So I recently hired Bryan Cohen and his team to write a book description for The Fey Man, and then asked my readers if they preferred his description to mine. If you voted, here’s where you find out if you voted for the winner! If you didn’t, here’s where you find out why I did all this in the first place!
A book description is part of a holy trinity; it’s pretty important
A book description, the short synopsis you often find on the back of a paperback, is pretty important. Along with the cover and the title, it’s part of a holy trinity that helps encourage potential readers to read the first pages of a book. As a result, I spent a lot of time writing and rewriting the description for The Fey Man. But most writers hate writing book descriptions, largely because you’re trying to summarise thousands of words of personal work in a couple of short paragraphs. It feels like an impossible task, and I was always left with the nagging feeling that I was too close to the book to write an effective book description. So I decided to ask for help.
Bryan Cohen is an established independent author who has a strong background in marketing, and he’s set out his stall on book descriptions; for a fee, his team will write the tricky text for you, and he’s used by a number of prominent independent authors. I’d already used some of Bryan’s tips and tricks after listening to him on podcasts, but I’d begun to wonder if I needed more than tips. Perhaps I needed to hire Bryan to write a book description for The Fey Man?
I weighed the pros and cons for a time. Hiring Bryan might prove an unnecessary expense. But it might show me where I was going wrong, or that I was doing things right, making it a worthwhile investment. An email warning of a price increase encouraged me to get off the fence, and I promptly took a £130 punt. Six weeks later, and the new book description landed in my inbox. And I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
A book succeeds when readers are reassured that it’s similar to other books
In the marketing world, there’s a lot of talk about a USP (Unique Selling Point), the thing you do that no-one else does, and the reason why people should give their money to you instead of your competitors. However I had also read an article that suggested that audiences were comforted by the familiar. It’s why franchises, sequels, remakes and reboots do so well. The article had suggested that a book succeeds, , not when it stands out from the crowd, but when readers are reassured that it’s similar to other books in the crowd.
While I’d taken the view that The Fey Man‘s description should highlight its USP, I felt that Bryan’s team had highlighted its familiar aspects instead. I was torn as to which was the best approach, so I decided to ask the people who knew best: my readers. I put it to a poll, my description against Bryan’s, and asked readers to vote for their favourite. Here they are, with the results below:
This is my description:
A legendary blade. An army led by enslaved dragons. A quest to Faerie.
“Powerful” – Brian Sibley
While Tir is conquered by the dragons of the West, Thomas Rymour hunts for a way back to Faerie. He’s obsessed with its immortal queen and yearns to be reunited with her. A quest for a magic sword might just grant his wish.
Accompanied by the elf lord of the Eastern Angles, a captured Westerner who is more than what he seems, and a boy who shares his mind with Faerie, Tom sets out to find the sword. But the journey will end with a terrible choice: spurn the vengeful Queen of Faerie, or doom all of Tir to conquest and death.
The Fey Man is an epic fantasy novel. If you like complicated characters, epic adventure, dragons, Faerie, and magic, you’ll love The Fey Man!
Get your copy today to jump into the action.
39.29% of the vote
This is Bryan’s description:
A land plagued by dragons. A mortal entranced by a Faerie Queen. A quest that could save his realm… or doom it forever.
Thomas Rymour is hopelessly infatuated with the Queen of Faerie. On a mission to find a way into the realm and reunite with his love, he makes a pact with an elf lord to steal a legendary magic sword in return for a way inside. But in a land where dragons prowl the skies, he starts to wonder if his quest could prove fatal.
When Thomas tricks a powerful duke, his plan backfires and soon he is running for his life. Forced to defend himself in a world of dragons and magic, he races to find his queen before the deadly flames catch up with him. If he fails, he may lose his own land to the Western Kingdom forever.
The Fey Man is book one in The Fair Folk epic fantasy series. If you like fierce dragons, flawed heroes, and faerie mythology, then you’ll love James T Kelly’s magical blockbuster.
Buy The Fey Man to take an epic magical adventure today!
The WINNER with 60.71% of the vote!
So it turns out that I was right to hire Bryan, and it’s provided me with a valuable lesson that I’ll keep in mind for the rest of my career. I’ve adopted Bryan’s new book description for The Fey Man, and hopefully it will encourage new readers to take a look. If you voted, thanks for sharing your opinion with me. And if you didn’t get a chance to vote, don’t worry; I often ask my readers for their opinion! Why not sign up to my email newsletter, so you don’t miss out next time?
Did you vote for the winner? Let me know in the comments!