book description

How to use Amazon’s formula to build book buzz


What is the Amazon formula?

It’s often called the ‘Mock Press Release’. Let me explain.

Most companies would typically start work on their marketing communication such as press release, announcing their product and such when their product is in the finishing stages.

At Amazon, they do this first.

Amazon uses a narrative format called the ‘Mock Press Release’ that is used by employees to pitch a new product, feature or service internally. It is a press-release style document targeted at the ideal customer. The intent is to start from what Amazon executives think they want their customers to know about the product and then work backward from there.

According to Jeff Bezos, the Founder/CEO of Amazon, the driving force behind such an approach is customer focus. He says, “If we can’t express our product vision in words at the start that’ll excite the customer, the product that finally comes out will most probably suck.”

You may be wondering how is all this related to your book.

Here’s how.

While it is not exactly a press release, most authors write what is called a book description once they near their final manuscript. A book description is a compelling summary of a book written with an intent to excite the reader to buy the book. They are used on your book page on Amazon, your website, book blurb, promo material, and many other places.

Your book description can actually be your own ‘Mock Press Release’ which can help you in more than one ways.

In this article, you’ll learn why you should be writing the book description first.

Shall we learn?

Alright. I’ll begin with a question.

Do you put the most important task in your to-do list at the end or at the top?

At the top for sure. And that is where writing your book description should be. Mark Dawson, one of the most successful, self-published best-selling author seems to think so. According to the results of a survey he did among his readers, his book description was 5x more likely to make a reader buy his book.

Since it is that important don’t you want to tackle it right at the start?

Now consider your writing process.

Do you know what is an outline?

If you’ve ever attended a writing workshop one of the most repeated advice given is that you should start by preparing an outline of your book. Simply put an outline is a rough Table of Contents of your book. Writing your book description first will help prepare your book’s outline. Because as you write your book description your mind subconsciously starts to organize the islands of the story in your head into a structure.

I am saying this as I live this experience every time I start to write a new blog post. I start by writing a short description of what the blog is about followed by an outline of the post. This simple process helps me write and finish my articles faster than I used to earlier.

Similarly, the outline of your book will emerge naturally from a well-written book description. Once you have both of them nailed down you can take a print out and pin it above your desk.

How’s that for some motivation to finish your book? 🙂

Okay, now let’s say you’ve finished your manuscript, it’s out for editing and you’ve started on other action items that need your attention.

But you also want to make some noise as you near the launch. How do you do that?

Maybe start with your friends and family followed by some passionate book lovers. Get a feel of the market and build a list of early readers. Say you decide to run a short Facebook promotion for $5. But for readers to show interest, you’ll need to tell them about your book in a way that makes them want to know more. Isn’t it?

How will you do that? Using your well-crafted book description of course!

If you have your book description written and ready, you’ll be easily able to draft an engaging copy of your Facebook promo ad that stimulates readers’ interest.

But won’t you need a book cover designed to go with your promo ad?

Yes, of course. If you decide to hire a pro designer the first thing she’ll ask you for is a book summary along with other details in what is called as a design brief. Having your book description available get your work started quick and helps you bring the designer closer to the visualization you have in your mind.

Even if you choose to go for pre-made covers, a written book description will act as a guide to help you wade through hundreds of covers available on pre-made cover websites.

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What is the benefit of running ad campaigns on Facebook even before your book is ready?

Well besides building a buzz for your book, you want to build your email list. An email list is a collection of your readers’ email IDs they’ve voluntarily shared with you. The trajectory of your success as an indie author is directly correlated to the size of your email list. And to make it easier for the readers to share their email IDs you’ll need a website.

Let’s say you offer the first 3 chapters as a free download on your website. But what will really excite them to take your offer?

That will be your book description.

You will increase the chances of your website visitors taking your offer once they read your book description when written in a manner that prods them to know more. With every new download, you are getting a potential future fan of your work that is sure to help build a buzz around your book once you are ready for the launch.

Ok, let’s move to the stage where you’ve finished your book. Everything’s ready – the cover, the edited manuscript, 3d mockups et al.

But won’t it be cool to build some excitement before you launch the book and see readers pre-ordering?

You can do this with Amazon Kindle Pre-Orders.

Amazon allows its customers to pre-order books at a heavily discounted price as early as 90 days before its release date. Typically authors announce pre-orders on their books to build a buzz around their book’s release. It is one of the many ways to not just promote your book but also earn followers of early readers who will be more than happy to become your advanced readers and more importantly, post reviews once your book is released.

Now imagine yourself running a book promotion campaign on book promotion sites or a Facebook ad campaign. Your reader sees the promotion, clicks, and lands on your Amazon book page. What do you think will persuade him/her to consider pre-ordering an unknown author’s work? Besides price?

That should be your book’s description.

Why? Because the buyer goes through what is called in marketing jargon  ‘The Buying Decision-making Stages’. And a well-written book description helps you nudge the buyer move further down the buying stage closer to making a purchase.

Start with your book description…

That is my humble advise to you for the closing remark. Start with writing your book’s description first. Take the road not many have taken.

We’ve discussed how writing your book description can be of immense help. Even more so, if you are a new author.

We’ve seen how beginning with the description can help you build a buzz around your book, build your email list, make your promotions remarkable and also help speed up your writing process.

You may have your doubts about this approach. Rightly so when all published authors that you look up to do it the way it has been done for all these years.

But I invite you to try something different. Stand out. In the words of marketing legend, Seth Godin, “Be The Purple Cow!”

Good luck.


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