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The Importance of Your Book Description

When you apply for a Readers’ Favorite review, you are given a unique chance to tell reviewers more than you can on Amazon, but your Book Description is equally vital. You are addressing avid readers actively looking for reading matter, but will they choose your book?

They won’t if your “blurb” makes a poor impression, or if they do because the genre is one they enjoy, they will approach reading it with reservations, which is worse.

You need beta readers, preferably people who haven’t read your book, to tell you: a) does it interest them; b) is the subject, fiction or non-fiction, clear; c) have you let typos slip through. One typo can be the all-time put-off. If an author can’t write one or two paragraphs correctly, how many errors does his/her book contain?

Length of the blurb. Some are so short reviewers are left wondering what they are likely to find, but overlong is boring. Also, think before you include praise from other sources. It comes close to saying “he/she thinks my book is brilliant, so you should rate it 5 stars”, and nobody likes orders, even if they are only implied

Next comes the biggest difference of all, unless you open your Amazon blurb with “contains adult material”, which could be anything and wastes space before a potential reader must click “more” to read on, or you limit your market by specifying the age to whom advertising may be sent.

Mature Content (optional). Please indicate if your book has explicit language, sexual situations, graphic violence or any other unique qualities. This will ensure you get the right reviewer for your book.

Note the word “optional”. If the instructions don’t apply to your book, you should leave the space blank. Remember, too much to read is boring. However, if they do apply, typing “all” is no use; it doesn’t indicate enough.

Few fiction books, other than those written for children, can claim to contain no swearing; the characters wouldn’t live. A warning is only needed if the language used is obscene or the characters use foul language constantly; some reviewers might find that offensive.

Apologies such as this should be avoided. “Sex scenes are included, but these are necessary to show the character properly and are not intended to affect the reader.” A good sex scene will reveal character and drive the story, and it wouldn’t do that if it read like a biology text book. Also, some reviewers look for these warnings, so it’s your chance to say, subtly, “this is a sexy story”: enjoy it.

Graphic violence occurs in war stories based on reality or the paranormal ­– it is a feature of detective stories, psychological thrillers etc. The list of genres is long, and if the book description is good, violence will be expected. “Includes a description of the murder victim” can be left out. “Includes scenes of horrific slaughter” is valid.

Unique qualities – this up to you. What might attract or put off a reader that you haven’t already included? Shouldn't it be in the blurb?

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Sarah Stuart