When you self-publish your book, there are a few things that you have to get right to have any chance of success. Of course, your book has to be something people want to read. Then you need a great cover. You have to choose the right categories. And you must have an excellent product description.
This description can be the difference between success and failure.
When Louise Voss and I published Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death ourselves, we spent a lot of time tweaking and testing the descriptions – with great results.
The first few months Killing Cupid was live, we did little bits of tweaking, but didn’t put a huge amount of effort into it. In May 2011, the book had climbed so it was just outside the top 100 on Amazon, and it appeared to be stuck there. At that point, Amazon showed on screen what percentage of people who viewed your item bought it, and our rating was lower than a lot of books that were higher than us on the list.
So I studied what those books did better. It wasn’t the reviews – we had a solid 4.5 star rating. And I didn’t think it was the cover, which had, after all, drawn people to the page. Maybe it was the extract of the first couple of chapters – but there wasn’t much I could do about that quickly (I’ll be writing more on this topic at a later date).
It must be the product description, I guessed. And I spent the next few days analysing what the books towards the top of the chart were doing differently to us and, using what I’d learned, re-wrote the description of Killing Cupid.
Sales doubled within an hour.
And a day later we entered the top 100. Then the top 50. Climbed all the way to No.2…
Changing the description gave us the boost we needed to shoot up the charts. There is a science to it – and an art – and so many writers who spend a year on their book totally neglect their description.
This is the description that sent Killing Cupid up the charts:
Alex Parkinson is obsessed with his writing tutor, Siobhan. He will do anything to be with her. He stalks her on Facebook and finds out where she lives, buys her presents using her own credit card and sends her messages telling her what he wants to do to her. He breaks into her house and hides in her wardrobe, reads her diary and listens to her while she takes a bath…
Soon, he believes, she will realise they are meant to be together. But when a ‘love rival’ comes on to the scene, Alex has to take drastic action. Soon, a young woman lies dead on the concrete after tumbling from the roof of her house. Now there is no-one standing in the way of him and his unwitting true love…
But after Alex is scared off, Siobhan decides to take revenge. How dare he lose interest? She turns the tables on her stalker and his new girlfriend. At the same time, an old friend of the dead woman starts to investigate what really happened… As their lives unravel and the past closes in, Alex and Siobhan embark on a collision course that threatens to destroy both them and everyone around them.
Filled with suspense and dark comedy, and with a unique twist at the end that you will never guess, KILLING CUPID is written in alternating chapters, showing the male and female viewpoints.
I used those lessons when I wrote the description for our second book, Catch Your Death:
A secret conspiracy. A killer virus. A race to save the world.
Imagine if Dan Brown, Steig Larsson and Michael Crichton sat down together to write a fast-paced medical conspiracy thriller set in the English countryside, featuring evil scientists, stone-cold killers, a deadly virus and a beautiful but vulnerable Harvard professor.
That’s CATCH YOUR DEATH, the No.1 UK Bestseller from Louise Voss and Mark Edwards, the writing team behind the smash hit thriller KILLING CUPID.
Esteemed virologist Kate Maddox thought she was escaping to a new life. But before she can face the future she must deal with the ghosts of the past.20 years ago, Kate was a volunteer at a research unit in the English countryside where scientists experimented to find a cure for the common cold.
That summer, Kate fell in love with a handsome young doctor, Stephen. But her stay at the unit ended in Stephen’s tragic death and Kate fled to Boston and a new life at Harvard.
Now, Kate is back in England and on the run again – this time, from her cruel husband – and trying to find a fresh start for her and her young son. But a chance encounter with Stephen’s twin brother, Paul, sets her on a terrifying path of discovery. What really happened at the Cold Research Unit two decades ago?
As Kate and Paul travel across England in search of the answers, they are unaware they are being hunted. Pursued by both her estranged husband and a psychopathic killer who has an unhealthy obsession with his quarry, Kate must fight to solve the puzzles of the past – uncovering a sickening betrayal and a truth she never dreamed possible.
CATCH YOUR DEATH is a fun, page-turning thriller that also asks serious questions about how much we can rely on the people we entrust with our lives.
I am certain this description helped us get to No.1.
Want me to write your book description for you? Click here for more details.
Category: Kindle publishing