Book description: a quick word

26 Dec

When I pick a book to read, my choice is influenced by the following elements:

  1. The cover
  2. The title
  3. The description

More precisely, the book cover gets (or not) the book in my hands, or grabs my attention enough to make me read the description. As for the book title, sometimes it is as important as the book cover – it can easily accomplish the same. But sometimes, when the cover is very good, I can ignore the title and still read the description.

But the description is the element that determines my buying decision.

This is why I want to share some advice for creating an enticing book description.

  • Imagine yourself in your reader’s shoes. What would a person who knows nothing of your book feel while reading the description? The secret is to give some elements that will fascinate and make longing for more.
  • For fiction books it is often better to show a piece of your story or to write what it is about instead of only saying something like “This is a great fantasy book. It will entertain both children and adults”.
  • Keep it short and simple. Avoid giving away too much detail: too much text looks scary for some people, you can’t believe how many of them just don’t want to read even a short piece of text and would rather hear it from someone. And then, the aim of the description is only to give them a foretaste of the story, to tell them what it is about.
  • It can be a great idea to simply put a short but juicy piece of a chapter into your book description – not only it perfectly captures the attention (if the piece is well-chosen, which is a tricky part as well), but also it gives a reader a glimpse of the author’s writing style.
  • Some authors like putting a reader’s or reviewer’s quote that describes the book. It works well, but it can backfire if overdone.
  • If you have a chance to sell your physical book at a fair or a convention, your potential readers will give you the elements they want in the description, just listen to what they are asking you about your book.
  • The description is the first impression of your book, so be very careful with spelling and grammar mistakes.

If you have some more advice on the matter, please share 😉


Kateryna Kei, Author of Raven Boy, adventure and romance young-adult saga

1 Comment

Posted by on December 26, 2014 in Author Resources


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One response to “Book description: a quick word

  1. Mili_Fay

    December 27, 2014 at 5:18 am

    I never pick up a book if I do not like its cover (unless a friend read it and told me I have to read it). This way, if the book turns out to be bad, at least I can enjoy the pretty cover. So far, my favourite cover is Susan Krinard’s “Touch Of The Wolf” (, though I also love “The Selection” and “Mortal Instruments” covers.

    I do not really care about the title, but I would not buy the book if I do not like the description. I like the descriptions that create questions in my mind I have to have answered. For example, I have been toying with this:

    “Lauraliee Lumijer, a reluctant princess, thought that becoming queen would be her greatest challenge. At sixteen, not only does she bind her soul with the Water Spirit to become a Warrior of Virtue, but she is expected to lead her cousin and sister on a dangerous mission to prevent a psychotic Dragon Lord from engulfing Ardan in another war. Will she succeed, but more importantly, will she be able to keep their mission a secret from her overprotective mother?

    Diamond Pendragon is thrilled that his father is alive, but he can barely recognise the man he loved in the enraged Dragon Lord that emerged from the granite prison. He is also not sure that his father’s desire for a war with humans is the answer to everlasting peace. He never had any trouble with the generations of human rulers, but maybe that is because since his father’s defeat he has been ruling the dragon-people in a hermit kingdom. If only he took the trouble to find out what humans are really like while he had the chance!”

    The description is not quite to my satisfaction, yet, but I hope it gives you the idea of what I mean by creating questions in a reader’s mind.

    Also, it is important to inject the tone of the book in the description. I hope to convey that even though the subject of my book is very serious (war between two races, perils of a long journey), the book will be filled with adventure, humor, and a hint of romance.

    Do you have a favourite book description that made you read the book?



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