4 Phrases That Sell More Books

4 tips for improving book descriptionsStudy Reveals the Elements of Book Descriptions that Sell More Books

Discount eBook newsletter giant Book Bub recently conducted A/B testing for several elements of book descriptions, with the intent of finding out which words sell more books. The testing was conducted by sending two different descriptions of the same book to their newsletter subscribers, and then seeing which description received the most clicks from potential readers. Clicks, in this case, mean interest in a particular book.

The results are revealing – and useful for book descriptions, press releases, blurbs and even book trailers and social media posts about your book. The variables that caused the biggest change in click rates among potential readers who receive the  discounted books newsletter are highlighted below.

Book Description Factors That Matter

quotation marks1. Blurbs Should Quote People, not Publications. Those short quotes on the front of your book (“The Best Beach Read of 2015!”) should be from a person, not a publication. Book Bub’s research showed that when the quote came from another author, the book received a 30.4 percent higher click rate.

camera2. Put Your Reader in the Picture. If you can help a potential reader see herself in your book description, you’re more likely to make the sale. “If you love military thrillers, don’t miss this gripping new read” will sell more than “Gripping new read” alone.  Put another way, reach out to romance lovers, historical fiction lovers, cozy mystery lovers, etc. and tell them that your book is for them. Book Bub’s research showed that these small additions increased click rates by as much as 20%.In the case of historical fiction, simply adding the time period in which the book takes place to the book description increased clicks by 25.1%!

star3. Reviews Matter. Books that had at least 150 five star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads were more 14.1% more likely to be chosen by potential readers who receive Book Bub’s newsletter. Having positive reviewes on Goodreads seemed to have a greater impact than the same number of positive reviews on Amazon, but whichever number is higher for you should be the one that you play up in your description or press release or sales copy. The more positive reviews your book has on either site, the better the sales.

award4. Award-Winners Win. If your book has won an award, mention it. No matter how small or how obscure, award-winning books had a 6.7 % higher click rate. This was especially true for awards that were genre-specific.


Book Description Factors That Don’t Matter

The results of the A/B testing for book descriptions was just as interesting for the variables that didn’t seem to matter. Among the variables tested that had little or no effect on the click rates of potential readers were:

Bestseller Type. Being able to honestly say that your book is a bestseller matters, but where it’s a bestseller does not seem to have an impact on sales. New York Times, USA Today and Amazon bestsellers all did equally well. This is a boon to self-published authors who mostly sell online: Amazon calculates bestseller status much more frequently than any other site, and only takes its own sales into account. That means that many more books are likely to achieve bestseller status.

Questions vs Statements. Book descriptions with opening lines (or “hooks”) that posed questions did no better than those with hooks that made statements. For instance “Will Leila find out that he’s the perfect guy?” and “Leila may find out that he’s the perfect guy.” will yield the same number of clicks.

Age is Just a Number. Mentioning the main character’s age had no impact on reader interest, even in the Young Adult genre.

New Author vs. Seasoned Professional. When a book was an author’s debut, mentioning that fact had no impact on the amount of reader interest/clicks the book received.

To learn more about the study, visit BookBub’s uPublishU site.

For more FREE Book Marketing ideas, resources and how-to guides on publicity and book promotion, see our page devoted to Book Marketing Resources for Self-Published Authors.

Research on Book Descriptions Inforgraphic (1)

E.T. Carlton Book MarketingE.T. Carlton is a book marketing and digital branding consultant who writes on a variety of book marketing topics, including tips on writing book descriptions.


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I Planted My Self-Published Book on Barnes & Noble’s Shelves… And People Bought It

American Road Trip Mixtape Guerilla Marketing“I told myself at the beginning that making money off the book wasn’t important; reaching people who needed the story was the most important thing. So why not give a few copies away, or “donate” inventory to Barnes & Noble? That’s not illegal, is it?”

Read The Article

Book Reviews for Self Published Authors

THEINDIEVIEWWondering how to get a book reviewed? The Indie View is a valuable resource for independent book reviews.

If you’re an independent author, you’ve already jumped through many hurdles to get from the beginnings of the writing process to where you are now. You’ve probably spent hours Googling “self publishing a book” and “how to sell a book” and now that you have a published book (congratulations) you’re wondering how to market it. If you’ve done even preliminary research you know that getting your book reviewed is one of the most important ways to increase your book’s visibility and reach readers.

So you’ve got your book on Amazon or Smashwords, just waiting to be read and reviewed.  Maybe you’ve even sold a few copies. But the reviews aren’t coming in.  The fact is that as few as 5% of  book buyers review the books they’ve read.  And so waiting for readers to remember to write you a review can be a long and frustrating process. review stats 2

Book blogs can be an invaluable resource for marketing your book, but finding ones that match your niche can be difficult.  There are helpful book blog search engines, but not all of the sites listed will review independently published books.

The Indie View is a book blogging site devoted entirely to self published and independent books. It posts reviews, articles about independent publishing and author interviews. It also has one of the largest searchable indexes of book blogs that review independent books.

In order to be listed on the site, the reviewer/blog must:

  • Actively post reviews
  • Review eBooks
  • Not charge for their reviews
  • Not be affiliated with a publisher
  • Have submission guidelines in place for an Indie author to submit an eBook

Authors looking for reviews can search for blogs and reviewers by the genre or genres they review, by where the reviews are posted (blog, e commerce site, social media site, etc.) or by reviewer name. There are hundreds of active book reviewers and bloggers listed, with links to their submission pages and guidelines right in the search results.

If you’re a self published author trying to add book reviews and increase visibility, The Indie View should be your first stop.visit the indieview

 This article is part of a series on free book promotion resources.  If you would like to be notified when a new article is published, please enter your email below.

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Book Promotion for Self Published Authors: Fiverr

Fiverr for Book Promotion (1)Fiverr for Self-Published Authors

Note: Readers+Writers Journal was not remunerated by Fiverr.com in any way  for this article. Readers+Writers Journal does not endorse any of the gigs mentioned in this article. The intent of this post is to give self-published authors ideas, not to promote a website or particular Fiverr seller.

When you’re marketing your book yourself, financial resources are often scarce. And ideas for how to promote are often just as hard to come by. Many self published authors have turned to Fiverr.com, with varying degrees of success.  Below are ideas for using the micro-jobs site that you may not have thought of. From writing to editing to promotion, Fiverr can be a real source of help, if you know how to use it correctly.

What is Fiverr?

Described as “one of the world’s largest online marketplaces for services” Fiverr is site where freelancers with a multitude of talents offer a specific service or set of services, referred to as Gigs, for $5. Fiverr provides these contractors a site from which to sell in return for 20% of their profits. Fiverr also offers contractors bookkeeping services and promotion. Is this a fair bargain? Some say no. This is one freelancer’s take on the Fiverr economy.How to Search for Fiverr Gigs

Self Published Authors and Fiverr

Fiverr has been around since 2009 and since then, many self-published authors have used it as a source for book reviews, cover designs and book illustrationsFiverr gigs, however, can be useful in ways many self published authors haven’t thought of. Below are some unique ideas for using Fiverr gigs.

Book Description

You may not be the best person to write your book description.  Why? You’re too close to the subject matter to know what the averbook description 2 age reader is looking for. Why not provide a Fiverr seller with some information about your book and ask him/her to write it? Or get 2 or more sellers to write a description to get a feel for how people not intimabook description 1tely involved with the book would characterize it. Or, better yet, buy a gig from one of the many sellers who specialize in search engine optimization (SEO). The search function on sites like Amazon function like other search engines, using keywords. 

keyword researchThese sellers aren’t specifically offering to write a description for a book, but they know an awful lot about SEO and can probably help craft a description that will help your book shoot tseo writing 2o the top of search results. 




Guest Blog Posts

One of the best ways to get the word out about your book is to talk directly to readers. Writing a guest Book Excerpt Blog Postblog post can be an effective way to reach potential readers, but it’s necessary to think creatively when searching for blog post gigs on Fiverr.  Many sellers allow guest posts on blogs that aren’t directly related to books or reading, and if you tailor your post to the blog, you may be able to reach a whole new category of readers. All guest posts should, at a minimum, allow you to add a short blurb about your book and provide a link to it. See if you can find gigs that allow a photo of you or your book or both. Note: some gigs offer to write the post for you and should be avoided for obvious reasons. If possible, see if you can figure out the blog’s name or url or page rank in advance of buying. Higher page rank is generally preferred, though not mandatory.

Mom Blog Post

For a mother-related blog, consider writing a post about the parental relationships in your novel. Or, if you’re a parent, you can write a post about juggling writing and parenting. This gig is also looking for giveaways, so if your book is going to be discounted or free, you could highlight that.

News Blog Post

Was your book just released? Consider that news. You could even submit a press release-style blog post.


Relationship Blog Post

If you’ve written a novel, it probably involves more than one character…which means there are relationships to write about for a blog post. You could even consider a post on how relationships in books differ from real life ones.

Tips and Guides blog post

As a professional writer, you are in the perfect position to write an authoritative post on how to write an employment cover letter, letter of condolence, or even something more general about word choice or grammar. If your book is non-fiction/self help, you can condense some of your content into a short tips sheet that would encourage readers to buy the book for more information.



What to Look for in Fiverr GigsOther Fiverr Gigs for Authors

Fiverr has so many sellers selling so many gigs, it can be overwhelming.  It’s best to spend some time trying out different keywords and browsing. You may run into some gigs that don’t pan out, but the amount of money you will have lost will be minimal.  If you spend some time looking for book promotion ideas on Fiverr, you are sure to find a few gigs that you can use…

goodreads maintenancefacebook page managementpress releasekindle keywordsBook researchradio interviewebook directorieskindle formattingkindle promotionbook trailerauthor website…and, if you’re anything like most Fiverr buyers, a few that you have absolutely no use for but just couldn’t resist.


horse dancegacuVoodoo curse

The 12 Most Important Twitter Hashtags for Promoting Your Book

The Twelve Most Important Twitter Hashtags for Promoting Your Book

Hashtags are, arguably, the most important part of tweeting.  Without these keywords that categorize the subject of your tweet, you’re never going to reach your target audience. If you’re using Twitter For book promotion, it’s crucial that you use hashtags wisely.

How, How Often, How Much

Social media is, ideally, about reciprocity, connecting and interacting.  It works best when it’s a two way street, but too many marketers see it as just another venue for repeating their message over and over and over, regardless of the appropriateness of the audience.  These folks are what are affectionately known as spammers.  And they get blocked very quickly.

Your goal should be to provide useful information to people who are interested in what you’re interested in.  With that in mind, you should try to limit your book promotion tweets to 1 or 2 a day.

Sharing helpful articles or re-tweeting videos that relate to writing, publishing or the genre of your book is fine, and can be done more often.

# for Connecting

#Writingprompt – A prompt to inspire others to write

#Writingtips – Any article, video or link that’s on how to be a better writer

#Writerslife – Hashtag for writers to share experiences and tips about the craft of writing

Crafting a Message

Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet, so you have to make every word count and try to set yourself apart from the crowd.

# for Standing Out

Tweet a quote from your book, with #Novelines #[your book title]

Lolita quote

Tweet the first line of your book with #[your book title] #[your name] #firstlines 

1984 first line

imageedit_1_3768207497Instagram an image that relates to your book or an image of you writing and post it with #instagram or #instawriters (a group of writers who use Instagram in unique ways)

Does your book have an interesting cover? Post a photo of it, with #bookcover  Hope a Tragedy

Promotional Tags: Of course, you’re also using Twitter to get the word out about your new book.  Once you’ve identified who your target audience is and established yourself as someone who is using Twitter to share and learn, not just to sell, you can start promoting your book.

# for Marketing a Book




#romance (or Fantasy or whatever genre you write in)


#booktrailer (for a video trailer of your book)

More Hashtags for Writers

For an ever-expanding list of 200 of the most useful hashtags for writers, including promotion, writing tips, marketing, editing, buying and all things book, see:

The Ultimate Hashtag List for Writers

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Use These 7 Sites to Promote Your Book for Free

Guide to 7 Sites That Promote Your Book FreeYes it really is possible to promote your book free, if you’re willing to do some work yourself.  Below are 7 sites that cost nothing to use and that can help you take your book marketing, publicity and advertising strategy to the next level.  Some are designed specifically for independent and self-published authors…others have another purpose but can be adapted to help you promote your book without breaking the bank.

The Indie View Provides links to hundreds of active, independent reviewers who don’t charge for reviews.  Registration is required.

AuthorsDen An online community where authors freely post biographies, works, news, events and articles for readers to discover and read.

free book friday Gives away free books once a week and promotes the free book on its site for a week.  Also has an index of other free book resources.


Stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. Connects reporters looking for a story with writers looking for publicity.  Authors can register and be added to the database reporters use to search for story ideas or sources for quotes.  Used by many major news outlets (CNN, ABC, AP).

Pixel of InkA searchable database of free and low cost books, with thousands of readers searching for books daily.  Authors can submit their book to the database for free.

htmlsigCreate email signatures with links to your blog, amazon page.website and social media profiles. (Authors can use the Disclaimer section to post a book excerpt or quote).Media Syndicate

Free press release posting/newswire site.  All submissions are reviewed for content and formatting.  (For information on how to format a press release and a free template, click here.)

KindleBoardsP.S.: You’re already using KindleBoards, right?  This forum-meets-Craigslist-meets-facebook site is among the top ranked websites in the world and should be any independent author’s first stop (even if you’re not involved in e books). With 70,000 members, 2 million posts, tools that help you link your forum comments to an Amazon page and fun extras Kindleboards is a must for anyone trying to promote a book.

Free book promotion resources for self published authorsThis article is part of a series on free book promotion resources. If you’d like to be notified when new resource lists are published, please submit your email below.

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