March 6, 2012
Getting Your Readers to Click “Buy Now”
Don’t let a humdrum book description keep readers from clicking Buy Now. Here’s how to make your book sales copy work for you.
You work hard to write a good story, make an eye-catching cover, and format your material professionally. Then you upload it to your favorite sales portal, creating a page where potential readers can find it and, hopefully, buy it. But then there’s that empty field staring your in the face: Book Description.
Just rattle off a few general lines and click Save, right?
Not if you want readers to buy your work.
Why Your Book Description is Important
It’s easy for readers to click a link to find your book online. But there’s a process they go through to decide whether they’ll buy it.
First, they look at the cover and the title in search results. If these intrigue them, they’ll open your book page.
If the price is right, they’ll keep reading.
How many people like the book? More than a few thumbs up. Cool.
Are there any reviews? If not, that means either the book has been posted recently or—gasp!—it’s no good. (We’ll cover the importance of customer reviews at a later date.)
Let’s read the book description… Here’s a significant gate potential buyers pass through en route to a buy.
One or two paragraphs of sales copy determine whether the reader continues the evaluation process or moves on to some other writer’s book. If you’re an indie author, this is the first sample of writing that potential buyers see. If it’s not up to par, they won’t even read a sample of the work.
Unless it’s your mom clicking Buy Now, what you put in that book description is crucial to sales success.
How to Write Good Book Sales Copy
Here’s the formula I use to write my book descriptions. I learned it from Debra Dixon’s excellent GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict.
A CHARACTER wants a GOAL because he is MOTIVATED, but faces CONFLICT.
A good book description includes these elements:
- CHARACTER = Who
- GOAL = What
- MOTIVATION = Why
- CONFLICT = Why not
Here’s how I used this template in my description for MAMA SAID:
On his thirteenth birthday, Buddy gets shipped up north by his religious mother, who can’t cope with his sister’s teenage pregnancy. Just as he resigns himself to spending the entire summer at Gram’s farm caring for kittens and cows, his bitter sister Brinda arrives, ending his peace and solitude. When her boyfriend Jackie shows up and turns his attentions to Buddy from his bride-to-be, Buddy must do what Mama said–or take matters into his own hands. Download the short story “Mama Said” now for the chilling conclusion.
- CHARACTER = Buddy
- GOAL = Experience peace and solitude
- MOTIVATION = Escape from a stressful home and family situation
- CONFLICT = Jackie shows up to torment him
And I hint at the crisis: Buddy must choose to do what his dysfunctional religious mother says, or take matters into his own hands.
The final line prompts the reader to take action: buy now.
You can play with these elements, mix the order. But you need them all for an effective synopsis of your work. Intrigue readers with the promise of some valuable entertainment in store for them, and they’ll be more likely to click Buy Now.
Let me know if you’d like an evaluation. Until then, prosperous clicks to you!
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