Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The woes of writing an Amazon product description

Today's task for me is to write the Amazon product description. It's as important as any other part of marketing for a novel, and a craft that is actually quite hard. After spending six intensive weeks with the book, I may be too close to it to easily sum it up in a paragraph.

My criteria for the description is that I want it to be:

·         About a hundred words. Much less, and it's not enough. More is overkill unless it's adding reader quotes, or a tag line.

·         Snappy - it's got to be enough to make you open the cover, and read a sample. If it doesn't do that, it's failed.

·         It has to set the scene. I need to introduce my main character, state what the status quo is, and how it is about to change (i.e. what the story is about).

·         Then it needs to give a hint about where the story is going to whet the appetite. At the same time it shouldn't give away too much (I want you to read the book!).

·         It needs to use strong adjectives - now isn't the time to be a bit shy.



So my first attempt is thus:

A career man for most of his working life, Edwin Murphy put more into his work than his family. Everything changes for Edwin when his wife Eleanor files for divorce. On the brink of losing his home, his job and his family, Edwin connives an intricate plan to eliminate his wife and regain his former lifestyle.

The police are baffled when bodies begin to appear all over London, with no apparent connection between them. Inspector Morton must delve deep into a web of deceit to uncover the truth in a city of murder in Dead on Demand.


Main character? Tick x 2.
Genre clear? I think so. Obviously a crime story.
Word count? 97 - so it fills about the right amount of space on the page.
Does it give the status quo? Yes

Does it show how the status quo is changing? Yes

Does it hint at where it's going? Yes

Does it give away the plot? No. Not sure I've got enough here - It's too vague. Should I be including enough to tell you how Edwin's plan works? How much do you, as a reader want to know?

Would this sort of description make you try a sample?

8 comments:

  1. It works for me anyway. I think you give enough to show the connection between Edwin's plans and the then the police's investigation to pique interest without giving too much away.

    It would certainly hook me enough to open the book anyway, and that's the all the blurb needs to do.

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  2. I'm on the right lines then :)

    I think I need to remove the tautology from para 1 - "career man for most of his working life". Perhaps substitute in 'adult life' instead of 'working life'.

    Then reword the 2nd sentance in para 2 - it doesn't quite read right at the moment, although it does get in the right keywords I think. The "must delve deep into a web of deceit to uncover the truth in a city of murder in" is just too much of a mouthful.

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  3. It works for me too mainly because it seems to have two themes going which, I am assuming will converge at some point.

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    Replies
    1. They do indeed :) glad it works for you.

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  4. Attempt #2:
    A career man for most of his adult life, Edwin Murphy has always put more effort into his work than his family. Everything changes for Edwin when his wife Eleanor files for divorce. On the brink of losing his home, his job and his family, Edwin connives an intricate plan to eliminate his wife and regain his former lifestyle.

    The police are baffled when bodies begin to appear all over London, with no apparent connection between them. Inspector Morton must think outside the box as he delves deep into a web of deceit in order to uncover the truth in a city of murder.

    ReplyDelete
  5. #3:

    A career man for most of his adult life, Edwin Murphy has always put more effort into his work than his family. Everything changes for Edwin when his wife Eleanor files for divorce. On the brink of losing his home, his job and his family, Edwin orchestrates an intricate plan to eliminate his wife and regain his former lifestyle.

    The police are baffled when bodies begin to appear all over London, with no apparent connection between them. Inspector David Morton must think outside the box as he investigates a deadly web of deceit to uncover what might connect the murders.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Attempt #4
    A career man, Edwin Murphy has always put more effort into his work than his family. Everything changes for Edwin when his wife files for divorce. On the brink of losing his home, his job and his little girl, Edwin orchestrates an intricate plan to eliminate his wife and regain his former lifestyle.

    The police are baffled when bodies begin to appear all over London, with no apparent connection between them. Inspector David Morton must think outside the box as he investigates the deadly web of deceit behind the murders.

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  7. I like attempt #4 the best. I think it will work just perfectly well :D

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