Six Elements for Writing a Killer Book Description

One of the most crucial elements to selling a book is also probably the most difficult element for authors to create: the book description. Your book description is your first impression, your chance to hook readers and secure a purchase.

A great book description will get people interested, and it’s also your opportunity to get search engines like Google and Bing interested. The better your book description, the better your chances are of being noticed and staying at the forefront.

In this guide, we will walk you through how to write a great book description.

1. Write an ad, not a summary
The description is not meant to summarize your book—it’s an advertisement. Think of it as a trailer for your book, designed to make people want to read your book. You want consumers to take action and buy it.

2. Keep it short
It’s best to keep descriptions between 150–200 words long. Describe your book in simple, straightforward, and user-friendly words.

3. Use simple writing
Keep the writing simple. Use short, clear sentences. You don't want anyone to struggle to understand what you’re trying to communicate, so don't string too many ideas together in one long run-on sentence.

4. Write as the publisher, not the author
The book description should always be in a third person objective voice, and never your author voice. It is always written as someone else describing your book.

5. Don't include subplots
When it comes to the book description, the only thing that matters is the main plot or main theme of the book. Stick to the major ideas that the reader will take away and use.

6. Don't insist on doing it yourself
An author is often the worst person to write their own book description. Authors tend to be too close to the material and emotionally invested in the book. We recommend enlisting a professional editor for assistance.

You’re not just writing your description for your back cover. You’re also writing this for your social media network, your website, your bio information for book signings, flyers, and other print material. A book description is transportable—it’s easy to share, and as a result, is a major resource in your marketing campaign.

Need some guidance on writing your book description? Connect with one of our writing coaches at!

Casey Cease

Casey Cease

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