A good writer checks every word they write
It never ceases to amaze me how little effort some writers put into their promotional writing for their own books. After slaving away for months or even years writing a book, surely the book deserves a little extra time and effort to promote it in the best possible light.
Some book descriptions, author bios, social media bios and other promotional texts I have seen look like mere afterthoughts and in some cases, not even properly proofread.
I was prompted to write this post after seeing the word ‘writing’ incorrectly spelt in not one but three author bios just this week. No, I’m sorry, but the word writing does not have two Ts!
A quick scan of some books on Amazon, plus other book listing sites, revealed many book descriptions that hardly made it to 100 words, and even then, had grammar or spelling errors.
Brevity is good sometimes, but not when you are trying to hook potential readers. So instead of highlighting all of the poor writing I have seen, perhaps it would be better to give a few suggestions on great promotional writing.
Author of (insert title).
I must have seen this used in author bios a thousand times. Even on Twitter, it allows 160 characters to be a little more imaginative and personal. ‘Sam authors his books from a human perspective’. A slight improvement, but in the third person? Cold and static to say the least. In any bio, no matter even if just 25 words, try to say why you are interesting and why it is worth finding out more about you. Be imaginative and avoid the tired old clichés.
Book descriptions need to be written so they can be used for various applications. A great tagline for attracting attention followed by a solid 300-400 word summary of the story. An extra 200 words then to include some background information about yourself. When written in this form, the tagline can be used standalone in social media posts and the longer versions for use on ebook retailers, book listing sites, interviews or blogs.
Whatever the need, you have something ready to go. Think about what makes your book great and then put that into your description. Remember that almost every prospective book buyer will read this before deciding to buy your book.
Probably the most difficult thing for writers to write is their own bio. However, it is probably the single most useful promotional tool. With writing and selling books so completely intertwined with the Internet, social media, websites and blogs, a writer’s profile can appear in literally hundreds of locations so it really needs to be informative, intelligent and well-written.
Lastly, never post any text that has not been carefully proofread. Even on the fast-paced Twitter feed, take care, as the grammar police are always watching you.