Your book’s description is a great way to grab a potential reader’s attention, so you want to make the most of that opportunity by using language that shows readers what they’re in for instead of language that tells them. In other words, if you think your book is funny, don’t say that in your description. Instead, write a description that is funny!
That may sound like common sense, but I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve checked out a book on Amazon but have declined to click “purchase” because the brief description says something like, “This entertaining, hilarious story will have you falling off your chair.” I’d be much more inclined to buy the book if the description made me chuckle, even a little bit. Now if a reviewer writes things like that about your book, by all means use them, in quotes and with attribution, as often as you can. That’s called third-party credibility, and it’s golden in marketing.
To explain the concept of show vs. tell, I often use the analogy of online dating. Just like the endless selection of books available, there are countless online profiles vying for your attention. Imagine yourself scrolling through profile after profile, each of which includes a brief self-summary. Would you want to go on a date with a man who calls himself “smart, charming, and fun to be around?” Or would you rather meet a man whose self-summary clearly shows that he is smart, charming, and fun to be around? I would certainly choose the latter.
Now imagine a reader scrolling through endless options of books in search of a funny read. If he laughs or even cracks a smile when he gets to your description, what do you think he’s going to do?
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2016 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.