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How to Write a Stellar Book Description (And What to Avoid)

February 23, 2021 (Last Updated March 10, 2021)

Nicole Garrison

Are you ready to welcome your book into the world? Then, you'll need a captivating book description to attract readers. Give the readers a glimpse into what they can expect between the covers. With that in mind, let's dig deeper into the dos and don'ts of writing a book description that sells.

How to Write a Stellar Book Description:

Make It Concise

The book description should be short and direct. Aim for 150-250 words long. That’s the ideal length for summing up your work of art.

It’s important to make the description concise because you don’t want to bore the readers. The readers just want some insight into the topic of the book. They don’t want to read the whole thing in the description.

The length limit will also give you some boundaries and ensure that you don’t include too much information. You want to spark their imagination without revealing it all.


Use Simple, Everyday Language

When a potential reader comes across a book description, they want a no-fuss explanation of what your book is about. Bear this in mind while writing the description.

Using everyday language will help people from different backgrounds and breadth of knowledge understand it. Moreover, casual and straightforward language is shown to be more engaging when trying to seal that purchase.


Hook the Readers In

The first line can be determining. If you don’t grab the readers’ attention with the very first sentence, they can easily move on.

You can hook the readers with a bold statement, question, or announcement of a mystery. It all depends on your book’s genre and topic.

To exemplify how you can hook the readers, take a look at the first sentence of Philip McKernan’s, One Last Talk book description:

“If you were about to leave this planet, what would you say, and who would you say it to?”

This hook makes you think. It breaks your barriers and lures you to walk into the curious mind of Philip McKernan. He managed to make the readers inquisitive about what he has to say. That’s what your goal should be as well.


Hint at the Climax

A simple hint at the book’s climax can consume the readers with that “I must know what happens” feeling.

Here’s an example from the book description of The Shack by William Paul Young:

“Against his better judgment,

 he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.”

A book description is a tool for getting people to read the book. Just hinting at the climax (without giving away too much) can be the necessary trick that will close the deal.

Angela Baker, a self-published author and contributor writer at TrustMyPaper, said that, “Hinting the climax is very powerful, but it can easily backfire if you don’t do it right. If you don’t balance it out well and reveal too much, there will be no need for the reader to buy the book.”

Therefore, think through how you can introduce the climax without shuttering the mystery.

Explain Why Readers Should Choose Your Book

Why should I buy this book? That’s the question that roams in the reader’s mind when they come across your book.

The description is your chance to provide readers with an answer. Do you offer thought-provoking discoveries? Is the reader going to enter a thrilling world of mystery? Or, is this book going to change his or her life forever?

Here’s an example from Cameron Herold’s Vivid Vision book description:

“Vivid Vision is a revolutionary tool that will help owners, CEOs, and senior managers create inspirational, detailed, and actionable three-year mission statements for their companies.”

The description directly states how the book will help the reader. Be clear about why your book is worthy of the readers’ attention, and they’ll know why they need to buy it.


What to Avoid When Writing a Book Description

Now that we have covered the dos, let’s get to the don'ts.

Certain things can lessen the quality and effect of your book description. Make sure that you avoid the following when writing the description.

Don’t use the first version of the description

Don’t settle for the first description you write. Create several versions and weigh your options. If you want someone else to edit your description draft and add that touch of objectivity, hire an editor.

Don’t use time-sensitive language

Avoid words like “most recent,” “soon,” “latest,” “last year,” “forthcoming,” and other time-sensitive words. For example, saying "Based on last year’s research…” in the description won’t be true anymore if the reader comes across your book three years from the time it was published. Time-sensitive words can make your book description outdated in no time.

Don’t forget to make it “scannable”

Structure the description to make it digestible and scannable. A full block of text can be repelling for a reader. Pay attention to formatting the description just as you carefully format the book. Use paragraphs, shorter sentences, and even quotes in italics if you want to break up the text.



Use these tips to write a book description that will make the readers want to grab your book from the shelf or hit that purchase button. Invoke their curiosity and leave them wanting more of that amazing writing of yours. Take your time and compose an impactful book description. It will be worth it once your book starts selling like candy.

When you’re ready to take the next step, partner with 48 Hour Books and contact us today!


Meet Guest blogger Nicole Garrison!

Nicole Garrison is a content strategist, writer, and contributor at Supreme Dissertations and a number of platforms. She is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research. In her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and a curious beekeeper. Moreover, she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine.

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Annamarie N/A Powell April 03, 2022

Thank you for the valuable information I need and helping me to write better!

48 Hr Books April 03, 2022

Thanks, Annamarie - We are glad you find the article helpful! Happy writing!

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