1. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    Book Description Length

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by TheSpiderJoe, Dec 22, 2011.

    I've been wracking my brain over this for the past few days and I just can't seem to come up with a solid solution. My first novel is about to hit the shelves of Amazon.com and I don't know what an appropriate description length would be. I've seen some that were as short as 50 words and I've seen others as large as 500. I don't want to over-saturate the page with information but I don't want to leave anything out that might entice potential readers.

    In an essence, I'm stuck. I'll gladly send out my current draft to anyone willing to critique it or even post it in this thread. I have created a log-line for the book which I'm very happy with but I'd want the product description to convey a little more information to whet consumer's appetites.

    What's an author to do?
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you tried writing it yet, like a first draft of the presentation to see how much you wanna say about it? I'd say something like 200-300 words sound reasonable, but then i don't know how long they usually are. Why not browsing amazon.com for the ones you like, those that say a lot with a fair amount of words and try to make it work for yours as well? My entire presentation (to a publisher) were 368 words, but that included both a presentation of myself and the novel. The novel description was 214 words and it sure didn't feel too wordy, rather the opposite, but I liked to keep it all within a page, plus I felt it was enough to (hopefully) make them curious. Good luck and congrats on finishing your novel! :)
     
  3. seije
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    seije Member

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    I'm in the process of writing a query letter, and the 'back-cover' summary i plan to use is about 250 words. I feel that it piques the reader's interest without telling too much of the story, although I'm sure that a good summary will vary depending on the complexity of the plot.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Shorter is better. Separate paragraphs is better than one long one.

    That's my two cents.
     
  5. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    Currently, my book description is at 360 words. The plot itself is fairly complex as the book jumps 28 years in time.

    I have a really nice query letter that I have adapted into the book description (taking out non-story specific elements). I like the way it reads and I'm fairly confident in its description but my fear is that I may either entice or dissuade potential readers with it. Kind of a double-edged sword in that retrospect.
     
  6. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Congrats. Why don'tcha post it here? I'm interested.

    My guess is that the average reader spends maybe twenty seconds reading/skimming the description before making up their mind about a book, so I'd try to make it readable in that time frame. Just try to see it as a potential reader would as they're grazing through books (hard to do, I know, with something you've been toying with for a while).
     
  7. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    With a book description don't give away the plot or even attempt to summaries - give away the opening gambit, and a 'taster' - so the genre, is it love or adventure etc. Go for around 200 words. Shorter is better.

    On Amazon they seem longer because they also have reviews from readers, reviewers and newspapers.
     

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