly…..it will of course depend on the subject of your book and your ideal reader but you can write a compelling sentence that has your extra three keywords in (but remember don’t repeat them later in the bullet points).
This exciting new easy to follow book is filled with family friendly, simple recipes, and healthy meal ideas to be enjoyed by all ages.
Bit about the author:
[name] got tired of cooking three different meals each dinner time to fit in with all his families’ requirements. In the end he found a way to cook one meal that was ideal for all the family. Bit about why you’re suited to the task of writing this book – did you win an award, get qualifications etc.
In this book you will find:
Closing paragraph with enticing details and encouragement to complete the desired action without yelling buy now.
It’s just a simple outline but try not to put in too much white space – don’t double space etc between paragraphs, there’s no need and it looks bad.
If it's fiction, it looks more like this...
Literature and Fiction – Action and Adventure – Science Fiction
A novel that spans a thousand century old love story, takes you on a time travel extravaganza, and introduces you to the new wave of robots.
Brief outline of main story/plot
Closing para that hints at outcome but doesn’t give the game away
Possible teasing last line.
You need to lead with the main benefit to your ideal reader, and this is unfortunately sometimes hard for the non-copywriter to understand.
It’s very easy to look at other sales pages and then write what you think is right. Or write all about why it worked for you and why you wrote the book and how you hope it will work for others.
And whilst both these options have value they don’t sell your book.
Stories work if they are part of the whole thing and reiterate the main benefit. They should also follow a particular pattern if you want them to help make your book subject memorable (and you can find it in the section about Unleashing your story).
The upside is you can section it up, use a formula and talk people into buying your book. The downside is you have to figure out how to do that.
It’s also quite difficult to explain the best way when I have no idea about your book.
So here goes….
Don’t overdo the pictures and hype around the main copy, you don’t want to drag your reader away from what you’ve written.
Yes, use a good clear picture of yourself as the author with an author piece (which goes at the bottom, under the guarantee if you have one).
Begin with your heading and subheading that should tell the reader what the main benefit is and how they can get it or what it will do for them.
Everything you write is about them. Even when you’re writing about you.
Because the reality is they aren’t here for you they’re here for them, you are just the conduit to the thing they want.
Be careful when using ‘you’ (as you’re told to do) that you’re not just telling them how to do something or that they should do something or that they feel something.
It should sound like you’re having a conversation with them, which means you’ll be making assumptions about their responses to certain things you say, and you’ll be answering the questions you imagine they are asking without putting the question and then the answer. It’s not a FAQ page, its one continuous stream of conversation that leads to one conclusion, the one you want them to take that gives them the benefit they came to your page for.
The length isn’t as important as getting the main benefit across. So if it takes longer to say everything you need to don’t worry about it, but don’t add things that don’t need to be in and don’t put in links that send your customer away from the page.
If you must send them to a facts page because you simply can’t answer all possible questions then make sure you have a call to action at the bottom of the page.
If you send them to another page it should continue the sales funnel to the same conclusion.
So there you have it...
Writing a book takes a little time and a significant amount of effort. There aren't many short cuts. But if you create a checklist and a plan, work your way through, and keep going, you'll get there.
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