Author: Samantha Zacharda
Marketing Director & Promotion
Published By: Lot’s Cave
An Introduction To Descriptions
At Lot’s Cave, we read eBook descriptions daily. When a writer submits their manuscripts, their description is often the first chance for an impression. While we’re the first to recognize it takes not only a great description, but a great title and cover to successfully sell an eBook, the description is often the first impression readers will have. On our blog, website, and social media promotions, what readers truly gravitate towards is the description. Knowing that readers’ choices are impacted by a good description, it’s important to write a great one. Writing a great description isn’t as easy as many authors would like however, and many writers struggle to make that first great impression. With that in mind, we’d like to share a few tips we’ve learned as a collective group of writers and publishers.
What Makes A Great Description?
Great descriptions entice the reader from the first word, and sell the book even before the last sentence. Think of a book’s description as a personal selling pitch for the book. A great description doesn’t just inform readers, it appeals to their curiosity and intrigues them. What truly sells a particular book is the description’s ability to push the reader into an action, ideally downloading a preview of the book or purchasing it outright. Composing a great description requires writers to take a step back, and look at their work critically. Summarizing an entire story into a short paragraph isn’t easy. WARNING: many authors unintentionally turn descriptions into a synopsis—and it’s tough to sell a book based on a synopsis. Book descriptions are critical; think of them as a never-ending self-promotion opportunity.
How Long Should An eBook Description Be?
Description lengths change depending on publishing company needs. Still, varying degrees of length are so minuscule one could almost dismiss the issue. Part of the problem stems from the fact that a great description is actually quite short. Authors grow accustomed to writing as often and as much as they wish, but readers don’t want a mini book description. Authors must realize the ideal description length runs about 400 characters including spaces—about 75 words. Since ideal descriptions only contain 75 words, authors must be extremely selective in what they say about their book. Personally, I find writing more, then editing down, most effectively accomplishes this goal. A great description remains short while enticing the reader into reading more… not less.
Which Approach Works Best For Erotica?
Writing descriptions for erotic eBooks is a little different than writing in other genres. A great erotic eBook description must be sexy, or at least sexually appealing. An author’s word choices convey varying degrees of sensuality. The key to selling books can be found in appealing to a reader’s sexual interest. In any genre there are always key phrases or words. Using these words in a way that highlights their appeal provides an easy transition for readers, making a great description. Most publishing companies like to see a stated category, subcategory, or search terms for a manuscript. Including these items in descriptions not only sell readers and communicate an author’s market awareness; they also help Internet search engines place your book at the top of search results. Yet, it goes unnoticed how romance readers judge desirability in Erotica not only by a captivating description, but also by the subcategories described.
What Should Great Descriptions Include?
Now knowing what goes into making a great description, it’s important to know the basic content. A great description establishes all a reader needs to know about the story’s plot. The main characters and the setting should usually be established no later than the second sentence. With that established, all else is based on the initial starting sentences. The description should contain a hook that grabs readers into the plot, while not giving away the story. Done correctly, revealing plot details results in initiating a feeling of momentum building up throughout the description. This momentum entices readers provided the content is presented successfully. Erotic descriptions should also feel sensual, or capture the story’s desired romantic appeal. Nothing decreases a reader’s interest more than good descriptions failing to capture the essence of their favorite genre.
How Do Descriptions Appeal To Readers?
For Erotica, the best way to capture a reader is through sexual appeal. Notice, Sirs, this is not the same thing as sexual content—or even sex in general. Even most male readers relate to the experience and emotions behind the initial sexual attraction. A great description captures what the author already knows, the reason behind the book’s story. If a reader can relate to the story before even reading a word of it, they’ll be more likely to buy it. Enticing a reader’s curiosity is always a good method as well. People are curious, especially when it comes to what drives sexual attraction, so why not use this advantage? A great description appeals to the reader in many forms, not just one—can you include a second hook?
Can We Dissect A Description?
Let’s look at a real book description so we can obtain a better understanding of how this process works. The Lot’s Cave novel titled ‘Forbidden Promise’ contains an interesting Uncle-Niece erotic incest story. While this example may not be an ideal description, it highlights all the desired information. Uncle-Niece incest is not a very popular genre for new authors to break into, yet this book sells well. One can only conclude this is because the description truly sells the book. Feel free to find this as an example to work from for your own template. In no way is this meant as the ‘end all-be all’ of solutions. The following description just happens to be the one most readily available for use:
“Rose has a problem. Since catching her father having sex, she can’t keep from wanting him. Dad is clueless about his daughter’s desire. His kinky love life has always been kept behind closed doors. When Dad’s brother comes to stay for the summer, her Uncle isn’t the only one who can satisfy her desire. A night of kinky sex with Uncle may just be enough for Dad to examine his thoughts on incest.”
Forbidden Promise – by Lily Weidner
“Rose has a problem.”
The main character is established in this very short first sentence. However it fails to capture the reader’s curiosity right from the start. It’s not erotic even though it establishes the main character’s name and highlights an echo of the story’s plot. All the reader knows is that the character has a problem. The first sentence drives the reader to keep reading in order to figure out the main character’s complicating issue.
Drawing In The Reader
“Since catching her father having sex, she can’t keep from wanting him. Dad is clueless about his daughter’s desire. His kinky love life has always been kept behind closed doors.”
These three sentences propel the reader’s interest forward. Expanding on the first sentence, we begin learning more of the main character’s predicament. With the introduction of another character, we also start to see the sexual appeal of the story. Words like kinky, desire, sex, wanting, and closed doors, all initiate feelings of sexual curiosity or interest for the reader. At the same time, the words used will appeal to many different interests within the same market.
“When Dad’s brother comes to stay for the summer, her Uncle isn’t the only one who can satisfy her desire.”
This story’s particular setting isn’t obviously stated. The reader only knows it’s summertime, and the story most likely takes place in the family home. Again, the reader is driven forward by using enticing words. The introduction of another character can attract more readers with a change in the story’s appeal. Here, the reader starts to truly grasp the nature of the story. Notice however, detailing the main plot and setting takes only one sentence.
“A night of kinky sex with Uncle may just be enough for Dad to examine his thoughts on incest.”
Another hook in the last sentence captures the reader’s interest. The second hook builds on the reader’s interest and this prompts an outright purchase of the book. With the last sentence, we notice the conclusion to an even broader marketing process. What the description really does is propel the reader into an outright purchase of the book in order to discover the details. As a whole, the description accomplishes its desired goal, all in the span of 73 words.
How Can You Begin Writing Your Description?
The best way to start writing a description begins with the first thought coming to mind. Too many writers hesitate, causing them to lose their initial ideas. Remember, descriptions aren’t final until they’re sent out, and can always be edited down later. If a writer’s block-like difficulty occurs, simply begin making a list. Consider who the main characters are and determine a few keywords to draw in readers. Take a look at your initial keywords, and build hooks around them. If a writer’s block still occurs, read plenty of book descriptions for ideas, or even see new ways to format sentences into enticing hooks. If you’re unsure of where to start, remember, it’s okay to be a little lost or confused just start trying.
Already Have A Manuscript To Submit?
Lot’s Cave is dedicated to publishing material that most publishers would find too controversial. If you have a finished manuscript, we’d love to receive your submission. We have an easy five step submissions process! For us to receive your manuscript submit your story directly at our website here. Not quite ready yet to publish your manuscript, but have a few questions? No problem. Authors can always find more information directly at our website, or on our Writers Wanted page. Having problems or need clarification regarding our online manuscript uploader? Please feel free to contact Lot’s Cave directly with your questions here.