Tag Archives: sales

Write Bestselling Fiction: Your Blurb Needs People (Blurb 2)

Write Bestselling Fiction: Your Blurb Needs People (Blurb 2)

If you’re writing fiction, you hope it will be bestselling fiction. Since that’s the case, your blurb (book description) has just one function: to get its readers to take action.

What action? You want readers to read the book’s sample. Ideally, you want them to go on to buy the book, or at the very least to remember the book and the author’s name.

(By “book”, I mean ebooks too, of course.)

I coach writers, so I read a lot of blurbs. I advise students to focus on people in their blurbs. Readers want to read about people, above all.

If you doubt this, consider your favorite novels:

  • In the Harry Potter books, who’s more important, Harry and his friends, or Hogwarts? (I know that both are important, but go along with me here… :-))
  • In Game of Thrones, do you remember the setting, or the characters?

PEOPLE: who are your characters, and why should we care?

Try this exercise.

Choose your three main characters, and write a one-sentence summary of each one. Yes, just one sentence. Include each character’s major flaw, as well as his biggest virtue.

Here’s an example. “At just 26, Demetria Jones had already had 26 jobs, and she was proud of that.”

Demetria’s flaw: she can’t hold a job. You sense that she’s slightly out of step with the rest of society — and she doesn’t care. Her virtue is that she’s willing to keep trying job after job.

Are you interested in Demetria? Many readers will be interested enough to keep reading, and that’s what you want your blurb to do — keep readers reading. Then you want them to read the ebook’s sample too.

Craft your one-sentence summary while you’re writing your novel

Here’s why you need to craft your character summaries while you write: so that you remember what you’re writing. It’s all too easy, when you’re writing a novel, to wonder off onto weird tangents.

Sometimes this works. You start a scene, and you don’t know quite where you’re headed with the scene, but it seems interesting, so you keep going. If you’ve crafted a one-sentence character summary for each character, that acts as a compass, and you won’t wander too far off track.

With parts 1 and 2 of this series, you now know enough to write excellent blurbs. Have fun. 🙂

Read the first part of our “write a blurb which sells” series

This article is the second in a series.

In Writing Fiction To Sell: Your Blurb’s An Advertisement, Part 1, the first article in this series, we talked about the importance of clarity in writing your blurb. We also gave you a template, and some exercises.

Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST

Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST

Serial fiction has been around since the days of Charles Dickens. Self-publishing authors love it. Discover how to write serials in our new four week class. Coaching is included — you’re not writing alone.

By the end of the program, you’ll have published several episodes of your serial fiction. You’ll also be steadily marketing, while you’re writing and publishing.

Join us: you’ll have a lot of fun, and you’ll boost your fiction writing career.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..

Writing Fiction To Sell: Your Blurb’s An Advertisement, Part 1

Writing Fiction To Sell: Your Blurb’s An Advertisement, Part 1

This week I’ve been helping several ebook authors write their fiction’s blurbs. That is, their ebooks’ descriptions. I reminded them: “When you’re writing fiction, you’re writing about people. So your blurbs need to be about those people.”

As Henry James said:

“What is character but the determination of incident?”

“What is incident but the illustration of character?”

Your ebook’s description on the ebook retailers isn’t a bland retelling of your story. Nor is is an excuse to cram in as many keywords as you can. It’s a headline, in copywriting terms. A tease.

Here are the problems I found in these authors’ blurbs:

  • Confusion, too many names. Not only character names, but restaurant names, company names… (We’ll look at why including too many names in a blurb is a problem in a moment);
  • Telling what happened. We don’t care about events, unless they relate in some way to people we know. Use your blurb to make us care about your characters;
  • As mentioned — keywords. Please don’t do that. Your blurb is your one chance to advertise your book. Amazon’s algorithm works fine, without keywords in your blurb and/ or (heaven forbid) in your headline;
  • TL;DR (too long, didn’t read.) I used to be a fan of blurbs which were a few hundred words long, back when Amazon offered the blurb further down on the product page. Now the blurbs are right under the title. You only get a couple of paragraphs, then readers must click the Read More link. They won’t click unless you make those initial paragraphs count.

Let’s look at the problems, and how to fix them

1. Clarity is all: eliminate reader confusion

I advise my students to limit names in their blurb: at the very most — THREE names. Less is more.

You’ve got three tools to snag readers’ attention on your product page: your ebook’s title, your cover, and your blurb. But, and this is a BIG but… please don’t try to be too clever.

Clarity is everything. If you confuse a reader, he’ll click away, instantly. So keep your words simple, and easy to understand.

Here’s a simple blurb template.

Adjective CHARACTER NAME 1 wants/ has decided/ discovers STORY QUESTION.

Unfortunately, adjective CHARACTER NAME 2, wants ANTAGONIST’S GOAL.

This means (whatever the CONFLICT is.)

Another tip: complete the bare-bones blurb — using the template above — as soon as you’ve completed your first draft. If you haven’t thought about your story question, and what your characters want, this forces you to do so.

Writing blurbs is a vital skill for fiction authors, so this post is the first article in a blurb-writing workshop. Each post will have exercises so that you can practice your new skills.

Here are the  exercises for this post.

Two fun exercises to help you to write blurbs which sell your fiction

  1. Write a sentence about each of your main characters — two or three sentences for each one. Start by summing up each character in an adjective, and a verb.
  2. Sum up your novel’s (or short story’s) story question in a sentence.

Ebook Dominance: sell more copies of your ebooks, every day

Ebook Dominance: Market and SELL Your Ebooks In Just 15 Minutes A Day

Discover the marketing secrets of bestselling authors — you can market in minutes, from the comfort of your sofa…

How would you feel if your sales doubled, then tripled — and then YOU hit the Kindle hot sellers’ lists?

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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

How To Entice Readers, And Sell More Ebooks

How To Entice Readers, And Sell More Ebooks

Authors want to sell more ebooks. They search for a magic secret. While there are secrets, you don’t need them to sell many more copies than you’re selling at the moment.

Little things can make a big difference.

Little things: big sales

As you may know, I coach writers, and I’ve discovered that it’s NOT the super-secret marketing strategies that 80% of authors need. They just need to get back to the basics. You know: cover image, title, book description….

Today, with 80,000 ebooks flowing onto the Kindle store every month, you need to give your ebooks everything they need to be indexed correctly, and catch attention.

Tip: you can always improve. For example, check the genres into which Amazon’s placed your ebooks (scroll down the product page). Do they seem appropriate?

Let’s look at the basics.

1. Genres (categories): choose the most appropriate

How much time do you spend on the Kindle store each week? I hope you’re spending at least a little time there. Aim to familiarize yourself with the genres in which you’re writing. (Or the categories, if you’re writing nonfiction.)

Who’s in the Top 100 in a genre? Read the Look Inside excerpts for the top sellers. Ask yourself WHY they’re selling. Make lists of the top sellers. In some genres, the best selling titles change frequently.

One of my students wasn’t familiar with genres at all. She’d put her two ebooks into genres which just weren’t right. We shoved the ebooks into the genres for which they were most suited, and fixed the descriptions. Then I asked the student to spend an hour a week studying her genres on Amazon.

Her next ebook sold 145 copies on the day she published it. Her genre study wasn’t the only reason it sold — she’d started a mailing list. But she told me that more than anything else, browsing around Amazon gave her confidence. Why? Because she knew more that she did before, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she could sell.

2. Titles — try adding the genre

We talked about title tips here; read that if you need a little help.

Many authors add keywords to their titles on Amazon. I hate this with a passion. I hate hashtags in blog posts too, and for similar reasons. I hate it because: it looks stupid, devalues the title, and it’s a crutch.

That said, I’m all for adding your book’s genre to the title. Sometimes titles are ambiguous. Adding your book’s genre: a tale of romantic suspense, or a romantic comedy as a subtitle HELPS readers. (Hashtags in titles don’t help readers. Readers aren’t search engine robots.)

3. Use your descriptions: make them count

Pun intended on “count”. Amazon gives you 4000 characters for the description. That’s around 800 words. Use them. Make your descriptions enticing.

FWIW, be aware that your ebook’s description is advertising copy. Hire a copywriter, if you can afford it. (And NO, I’m not touting for work, perish the thought — I’m overbooked as it is. ;-)) Seriously, to repeat, your description is an advertisement.

Few authors create good descriptions. I include authors published by major companies in that group as well. If anything, traditionally published authors’ ebook descriptions are less inspiring than indies’. I’m not surprised at that.

Take this to heart, and to repeat once more: pay attention to your ebook’s description; it’s an advertisement.

4. Increase readers’  familiarity with a mailing list

Marketers are fond of saying that a buyer needs to see your name seven times before he buys. I think it’s many more times than that. The only way to appear on buyers’ radars regularly is to develop a readers’ mailing list. So — create a list, if you don’t have one.

Ebook Dominance: sell more copies of your ebooks, every day

Ebook Dominance: Market and SELL Your Ebooks In Just 15 Minutes A Day

Discover the marketing secrets of bestselling authors — you can market in minutes, from the comfort of your sofa…

How would you feel if your sales doubled, then tripled — and then YOU hit the Kindle hot sellers’ lists?

Ebook Dominance helps you to turbocharge your marketing, and sell more ebooks today.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.