Friday, April 25, 2014

What does NOT belong in your book's online "description" field.

Mostly this applies to self-pubbed authors, but I've seen some smaller, misguided publishers (usually started by a disgruntled and now technically self-pubbed author) do this, too. Although, I've seen larger traditional publishers use the description area for reviews instead of the description (also a VERY bad idea).

The "description" field on online retailer sites is for the book's back-cover "blurb." This is the short DESCRIPTION of what your book is about. It's NOT for:

  • sample text of the sooper-dooperiest scene in the book
  • reviews

The back-cover blurb should give a reader an idea what your book is about. Also, in today's world (especially in cases of romance/erotic books) it should give readers notice of the romantic pairing (M/F, M/M, F/F, MFM, MMF, etc.), any material the reader might find objectionable--or be specifically looking for (BDSM, wolf shape-shifters, Alpha heroine, anal sex/play, dub-con, HEA, HFN, spanking, whatever). Before you argue with me that you shouldn't be required to use no stinkin' "warnings," here's the thing--the 'Zon took away tags. That means someone LOOKING for a book along your lines will have an EASIER time FINDING IT if you provide those little "warnings" that you're objecting to in the freaking description field. 

Ahhhh, does that clarify things, bunky?

Use your freaking brain.

Also, if the book is in a series, start your description with something on its own line like (Book 1 of the Sooper-dooper Series) and then after your blurb, list the OTHER books in the series and their suggested reading order. Make sure to remember to go back and update each description for each book--INCLUDING print format (you have to edit Kindle and print separately) for each subsequent book.

Most online e-book retailers allow for a free preview. THAT is where your sample belongs. In THERE. How you get that is you pick a short (hopefully cliff-hanger) sample and stick it at the front of the compiled e-book file, after the cover and before the front matter/copyright page. Make sure your coding (especially in the case of Kindle books) is set to open the book at the front cover, or at least at your sample text.


STOP. I do NOT want to hear your excuses. I don't care what idiot spammy "guru" told you putting samples in the description is a good idea. They're WRONG.

Here's the thing: Most of you who are using sample text in your descriptions? The problem is you don't go back and VERIFY the formatting of that text. Then it's one loooong jumbled wall of text. Then what happens?

The reader doesn't bother to one-click your book. In fact, they click AWAY from your book, because they assume the rest of the book is the same hot mess as that. Also, they don't know what your book is ABOUT.

Even worse? If you have lots of typos or other errors? Then they're front and center in that same sample text.

Um, yeah.

This isn't me just venting a personal opinion, here. I've heard countless readers say the same damn thing. If you make them WORK to read what the book is about, they won't bother.

Make it EASY on them.

Quit being farking LAZY and get the freaking sample and reviews OUT of your damn description section. Amazon HAS a "review" section you can use. (Did you set up your author page and claim your books? NO? Why the fark not?)

So there's your new thing for the day. Those of you who are guilty, go FIX IT. You might just find your sales go UP.

While you're there, FIX your dang blurbs so they aren't one wall of text. Go into your author page and use the HTML editor feature in the description to add paragraph breaks. Again, you might find doing this ups your sales.


  1. Excellent advice, as always. :)

  2. I can't believe how few people do use the "reviews" section. It's there to put the glowing praise of your book!

    1. I know, right? Yes, it's harder to do it on some sites, but its super-easy to edit on Amazon when you sign up for an author page and go in and edit the books that way.

  3. Thanks Tymber. I'm going to go make sure my books are set up right.

  4. You're right, Tymber. If the book description isn't telling me what the book is about, I click away from it. I don't care about sample text or reviews when it comes to the blurb. That's what excerpts and reviews are for.

  5. Also, if the book is in a series, start your description with something on its own line like (Book 1 of the Sooper-dooper Series) and then after your blurb, list the OTHER books in the series and their suggested reading order.
    This…so much this…and similarly for the actual book. I could not tell you how many excellent-looking books I have walked away from when I have been unable to detect which order I should be reading them in: I have a form of OCD which makes it very difficult for me to read in anything other than a "proper" order, it just makes my head spin to try to read a series at random. I cannot fathom why authors and publishers are so reluctant to make it clear that a book is just one in a whole series of wonderful books that they would really like you to buy…