Writing a Compelling Amazon Book Description: A Challenging Process.

Who’d have thought that something so short could be so challenging?

I’m fairly sure those was Goliath’s last thought as he faced down David. It’s also been my thought tonight as I’ve spent considerable time updating my Amazon descriptions. This process has involved reading several (lengthy) articles on how to nail a good book description, and also doing research into book descriptions around Amazon, especially among bestsellers and popular books in the mystery genre.

The bottom line that I came to was that my descriptions up until now haven’t provided enough impetus for readers to want to download. The covers have been fantastic and certainly gone a long way towards driving downloads, but I know that there’s always plenty of room for improvement in how I present my work.

With my new-found knowledge in hand, I started reworking my descriptions. My goals were to:

  1. Avoid any assumed knowledge
  2. Entice people by including elements of my stories that are unique
  3. Include open-ended questions that prompt people to find out more

So here we go. This was my old description for What Went Wrong With Mrs Milliard’s Mech?:

If you’re a fan of classic detective stories, look no further! Mrs Milliard’s Mech will keep you guessing right until the last moment.

When Mrs Milliard’s baker forgets his secret recipe, she turns to the best detective in town for help. Inspector Ambrose sets out to solve a mystery that could ruin Mrs Milliard and her fellow shopkeepers. Faced with a race against time to discover the truth, Ambrose will have to work quickly to find the surprising solution to this curious case.

Join Inspector Ambrose and help him solve the mystery of Mrs Milliard’s Mech today!

As you can see, the description was fairly basic. I was hoping to let people know my story is somewhat traditional (a classic detective tale) and also give an overall sense of the issues facing the lead character.

Here’s the new description:

If you’re a fan of detective stories, look no further! I H Laking’s debut novella will wrap you up in the new world of the Empire.

Mrs Milliard is on the verge of financial ruin. With a business deal about to expire unless her mechanical baker remembers his secret recipe, Mrs Milliard turns to Inspector Ambrose for help. But as Ambrose soon discovers, no one in Mrs Milliard’s neighbourhood is ready to talk.

 Will Inspector Ambrose uncover the truth before Mrs Milliard’s midnight deadline? Can he solve a mystery that seems impossible on first inspection? The culprit is closer than it seems, and time is running out.

Join Inspector Ambrose and help him solve the mystery of Mrs Milliard’s Mech today!

I want people to know that this is the first story I released: It’s new! I then went back and re-read my whole story (including picking up a few spelling and grammar issues – yikes!) and upped the drama and urgency in my description. I also included several prompts in the form of questions. Will Inspector Ambrose solve the case? Time is very short in this story, and I tried to get that across.
Now on toThe Vanishing Villa. Here was my original description:

If you enjoyed Mrs Milliard’s Mech, you’ll love The Vanishing Villa!

Inspector Ambrose returns in his second detective story. And this time, he may not survive to solve the case.

Francis Finney arrives home from holiday to find his house has vanished, and Inspector Ambrose must find the cause of the villa’s sudden disappearance. The neighbours aren’t talking, and Ambrose can’t believe that things are as they seem. His search for answers will lead to him deep under Traville to a place forgotten by time, and haunted by danger.

Join Inspector Ambrose as he faces his most dangerous case yet!

I wanted people to know this was the sequel to Mrs Milliard’s Mech. The problem was that people might not have read my original story… so not heaps of value there. I kept the rest of the description brief, and probably skipped a very important part of the story: assassins!
Here’s the new description:

Inspector Ambrose returns in his second detective story. And this time, the Assassin’s Guild awaits.

Francis Finney arrives home to find that his house has vanished, and Inspector Ambrose is called upon to discover the cause of the villa’s disappearance. When it becomes apparent that social tension may be behind the crime, Ambrose and his partner begin looking for a suspiciously absent butler. Their search for answers will lead them to the slums of Traville, capital of the Empire, and deep underground, where dark secrets lie in wait, along with a group of exploring assassins.

Will Ambrose discover how a whole house disappeared? What mysteries will the detectives find underneath the great capital? And can the great Inspector Ambrose survive a brush with the Empire’s most feared Guild?

Join Inspector Ambrose as he faces his most dangerous case yet!

As you can see, I’ve upped the focus on the Assassin’s Guild (who also return in the third story), because I think this is a really interesting part of the story (and a very important part of the Empire world in general). I’ve adjusted the rest of the story outline to make it clear that things are about to get dicey for Ambrose and Percy, and that they may not even survive. Again, I’ve added in questions to prompt people more.

So there you have it: two new descriptions which give more information, and hopefully get more people interested in the Inspector Ambrose mysteries! I’m now in the final stages of reworking the final book in the series, The Murder at Mansfield Manor, which will be released soon – so my description writing days are not done yet!

Please me know your thoughts on the new descriptions, I’d love to hear what you think!

One response to “Writing a Compelling Amazon Book Description: A Challenging Process.”

  1. […] Working on my book descriptions: I researched what makes an engaging description, and adjusted my book descriptions to fit these parameters. Again, this led to a small bump in […]

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