The Official Blog of Iain Rob Wright: Kdp Product Description Guide...

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Kdp Product Description Guide...

It's been a while since I offered anything helpful, so I thought I would briefly mention my method of creating product descriptions for my books, and hopefully pass on a few tips.

Below is the product description for my novel, Ravage. (Click the picture to visit the full size page.)

You will notice that my product description makes use of both bold and italics. A vast number of KDP authors make no use of text formatting within their product descriptions and end up with bland, featureless pages. The reason for this is because adding formatted text requires the use of basic HTML tags, and If it isn't easy, most don't do it.

But if you make the effort, you can really do a lot to make your page stand out from your peers. Using HTML tags can give you a real step up in the professional appearance stakes.

Now, I will try to be really simple with these instructions as I'm not the most technically minded, but in a nutshell this is how you put a word in bold.

In your product description (on the KDP title editing page) add the following tag <b> before a word to start bold and end it with </b>.  That's it. Just use <b> to start bold and </b> to end it.

For example.  The words in bold are the <b>ones between the tags.</b>

Doing italics is exactly the same, but with an 'i' instead of 'b'. The words in italics are the <i>ones between the tags.</i>

If you do this you can do titles, subtitles, separate the blurb from the endorsements,etc, and basically employ the things that marketers do often by using text formatting for advertisements.

Now, in regards to Createspace (for your paperbacks) you need to be even more technical because it will not accept manual paragraph breaks, which means it leaves you with a messy block of text with no returns or breaks (I'm sure you've noticed).  To remedy this you can do the following within Createspace or Author Central.

A line break (like pressing ENTER once) can be achieved by using <br>
Whereas a paragraph break (like pressing ENTER TWICE) can be achieved by using <p>


Below is the full html product description that I have used for Ravage on Createspace. Compare it to my Amazon product description (for the paperback) to see how it came out:

<b>***NEW 2015 EDITION***</b>
<i>There's a nasty bug going around...</i> <br>
Nick Adams is an unremarkable man. The only good things in his life are his supportive wife, Deana, and his son, James. They are the only reason he continues to toil at his demoralising job as manager of a small phone shop. He feels in his bones that he is meant for something better, but better never seems to come around. Today, the only thing that has come around is a single, solitary customer, and it doesn't look like the man came to buy anything. In fact, he looks quite unwell.
It won't be long before Nick's entire life is turned upside down, sending him on a frantic journey through a ravaged world that will ultimately lead him 500 feet upwards to a hilltop amusement park. Is it the last safe place on Earth? Or are the monsters at the top of the hill even worse than the ones below?
<i>Welcome to Ripley Heights, where the fun never starts...</i>
<b>Iain Rob Wright reinvents the zombie apocalypse while remaining faithful to its traditions. A book sure to please fans of both George Romero and 28 Days later, Ravage is the first book in a unique and terrifying apocalypse.</b>
"Iain Rob Wright scares the hell out of me." J A Konrath, author of Origins and Afraid <br>
"A Master of the genre." Matt Shaw, author of the Black Cover books <br>
"Cuddle up to this novel and it might rip your throat out. A fun, thrilling read!" David T. Wilbanks - Co-author of Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road <br>
"One of the BEST horror books I have read in YEARS!" - Eric S. Brown, author of Last Stand in a Dead Land <br>
"Iain Rob Wright brings true excitement to the horror genre, with wholly original stories and characters to route for." - Ryan C Thomas, author of Hissers, Rating's Game, and Origin of Pain

I hope you can use this to help glam up your own product descriptions. While you're at it, you may want to make note of these following strategies.

Create questions; give no answers.
Your plot summary should address the main questions you raise in Act One. A murdered woman. A mysterious stranger with a red mask. A plane crash minutes after takeoff. Stuff like that. Make the reader want to pick up your book to get answers, but never give those answers away in the description. So none of this: A woman murdered for stealing from her husband's father. Man in red mask takes payment to execute her. Random technical fault in fuel line crashes plan upon takeoff. Questions, not answers.

Bullet points can help sell your book's unique selling points.
In my ebook descriptions you will see that I employ bullet points in bold. These are really useful for shouting the reasons people should buy your book. If you have won an award than say -By the Award winning author of...  If your book has a twist ending you can put -A Twist Ending. If your book is a mammoth tome of 500k words then you could mention that so people know what they are getting for their money. There are no hard and fast rules, but imagine the reader is about to click onto another page and you have three lines to get their attention. What would you shout at them?

My description for Ravage ends with:

Iain Rob Wright reinvents the zombie apocalypse while remaining faithful to its traditions. A book sure to please fans of both George Romero and 28 Days later, Ravage is the first book in a unique and terrifying apocalypse.

Now you may cringe at the thought of talking about yourself in the 3rd person, but if you were with a big publisher they would do this for you in magazines, book pages, etc. An editorial blurb gives the impression of authority. It subliminally makes people think they are being told something forcefully and authoritatively, and it will make them want to yield. When a friend recommends a film to you, you feel obliged to watch it, right? The editorial blurb works the same way. The readers are being given a knowledgeable opinion and will subliminally be inclined to listen. So, instead of cringing, think of what you would love a a big magazine to say about your book in an ideal world - and then write it about yourself in anonymous 3rd person. Big time authors have this stuff made up for them all the time, so we need to do the same. Big yourself up in 3rd person, go on, do it!

You will also note that in this 3rd person blurb, I qualify my title to those who will enjoy it. People like to have things spelled out to them because it reduces risk. If a reader hasn't read your work before then there is risk involved in them buying your book. Reduce that risk by telling them what to expect. If you have written a book that will appeal to fans of Hellraiser, then state that outright so that fans of Hellraiser will know that they will be taking a smaller risk by buying your work. You can also compare your work to other authors. Don't be afraid to say, "Fans of Stephen King will love..." If a reader buys your book and feels duped, they can always refund it easily, but as long as you pick a writer that epitomises the type of books you strive to create, then using them as an anchor for your product description is just fine.

I have spoken before about adding subtitles to you work so that you can increase the number of hittable words. E.g. "Ravage: An Apocalyptic Horror Novel" adds the searchable keywords of "Apocalyptic", "Horror", and "Novel" to Amazon's algorithms, but you can add even more keywords in your product description (especially your 3rd person blub). My blurb for Ravage above adds keywords such as "George Romero", "28 Days Later", "apocalypse", "zombie", and of course my own name (more places it appears the more Google will trust it) . Now when people search for "28 Days Later" they may just find my book, Ravage as well (and I know they will be zombie fans so they come ready qualified). Think about the type of keywords you would like to latch onto (saying "Fans of Stephen King will enjoy..." will add your book to Stephen King's search results for example) and add them to your product page somehow. Anyway, you get the idea. There are so many ebooks now that discoverability is the key to everything. Do everything you can to get your books coming up in people's search results. Then let your writing do the rest. :-)

Good luck Wrighters.