When a shopper is considering an ebook, the three elements most capable of driving the purchase are the title, cover image and the description of the book.  Too many writers tend to look at the description as a summary when it’s actually an advertising tool. Composing an effective ebook description is like producing a preview of a movie or  television show. The idea is to make someone excited about reading your book.

The Opening Line Is Everything

A strong opening line propels the reader into the rest of the description. A weak one gets the next book a look. Though intrigued enough to consider your book, shoppers aren’t invested enough in it at that point to take a chance, so you have tell them what’s in it for them—right away—in language that’s going to make them want more.

Consider this opening line from the description of Michael Wolff’s best seller, Fire and Fury:  “With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time.” Positively dripping with promise, this opening line will make anyone with an interest in Trump’s presidency want to read the book.

Give it “Scan-Appeal”

When shopping ebooks online stores, people have a tendency to scan, rather than read—until something hooks them. Formatting your description to accommodate this trait will get you a lot more attention.  Rendering your opening line in bold text and outlining key points with bullets makes it easier for scanners to pick up the key elements quickly and make a decision.

Meaning Matters

You want to create an emotional response in the prospective reader to compel them to want to learn more. In Wolff’s case, a lot of this groundwork was already done, because Trump is such a polarizing figure. Those who admire him will read the book hoping they can justify their beliefs, while those who think of him in less than positive terms—well, hope to do the same. Either way, Wolff hooks their emotions with this line; “Bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.” The sentence is as compelling as it is ambiguous.

The What and How Must Be Obvious

Your description, while written in exciting language, must also tell the shopper exactly what your book is about. Break it down as simply and plainly as possible. Rather than trying to create interest by making the reader wonder what the book is about, tell them in very certain terms. Again, Wolff’s description does this masterfully: “Never before has a presidency so divided the American people. Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion.”

Leverage Keywords

High traffic keywords will ensure your book shows up in search results. In this case, Wolff has the mother of all high-traffic keywords — Donald Trump — working in his favor. Whatever your book is about, there’s bound to be something you can use to garner search traffic. When you write your ebook description, be sure to include compelling and relevant high traffic keywords.

Stand in Your Own Merits

If you wrote a previously well-received book, it’s OK to reference it in passing, e.g.; “Author of the bestselling—” But do not compare your book to other books. At best, you’ll look like you’re saying, “Me too!” At worst, you could make the shopper buy the other book instead of yours. Why advertise somebody else’s work when you’re trying to make a case for your own? Touting your book following these guidelines will find you composing an effective ebook description and enjoying the sales it generates.