Your Key to Better Book Descriptions

key-to-better-book-descriptions

After your book cover, your best sales tool is your book description. But do you know that 80% of your potential buyers only read the first line? How do you hook them with just one line?

Enter the Logline

Logline? you ask. Isn’t that for screenplays? Well, yes, but every writer should be able to say what their story is about in one sentence.

To write a compelling logline, you need four things:

  1. The protagonist
  2. The situation
  3. The goal
  4. The antagonist

From this, the reader should be able to ascertain who the story is about, what situation they have gotten themselves into, and what stands in their way.

So, grab a sheet of paper and write down:

  • Setting: where and when your story takes place.
  • Protagonist: your main character. Always describe your protagonist as an adjective-noun pair (brilliant scientist, guilt-ridden soccer player) and, to save room, don’t name names.
  • Problem: the issue that caused your protagonist to take action.
  • Antagonist: who or what stops the protagonist.
  • Conflict: the major obstacle or dilemma.
  • Goal: what your protagonist hopes to accomplish.

Now, plug that information into this formula:

In a (Setting) a (Protagonist) has a (Problem) caused by (Antagonist) and faces (Conflict) as they try to achieve (Goal.)

Don’t like that formula? Try this one:

When this happens, this person must verb before consequence occurs.

Or try one of these:

APAGO

  1. Adjective (A heartbroken)
  2. Protagonist (housewife)
  3. Action (turns to witchcraft)
  4. Goal (to curse her cheating husband)
  5. Outcome (and finds she has a knack for such things.)

SPOOD

  1. Situation (In a world without hope)
  2. Protagonist (a harried writer)
  3. Objective (must chronicle the events of mankind)
  4. Opponent (before the agents of darkness)
  5. Disaster (toss his work into a black hole.)

SCOPE

  1. Setting (Deep in the Amazon jungle)
  2. Conflict (a genetically modified predator escapes confinement)
  3. Objective (to stalk its creators)
  4. Possible Solution (and seek revenge)
  5. Emotional Promise to the reader (in a heart-pounding thrill ride.)

How does this help your book description?

Put your logline first. Grab their attention. Use a little HTML to make it stand out.

Here’s how to use HTML on Amazon KDP. (Doesn’t work for CreateSpace yet.)

  • Headline <H1>Insert Your Text Here</H1>
  • Bold <b>Insert Your Text Here</b>
  • Italics <i>Insert Your Text Here</i>
  • Underlined <u>Insert Your Text Here</u>

Under your logline, you put your book blurb. You can take it right off the back of your book.

If you don’t have a book blurb yet, try one of these formulas:

Title is a genre about hero, a role who empathy setup. When hero is opportunity, hero decides to preliminary goal. But when change of plans happens, hero must now primary goal by plan in spite of conflict.

Or similarly:

Title is a genre about hero, an identity who, after inner conflict, wants goal. But when turning point happens, she has to revised goal, which seems impossible because of conflict.

So, here’s the lineup:

  1. Logline. Hook that potential buyer so they will click READ MORE.
  2. Blurb. Reveal the main conflict and the stakes.
  3. Secondary headline with why they should buy.
    1. If you like (science fiction, Harry Potter, trashy novels) you will love (title.)
    2. Or if you’re not comfortable with that, just make a statement. (Title) will leave you (breathless, laughing, scratching your head.)
    3. Or (Title) will stay with you forever.
  4. Big headline again. Tell them what to do.
    1. GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY!
    2. Buy (title) and escape into the Everglades.
    3. BUY NOW OR MY GHOST WILL HAUNT YOU!

And that’s it. Easy Peasy.

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