So you’re an author with a newly written book manuscript, ready for submission to the publisher for release and public retail distribution and you’re asking yourself what’s next? Well first of all, congratulations on achieving what so many only dream of doing!
Now that you’ve created the product to be the best that it can possibly be, proofread and edited to bring on the polish, painstakingly poured over every word and every line to ensure that your content is structurally and substantively sound and error free, the next step is submission of the cover design and manuscript to your chosen publisher/distributor for their final run through their conversion software in readiness for releasing the book for retail marketing and distribution.
Full stop! Once ready for submission, the author still has another essential element of the publication process yet to complete; the ‘Book Description’ or in industry terms the ‘Sales Pitch Blurb’ which are most often one and the same. If you take a look on the author retail pages of new publications on the publisher’s website you will see a cover design image of each title illustrating the front cover of each book being sold.
Right next to those cover images you will typically see the ‘Book Description’, often known from a marketing perspective as the ‘Sales Pitch Blurb’. For many of you who purchase or publish books on Amazon.com you will be quite familiar with the general format of ‘The Blurb’. The blurb is also frequently found on the back cover of print format publications and this variation will depend on publisher platform and in some instances author preference where afforded.
Purpose of the Blurb
Next to the cover design visual itself, the book description or sales pitch blurb is the most critical marketing element of your book presentation on the publishing platform. The browsing consumer has read promotional copy that you have posted to social media or a paid advertisement which links back to the author publishing page. They land on the new publication retail page and hopefully, after a number of passing seconds of close scrutiny of your book cover design, they are most suitably impressed and wanting to find out more.
The next step for the browsing consumer is to check out your book description whether on the back cover of the book they hold in their hand within the book store itself or as an accompaniment to the cover image on your online publisher retail page. After having engaged enthusiastically in the cover image let’s assume that the consumer is anxious to see more. They begin to read the book description which for all intent and purpose is the sales pitch blurb that will compel the consumer to buy your book!
The blurb is the quintessential tool for capturing the potential buyer’s attention and interest. This is the critical marketing copy that will either make or break the sale assuming that the consumer has not received a very strong recommendation about the book by someone with whom they implicitly trust.
What You Should Include in Your Blurb
You want to make sure that your book description or sales pitch blurb, whether associated directly with your author retail page as described above or incorporated into sales copy for a paid advertisement, is a carefully and skillfully executed enticement that provides an overview/glimpse of the storyline in a well-crafted blend of the primary characters to snippets of intriguing glimpses of geographical locations, powerful scenes and internal/external situational influences, tantalizing measures of fragrance, feel and anticipation without giving too much of the story away. Remember, you want to develop a sense of great anticipation and the desire to purchase the book to get the whole story! Give away too much and what is the sense of the consumer buying the book?
If you have not yet written a sales pitch blurb or book description nor engaged in any formalized copywriting, my strongest suggest to you is to either hire a copywriter to prepare the blurb for you or at the very least do extensive research in advance of essentially copywriting the blurb. This is not something you can sail through on a wing and a prayer. There is a skill level to copywriting that is essential to understanding the development of this critical piece and you cannot afford to leave this to chance.
Unless you quickly capture and retain the consumer’s attention, at least sufficiently to want to read the sample content preview that comes with the cover design or immediately add your book to their purchase cart, you will lose them fast. There is no room for mundane, generic content in the blurb’s development.
Copywriting is defined as written content which is intended to increase brand awareness and to persuade the consumer to decide to act i.e. to hire, to read, to purchase. This specialized form of content writing is the strategic delivery of words that will get people to take action and is one of the most essential components of online marketing. Effective copywritng takes time to research, study and analyse its essential cause and effect; to understand which approach to writing copy will have the greatest effect on the consumer/reader.
Need to Know: The copywriter must understand what their targeted audience’ perspective on things is; your message must align with how your prospective customer sees things. Consider carefully what readers love most of all about your genre. What motivates them to keep coming back for more and for the first time buyer who does not know your work, what is this particular author all about and why are people reading his or her publications?
Know and understand what the reader’s motivations and desires are and ultimately, the copywriter must meet the basic expectations and go beyond to exceed their expectations! The author’s story must also meet and exceed the consumer’s expectations but that is a subject for later discussion outside of this topic.
Power Points for Emotional Triggers
Now that you have the basis of an understanding of the psychology behind the words that go into your sales pitch blurb, now let’s take a look at the essential elements of the blurb that you need to adhere to that will help to ensure that your book description/blurb do as intended effectively from a marketing perspective.
Develop Immediate Curiosity
- Throughout the blurb, give the browsing consumer a hint of the plot. Use short, descriptive sentences that give away a little of the storyline, just enough to stimulate or entice curiosity and the desire to purchase.
Paint a Vivid Picture
- This visual in the reader’s mind is so critical. They must easily relate to what they are reading. Use touch points that highlight locations, landscape and building structures central to the story. Liken elements of the book to the styling of similar popular publications/authors of the same genre and draw on the reader’s growing sense of anticipation with references to essential situational plot.
Effective Character Identification & Development
- Identify your primary characters , their occupations or notoriety and the essence of their purpose or role in the story.
Set The Scene
- Identify the primary geographic location(s) featured in the book. Use engaging, descriptive wording to enhance the reader’s sense of fascination and excitement and its potential significance to the story.
Pose a Relevant and Stimulating Question
- Draw the reader into the story with reference to a question that must be answered. Compel the browsing consumer to read on, to buy the book with this technique!
Use of Exaggerated or Sensational, Overstated Language
- Use ‘Hyperbole’ in your descriptive language by using expressions which excite the imagination characterized by obvious and intentional exaggeration when describing critical situations that present themselves. Avoid bland descriptions that do not stimulate interest, curiosity or excitement and the desire to find out what happens in the story!
Book Reviews, Quotes, Reference to Your Previous Books
- Use references where your book has been compared to that of another notable/popular author’s style.
- When you have sought out advance book reviews for your new publication, highlight particularly vivid and expressive quotes by readers who have raved about your new release.
Length of the Blurb
- Authors vary the length of their sales pitch blurb/book descriptions to a degree, at times designed to accommodate space allocation and location of the blurb whether as the book description on the author retail page of the publisher, front matter of the book or back cover copy. The blurb length, again depending on space allocation and placement of the copy, will range from approximately 150 words to 325 words. Usually the book description field will identify the maximum word count permitted. Take advantage of the specified allowable word count to effectively market your publication. Wherever possible my copy tends to be just over the 300 word mark. 150 words does not give you much space to cover the essentials to best advantage.
- Keep clearly in mind the significant importance of the ‘sales pitch blurb’; it is the most essential and immediate marketing tool associated with the book publication and typically what browsing consumers review right after they initially scan and engage in the front cover design and its textual elements. Make every word palpable and compelling to motive the sale!
Sample Sales Pitch Blurb for a Published Book
Following is an example of a sales pitch blurb/book description that I wrote for my own most recent publication, a collection of my fifth volume of original works of poetry and prose titled ‘HEARTLANDS’, an Amazon.com publication. The actual copy and its tone selected for your particular publication and its genre will predicate how your blurb reads out but the principles of its composition, as relayed here previously, are incorporated in the piece and will give you a sense the framework needed to build an effective sales pitch blurb.
HEARTLANDS; TAKE THE JOURNEY
Sample ‘Sales Pitch Blurb’
Poet, writer Don MacIver has once again drawn upon his innermost emotional connection to contemporary prose and poetic verse, greatly influenced by all things that continuously inspire and foster visual perceptions through his written word and the desire to follow our own dreams.
Heartlands, a diverse range of highly responsive poetic works, takes the reader through a deeply personal engagement of life experiences and our natural surroundings that impact our living experience in a profound and enriching way that makes Heartlands a personal library favorite. Finding the ultimate connection whether through inspiration, romance and relationships, the powerful and deeply personal impact of our homeland, loss of a loved one, the tragedy of global military conflicts or just plain whimsical fancy; it’s all here on the pages of this exceptional fourth volume of this writer’s original works of poetry.
Imagine your own connection to candlelit dreams, our richly inspiring history of human hardship and accomplishment, a meeting of minds, finding your way in life, deeply emotional moments charmed by a romance, the heartache of misunderstandings and estrangement. Walk a pathway into the depths of an enchanting forest filled with the fragrant essence of wilderness, its solitude and restorative energy. Embrace your homeland, your ‘Heartland’, the very place of your upbringing, explore and discover the many possibilities that life affords our decision as they would shape our present and future.
Forever inspired and indebted to the brilliance of master poets through the ages, this poet writes in a contemporary style through a fusion of traditional composition elements that stimulate the reader’s sensory perceptions while affording each reader the luxury of their own interpretation and responses.
This writer’s deeply heartfelt and emotional connection to highly relatable poetic verse continues to engage him as a lifelong passion. ‘Heartlands’ is a nurturing, healing and uplifting reader experience.
You are cordially invited to dim the lights, cozy up in your favorite place of refuge and solitary, sip on something soothing and just let the words take you away. Feel the light and its earthly origins through ‘Heartlands’.
© Don MacIver, Lasting Impressions Editing 2016; Heartlands, sales pitch blurb
© Don MacIver, Lasting Impressions Editing 2017