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Book descriptions

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by skip.knox, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    We all know that we have to write a synopsis of our book. If you've tried it, you know how very difficult that is.

    What I didn't know was how many different versions of a synopsis I was going to have to write. Or that somehow new ones keep appearing. Here's a starter list. I invite my fellow authors to add to the list.

    Amazon Ads: 140 characters (characters, not words!)
    Promo sites such as Fussy Librarian and Book Barbarian: 900 characters
    Promo site Bargain Booksy: 300 characters
    Facebook Link Click ad: 90 characters (yes, ninety)
    Amazon book description: 2000 characters
    Back of paperback: 150 to 200 words

    Note that you can't get away with just making something shorter or longer. Different blurbs--synopses, whatever--serve different purposes and speak to somewhat different audiences. At the same time, you want consistent messaging.

    And this leaves out traditional publishing, with its endlessly varying lengths of letters to agents, samples, and summaries. I also don't know what the length limits are over at Kobo, Ingram Spark, etc.

    Finally (or probably not finally), there's the various versions of an elevator pitch--what you say verbally to someone when they ask what's your book about. Saying it's about 300 pages only gets you so far.
     
  2. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    ...and then there are the times when you're not writing a synopsis but rather making the reader a promise of what reading the book is like.

    It ain't easy.
     
  3. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Inkling

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    I tend to use my back-of-paperback blurb everywhere. Did have to shorten it for the flap on my one and only hardcover. Never had much reason to write a true synopsis of any of the stories since my earliest days of querying (now I only query myself).
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    So, you don't advertise? You never do an agent pitch at a book con? Not being critical here, just asking.

    Which remind me of another bit of copy--an ad card or whatever copy you write for a book show or signing. You might have a slogan or something on a bookmark. Might have some copy on a flyer. That sort of thing.
     
  5. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Yes, yes, yes. These all irritate the crap out of me, heh heh. And the query synopsis that can be 1 or 3, or 10 pages... I had a synopsis of 1 and 10 pages ready to roll from my query days, and some agent asks for a 3 page synopsis... Deep down I'm thinking, "You contacted me, READ THE BOOK!" but instead I jumbled together something that probably sucked.

    What is a facebook link click ad?

    On the bright side, maybe, is that Bookbub Featured Deals write something up for you... which might not be a good thing. Their copy for Eve of Snows was okay, and worked well enough, but I would've done it a bit different.
     
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    There are, I think, three different kinds of FB ads you can run. Or maybe it's ten. FB is fairly impenetrable to me.

    BookBub will write copy for me? I didn't know that. I've not opened that door yet. I presume it's possible to write one's own copy as an option?

    Yeah, query letters are a whole other grotesque. One of several reasons why I gave up on trad publishing.
     
  7. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    The BB Featured Deal, not the basic ad, will write their own copy and they never offered to let me do it. I was surprised.

    With FB ads I run, there might be some character limits in the optionl description?, but if you push those boundaries you’re putting in too much. The “Primary text” isn’t limited, far as I know, but succinct is still probably better. Running your ads for traffic with placements in the Facebook Newsfeed is the best bet I’ve seen. Everything else just seems to drive up costs but not sales.
     
  8. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I don't think there's a hard limit for FB ads, or it's big enough not to matter.

    What does matter is that depending on where the ad is placed - which could be in something like 16 different locations, including on Instagram - the number of characters displayed varies. If you go above that number, there may or may not be an option to click the ad and see more.

    There are also places where no text is shown and it's just the image, or the headline.
     
  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    A note on FB ad placement... there's a FB ads guru out there who will feed you lots of BS along with the good (more likely it works for him, but not for me... his worst advice is to not set a limit on bids, he trusts FB... ha ha ha) BUT we both agree on one thing... Newsfeed Only. Everything else seems to be a money sink that drives your CPC up.

    Yesterday's ad on FB ran at 0.15 per landing page, 0.13 link click, 0.06 all clicks. Not bad for a Tuesday, weekend numbers trend lower, usually about 0.12 per Landing Page on weekends, plus I'm throwing more money at them on weekends. I recently toyed around with the "in-article" placements and they did better than previous FB attempts outside Newsfeed, but still ran things to 18-20/LP. Experiment for yourself, but I haven't yet seen anything to disprove this theory for my ads.

     
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