This is the back cover copy, but much more concise and snappy–it’s marketing material, not creative material. It’s a call to action, and that action is to get the reader of the description to buy your book.
Descriptions are tough. You’ve just written 90,000 words of a novel, so boiling it down to just a couple sentences seems quite impossible. So many characters and plotlines to cover here.
The trick is to find the heart of the story. What’s it really about? This is actually a really great exercise for looking at your novel with a more critical eye — think as a book seller now, and not as an author. How would you describe your book to a potential customer who has maybe 10 seconds of your time?
As a challenge, try to distill your book into one line if you can: “Some family curses are worth passing on.” (I have writer Loren Coleman to thank for that excellent tagline to my werewolf novel Family, Pack.)
Let’s dive deeper into these tricky ebook descriptions.
In all my research into self-publishing (y’know, that word still has a bit of a negative connotation in my brain, I’m sorry to say) and indie publishing (yeah, that’s much cooler-sounding), I’ve read over and over that the following three things are the keys to grabbing readers:
A great novel or story with a strong opening
An eye-catching, compelling cover
A snappy description that quickly tells the reader what the novel, story, or comic is about
Okay, you’re on your own for number 1. 😉
(But seriously, take a good look at your opening chapter, and especially your first few paragraphs, because ebook readers are going to want to sample your book, and that opening has to grab them right away. Do you have conflict up front? Error-free writing? Your best work, up-front? Make sure you do.)
And for item number 3 — snappy descriptions — I’ll cover that in the next blog.
So let’s go with item number 2 today and judge some ebooks by their covers, shall we?
So you’ve got your ebooks up at Smashwords, KDP, and Pub-It, right? And you have your novels set up as PoD books with CreateSpace and its various distributors.
You may have even gotten your ebooks into the Google eBookstore (or at least gotten them to the Processing stage of getting there!).
So… are you done with the uploading?
Almost! But first I’d like to highlight a newer distributor that not a lot of folks have heard of, but I think it’s one you should check out.
And ultimately, you want to have your books in as many possible stores as you can, right? So diversify, and don’t put all your digital and PoD eggs in one basket.
The distributor I want to share with you today is called DriveThruFiction. I first came across them when I was looking for other online sites to sell our digital comic, and we used a sister site called DriveThruComics (also a great site).
Google ebooks are stored in “the cloud,” instead of being downloaded onto your ereader, phone, or computer. They claim to be available on any device, and the ebook will synch up on all your devices. So you can start reading on your computer at work, read a bit on your phone during lunch, and catch up on your Kindle or Nook or other ereader that night, without losing your place.
Many independent bookstores have already integrated the Google ebookstore into their store website. Even my old-school, local independent bookstore here in Raleigh, Quail Ridge Books, has signed on with Google eBooks.
Google ebooks even has their own “fully integrated” ereader, the iriver Story HD. (I know, I haven’t really heard much about it, either.)
Look. This is Google, and Google is huge so I’m paying attention. So let’s see how it all works.
Here’s a thought or two about the future of print book publishing, from a small publisher’s perspective: Why print up 10,000 copies of a book, pay to store it in a warehouse and then pay more to ship it to bookstores, and pay again for returns if the book doesn’t sell?
Why not make it so each book has a press run of only as many books as needed? Even if it’s just one?
That’s print-on-demand (PoD). A customer orders a book, a book gets printed, and then shipped to the customer. No trucks full of boxes of books (except the UPS truck with the customer’s book), no warehouses, no returns. Just a printed book whenever it’s needed.
Pretty cool, huh? Luckily, the quality of PoD presses has gotten so high that you can’t tell them apart from “real” books from traditional publishers unless you know where to look.
And the PoD press I’m going to focus on for novels (not stories, as they’re not worth the effort) is CreateSpace, which is part of the Amazon.com empire.
After you’ve formatted your book for Smashwords, the Kindle, and the Nook, it’s just a few steps more to set up a book as a PoD book. Having a print version of your books makes it that much easier to reach more readers.