Amazon Descriptions for Your Novel (Part one of Three)


What is this a picture of?

Now, you might say trees, which is correct.  You might say a meadow, which is not quite correct.  You might even say water (though I can’t image why) which is also, oddly, correct.  Lastly, you could say “A carpet of red and green plants on top of the water at Merchants Millpond State Park in NC, which, in the summer, can look like a lost scene from ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ — but that’s quite a mouthful.  Which brings us the today’s topic:

How Do You Describe a Thing?

Say a bookish, wordy thing, that you’d like people to not only buy but come to love, cuddle, carry around on most weekdays, and speak dreamily of for the next 50 years because it is the central tile to the mosaic of their lives and OH MY GOSH, WHAT IF THEY’D NEVER READ THAT GREAT DESCRIPTION AND HAD TO BUY IT???  Or, even worse, what if the description hadn’t told them what the book was really like?

And, as in the picture above, everything in this odd, descriptive realm is not always what it seems.  Now, let’s look at the first of a few common misapprehensions (all mine at one time or another) —

Descriptions Are Easy

I think this confusion comes from three sources — very good descriptions, unnecessary descriptions, and simple ones.

  • The very goods ones are probably burned in your memory, they inspired you to read that greatest book or they are the creme de la creme of what’s out now — the bestselling books, the biggest movies.
  • The unnecessary ones are for the things that are already huge and you probably don’t really need to know much about.  I was shocked that when I looked at some bestselling fantasy on Amazon, the newest books in successful series did not have that great of descriptions — but then, all they need to say is “the fifth book in the New York Times bestselling series . . .” and they’re golden, or at least a lot closer than the unknown book.
  • Now simple descriptions are the one that get you — because we all are using them every day and we use them well.  “Todd’s my boyfriend.”  “The new house is a great A-frame with a blue roof and giant front windows.”  “You’d like Suzy; she’s Cher from ‘Clueless’ meets the Terminator.”  These simple images work because 1: We all know what a boyfriend is; 2: We can see the house in enough detail to be happy for our friend (but we’re not about to buy it ourselves); and 3: This ‘taste of Suzy’ is either funny or weird, but it’s interesting, and we don’t need to be that invested.  We’ll probably meet Suzy at a future party — we’re not taking a week off work to climb a mountain to speak to ‘Suzy the Guru’ .  Can you imagine the description you’d need to convince someone to do that?

Next up — Descriptions are IMPOSSIBLE!  and Writing a Bestselling Description.

Published by katherinecerulean

Novelist, founder of The Athens Writers Association, and enthusiast of all things awesome and magical. Need my help with ANYTHING? Just ask!

13 thoughts on “Amazon Descriptions for Your Novel (Part one of Three)

  1. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a
    good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

    1. Thank you! It’s easy to get wrapped up in different projects or feel you can’t make a perfect enough piece but in the end, it is very rewarding just to put something out in the world. Even a little piece can have a big impact — that’s what I forget. Best of luck on your writing!

  2. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your posts.

    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?
    Thanks for your time!

    1. Thank you so much! Unfortunately, I know more books than blogs on these topics. Here are some I suggest —
      The Success Principles(TM) by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer
      The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
      The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 2nd Edition by Christopher Vogler
      Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life: A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Life by Larry Winget
      I honestly get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest — just go to their ‘quotes’ section then click on a quote you find inspiring and follow that to other great quotes!
      Have a great day!

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words! Sometimes I’ve had to write (and research) the info I wanted but could quite find on the web — and this was one of those times. I hope you enjoy the other entries and check out for more writing posts. Just did one about villains!

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