Since my last post, I have been looking into bestsellers of historical fiction novels. I do not have a novel, I am an author of a novelette series. I feel the best sellers are my best bet for finding juicy blurbs. Some of the novels have over 20k reviews, they hold best seller tags, and are names in the industry.
Whether or not my choice is a good one for using them as examples to “choose books in your genre,” I felt they still have something to teach me. So far, this is what I noticed.
- Many of the blurbs were long and detailed.
- They used italics and/ or bold writing
- If possible, they added smashing reviews from NYT or another well-known reviewer (for me, not possible…at least not yet)
I noticed that a few have reviews from previous books written. I found that interesting. I don’t have many reviews for my books written yet so that one is not possible for me either, but the future is bright. I will keep this in my mental notebook for when I am rich and famous with a massive amount of reviews.
I also looked at some books that had less of a following on Amazon. These books had fewer reviews, they had a simpler cover design, they were lower on the sales chart( farther back pagewise). What I noticed:
- No italics or bold fonts.
- No reviews are written for the book or previous books.
- Less of a detailed description/ Fairly generic, basic description or summary of the book.
I don’t know what you can get out of my observations with these blurbs. Many of us have little options when it comes to a Kirkus or NYT five star review. Many others can’t use previous reviews. I guess thinking out of the box, maybe a review from a lesser known person? Sal from Sacremento gave us a five-star review on our first book?
I would hope that Amazon would allow us to use lesser-known reviews in our blurbs. I am not confident this is a good idea, but if NYT works for the big guys, I am willing to try Sal.
One idea the big authors use that we all have an opportunity to take advantage of is the italics and bold type.
I know that Dave Chesson has a tool that creates more exciting blurbs using italics and bold type (if you are on his mailing list). I have yet to try it. That is on me. Now I see why this is such an invaluable tool. It is called the Free Amazon Book Description Generator Tool.
Descriptions of our blurbs, I would imagine, comes with practice. Just like writing the book itself, write the blurb, edit, revise, and so on.
Some of us do not have the financial circumstances for my next suggestion, but I will tell you all anyway.
I received an email the other day about an offer for someone else to write my blurbs. I will say this now…I NEVER TRIED THIS. I do not know how this works, but if this is your thing, this is the website: Selling for Authors
I don’t have money for others to write my own blurbs. As a matter of fact, if I wrote the book, I think I should think I could figure out how to write a decent blurb. Right now I am putting in the work to upgrade my capabilities. That is me, others may have a different opinion on the matter.
On to covers:
As I was reading these blurbs in the same category. Why not? Before I read the blurbs, I made notes on the covers. I saw a few things as I looked at my favorites:
- The pictures/ backgrounds had something to do with the titles (ex. scarlet sky for “Beneath a Scarlet Sky”)
2. The title is clear and visible ( the boy on the box is blurred/ saturated, possibly using the waterdrop effect…I can’t be sure, but the title is where your eyes are drawn).
3. Many of the fonts and backgrounds give you a feeling of what the book’s mood could be (ex: this font would be what Van Gogh would use if he had access to computer fonts, the background is symbolic of his paintings. To me, the background shows a crazy story, much like many sibling relationships, or Vincent Van Gogh’s life).
I am aware many of us are not artists or designers, but we are readers and see advertising on television, billboards, and the internet. What do you see that invokes emotion? What works for you? Think of colors, what does dark blue do for you? Light blue? Dark green? These colors can set up a feeling for your book.
I think that’s what we are trying to get at. If a writer is selling a humorous novelette, but the cover is black and red with a font that looks like it should be in a Freddy Krueger movie, you lost me as a reader.
One last note about my observations, I noticed that some well-known authors have their names larger than their titles. I assume that is for their followers. Ken Follet had a few books listed, but I can’t remember one title. I just remember his name. I need to make a mental note on that too.
Do I want my name to be remembered or the book I am launching that week? If I am that well-known, they will know my name. I would prefer the readers to see what they are reading. My opinion, you can do what you think is best when you are as well-known as Ken Follet. Maybe this is a tactic that I don’t know yet.
I think I covered enough for today (I know, corny). Stay fabulous.