While attending uPublishU at Book Expo America as a speaker at the end of May, I sat in on several excellent panel presentations.
One that I found particularly helpful shared the results of testing that BookBub has done on the text used to describe books offered for sale in its daily newsletters.
The company did A/B testing of different text elements. A/B testing basically means that they sent newsletters with "copy A" to one part of their list and newsletters with "copy B" to another part of the list, and then compared sales results for each version. Each A/B mailing tested a different variable.
The results are fascinating - and they will help you as you write the text for your Amazon sales page, your website, your book announcement press release, your e-mail announcement, and other promotional materials.
Here are the lessons from BookBub's research:
Quote a person, not a publication. When adding a blurb to your description ("A must for your beach read bag!"), quote an author, not a publication. Tests showed that descriptions with an endorsement from an individual sold more books than descriptions with blurbs from the press, such as Publishers Weekly.
Help your target audience see themselves in your description. "If you love thrillers, don't miss this action-packed read!" sold more books than "An action-packed read!" In other words, tell sweet romance readers, history lovers, etc., that your book is for them. Don't force them to figure it out for themselves.
For historical fiction, add a time period. Again, you're helping your target audience by saying, "This is for you."
Tell people you have good reviews. Citing the number of Goodreads reviews sold more books than not referencing them at all. I have to admit that this trick does work with me. I buy through BookBub regularly and when I see that there were 500 five-star reviews on Amazon, I pay attention.
When you've got reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, reference the higher number. In the example presented, the description that referred to more than 1,000 give-star reviews on Goodreads sold more books than the description that referenced more than 150 five-star reviews on Amazon. It's the number of good reviews then, not the site of the reviews, that matters.
Include awards. If your book won an award, mention it. You'll sell more books.
Here's what didn't matter:
- Bestseller type (New York Times vs. USA Today, for example)
- Posing a hook as a question rather than as a statement
- Mentioning the age of the protagonist
- Mentioning it's the author's debut book
About SandraSandra Beckwith is a former publicist who has won several national and regional publicity awards and teaches authors how to generate long-term media buzz for their books. She is the author ofthree books on publicity, conducts publicity workshops, and writes frequently on small business marketing and management topics. Please visit her book publicity site and publicity blog to learn more.
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Need a writer's conference speaker or workshop presenter? Sandra's workshops at the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual conference, the University of Wisconsin Writers Institute, and at other industry conferences share priceless how-to information you won't get elsewhere. Contact her at email@example.com for more information.
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Sandra Beckwith, Editor & Publisher