Update your book descriptions? Why? Those were my questions when I read an interesting post on marketing your Amazon titles at Jane Friedman’s website.

Insecure Writers Support Group badge

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and cohosting this month are:

Kristina Kelly, Miffie Seideman,Jean Davis, and Liza @ Middle Passages

Update Book descriptions to increase your Amazon Rankings

That, in a nutshell, is Penny Sanseveri’s guest post at Jane Friedman’s author support blog. I get Jane Friedman’s posts to my inbox, as I think she says a great many good things, and I trust that her guests say sensible things too.

This one made sense to me. Refreshing the details of your books helps the Amazon computer know you still care about them, and they are worth putting in front of people looking for your type of book. This of course means getting your keywords right, and I’ve long had a problem with that.

Whether we’re talking about Amazon or any other online retailer, book descriptions are more important than most authors realize. Too often I see simple details overlooked that can make or break an author’s ability to turn an Amazon browser into the next book buyer.

Penny Sanseveri on JaneFriedman.com Jan 30 2024

Looking at the blurbs on the backs of my paperbacks when I’m selling them at craft fairs suggests that I need to update them. Well, the earliest ones, my Princelings series starters, at any rate.

They feel dated to me, and the first one smacks of ‘first book (probably self-published)’. I see that now. Ten-plus years experience makes it much easier to spot things in your own work that would be done differently if you started again. I’ve even considered rewriting that first book. Maybe I’ll talk about that idea some time. But now… rewrite the product description. That is a good thing to do.

I’ll leave you to go over to Penny Sanseveri’s post, because she says it better than me, with lots of examples. But I am insecure about my book descriptions, and now is probably a good time to show Amazon that I still love them and they are still relevant in today’s market.

It’s also a good time to make better book descriptions on my web pages. As I said last month, I’m updating my websites. The Viridian series got lots of good feedback. I started to look at how I would apply that theme/skin to the Princelings site. That’s when I realised it would work best with a page per book, and that would entail a deal of work. But if I want to update them, it’s fine. I can practice a bit before copying the new descriptions over to Amazon (and everywhere else).

I seem to be gathering a lot of work to do on my books, even without writing more!

Question of the month

Have you “played” with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI’s impact on creative writing?

IWSG Mar 24

No, I haven’t. I did use Word’s version of abstracts in about 2014, but it needed so much changed I haven’t bothered since.

I know it’s not my favourite occupation, but I don’t want anyone else messing with my words.

How do I feel about AI’s impact on creative writing? Much the same as actors do about being ‘corrected’ by CGI, I expect.

And frankly, there are so many books out there already, and being written, that any brought out by AI don’t seem likely to make any inroads into the market. Or else they’ll be bought by people who wouldn’t buy my books anyway. Unless they also steal a famous name to write under. I can see why the screenwriters guild might be worried, though.

Princelings books 6-10 and Viridian series 1-3 on offer all week

When did you last update your book descriptions? #IWSG
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13 thoughts on “When did you last update your book descriptions? #IWSG

  • 6 March, 2024 at 7:31 am

    A very good point about updates. I know I also want to update author bios, etc.

  • 6 March, 2024 at 11:50 am

    I hadn’t thought about the need to update older book blurb, but that makes sense. And I wouldn’t use Al to write a story, but I think it has other helpful uses.

    • 7 March, 2024 at 2:18 pm

      I think Penny’s point about blurbs not being synopses but sales pitches makes me wonder whether AI would actually be useful there. I once used to train people in sales stuff, and remember the basic pattern: Attention – Interest – Desire and Action (to take), but it still doesn’t help me write good blurbs… yet!

  • 6 March, 2024 at 12:12 pm

    Thank-you, Jemima, very timely. This is what we should be doing next month – which isn’t procrastination, just realistic deferment.
    Copied to my IT department, relevant to his work too.

  • 6 March, 2024 at 1:50 pm

    It does make sense to update an older synopsis because we do grow as writers over the years.

    • 7 March, 2024 at 2:23 pm

      I think also, with a series you have a better perspective about what the early books were about once you’ve finished it. I like the one liners I did for Librarything, though. They were hard, but they are very catchy 🙂

  • 6 March, 2024 at 3:13 pm

    Doing updates makes sense. I’ve never used AI for writing but my husband has used it to put together articles for our community on plants, gardening tips etc.

    • 7 March, 2024 at 2:26 pm

      I stopped and thought about that for a while. It reminded me so much of ‘The Machine Stops.’
      Community newsletters seem to have been replaced by Whats App groups and a Neighbours app around here… so I’m not on any of them.

  • 6 March, 2024 at 6:44 pm

    I am the worst at creating back-of-book descriptions. I’ll have to read more on Jane’s website you posted and see if helps.

  • 6 March, 2024 at 11:21 pm

    Hi, Jemima! Reading about the need to update was informative. So far I haven’t used AI. Enjoy IWSG Day!

  • 7 March, 2024 at 12:42 am

    Good to know about the book descriptions! I’ll probably be getting some help with that soon! I know who to bug 🙂

  • 7 March, 2024 at 5:53 pm

    I think it’s been a year or two since I last updated my book descriptions. Maybe it’s time to give them another look.


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