Tag Archives: indie publishing

Getting Your Readers to Click “Buy Now”

Don’t let a humdrum book description keep readers from clicking Buy Now. Here’s how to make your book sales copy work for you.

You work hard to write a good story, make an eye-catching cover, and format your material professionally. Then you upload it to your favorite sales portal, creating a page where potential readers can find it and, hopefully, buy it. But then there’s that empty field staring your in the face: Book Description.

Just rattle off a few general lines and click Save, right?

Not if you want readers to buy your work.

Why Your Book Description is Important

It’s easy for readers to click a link to find your book online. But there’s a process they go through to decide whether they’ll buy it.

First, they look at the cover and the title in search results. If these intrigue them, they’ll open your book page.

If the price is right, they’ll keep reading.

How many people like the book? More than a few thumbs up. Cool.

Are there any reviews? If not, that means either the book has been posted recently or—gasp!—it’s no good. (We’ll cover the importance of customer reviews at a later date.)

Let’s read the book description… Here’s a significant gate potential buyers pass through en route to a buy.

One or two paragraphs of sales copy determine whether the reader continues the evaluation process or moves on to some other writer’s book. If you’re an indie author, this is the first sample of writing that potential buyers see. If it’s not up to par, they won’t even read a sample of the work.

Unless it’s your mom clicking Buy Now, what you put in that book description is crucial to sales success.

How to Write Good Book Sales Copy

Here’s the formula I use to write my book descriptions. I learned it from Debra Dixon’s excellent GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict.

A CHARACTER wants a GOAL because he is MOTIVATED, but faces CONFLICT.

A good book description includes these elements:

  • CHARACTER = Who
  • GOAL = What
  • MOTIVATION = Why
  • CONFLICT = Why not

Here’s how I used this template in my description for MAMA SAID:

On his thirteenth birthday, Buddy gets shipped up north by his religious mother, who can’t cope with his sister’s teenage pregnancy. Just as he resigns himself to spending the entire summer at Gram’s farm caring for kittens and cows, his bitter sister Brinda arrives, ending his peace and solitude. When her boyfriend Jackie shows up and turns his attentions to Buddy from his bride-to-be, Buddy must do what Mama said–or take matters into his own hands. Download the short story “Mama Said” now for the chilling conclusion.

  • CHARACTER = Buddy
  • GOAL = Experience peace and solitude
  • MOTIVATION = Escape from a stressful home and family situation
  • CONFLICT = Jackie shows up to torment him

And I hint at the crisis: Buddy must choose to do what his dysfunctional religious mother says, or take matters into his own hands.

The final line prompts the reader to take action: buy now.

You can play with these elements, mix the order. But you need them all for an effective synopsis of your work. Intrigue readers with the promise of some valuable entertainment in store for them, and they’ll be more likely to click Buy Now.

Let me know if you’d like an evaluation. Until then, prosperous clicks to you!

Supernatural thriller, DEATH PERCEPTION, on sale now!
Cremation… with marshmallows!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Treat Your Digital Fiction Like Software

How You Can Constantly Improve Your Indie-Published Work

When traditional publishing ruled, once a book was printed, it was set in stone. That’s why they employed editors and copy editors to improve the story and ferret out all the mistakes: once the book was typeset and thousands of copies printed, it couldn’t be corrected. But we’re in the digital age now.

If you’re an indie author, you’re responsible for everything: the writing, the formatting, the editing, the publishing, and the marketing. It’s hard to guarantee perfection at every step. The good thing is, nothing’s set in stone. In today’s publishing world your books are tantamount to software. If you didn’t get it right the first time, there’s always version 2.0.

At one point I debated whether this was ethical. After my initial release of a book, should I change it? I was still recovering from the bircks-and-mortar bookstore/paper tome/traditional publishing paradigm. Now I think, If you know it needs to be corrected or can be improved, can you ethically not give your readers the best product you’re capable of providing?

If you discover you need to make corrections to a work already published, you can do so and simply upload a new version to your favorite sales portal. Along with the power of having your own digital Gutenberg comes great responsibility.
Digital book 2.0
As a technical writer 25+ years in the software industry, I adhered to this principle in the millions of pages of documentation I wrote and published: If it needs fixed, whatever the reason, fix it and republish ASAP.

Going the extra mile is in your favor. If you get a less than spectacular review and the reader complains about something you can change, do so as quickly as possible to prevent others from jumping on the bandwagon. For instance, if a number of reviewers (precious few nowadays) bitch about how much they hated the ending, REWRITE IT.

Like the in-house Quality Assurance department, your beta readers don’t always catch everything before you publish. Once your work is in the hands of the public, you become Helpdesk and Support Services, fielding complaints and logging issues for product improvement. Your product.

I’m not advocating changing your fiction at the whims of your readership. If you made a decision that you know is right for your story, stick with it. Yet if it concerns some other issue you can rectify, do so. Reminder: it pays to take your time and ensure you’re putting your best out there the first time.

Sure, some readers will always own 1.0. These are the breaks. But some of your readers getting an improved pub is better than all of them getting version 1.0 with all its bugs. It’s simply not necessary with digital texts.

Amazon lets you notify readers that a new version is available. I did this once for a classic I had republished because an OCR scanning error turned into a factual error that I didn’t catch. I don’t recommend you do this unless absolutely necessary. Especially with fiction, once it’s read, it’s read.

But if you get a chance to improve your published work—whether it’s to correct typos, smooth out a scene, fill in a plot hole, or post a new cover—by all means, do it. Constant improvement is the professional stepstool to greater sales.

If you haven’t done so yet, please subscribe for more writing news (scroll to the very bottom of the page).

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: