Book Descriptions

Judge and Author K.S. BrooksMy oh my. I’ve been banging my head against the wall quite a lot lately. I’ve found so many book descriptions on that are not doing justice to the authors’ books. Twenty words or less? More about the motivation to write it than about the story? Nothing more than a few reviews? An entire paragraph telling me how awesome the author is at flossing his/her teeth? Listen, there’s a right place for everything. And the right place for the book description…is the book description. Potential customers want to know what the book is ABOUT, otherwise, how will they be able to tell if they want to read it? (If you need help writing your book’s description, try this tutorial here.)

For authors who self-published their book, they can go into Createspace or Kindle and easily change the book’s description. But, once the print and Kindle versions are merged, this may not reflect the description they’d prefer. Also, if you aren’t the publisher of your book, and your requested changes have not been made, there is an alternative for you: your Amazon Author Central Page.

That’s right, this is yet another benefit of having an Author Central Page. Please don’t tell me you haven’t set one up yet. I’m really tired and just don’t have the energy to reach through the Internet and slap you upside the head. So, get your Author Central page set up. Here’s a tutorial for that.

So, now, you have a book description that’s been a thorn in your side? Let’s fix that right now. Sign into your Author Central page by going to Log in. Once you’re in, you’ll get the screen to the left. Click on “list of your books.”

Your list of books should appear on the next screen. It’s so pretty, isn’t it? You can actually do a lot of different things from this screen, but for the purpose of this tutorial, we’re going to select the Snarkopaedia.

Well just O.M.G., right? Look at all the different stuff you can do (on the screen below)! You can edit your book’s description, you can add reviews, you can put a special note from the author, you can add information about the author, and other stuff as well. So, see? You don’t need to use the book description for all that other stuff. Hurray, right?

One important thing to keep in mind is that you need to make the change for EACH edition listed in the upper right hand corner. Making the change in one edition will not automatically trickle down to the others. Now, I’m not going to hold your hand through any changes here. They’re extremely self-explanatory. Once you make your update, you’ll get this friendly message from the folks at Amazon:

So there you have it! Take control of your books. Take control of your career. Take advantage of Author Central. Because if you don’t, someone else will – and that might be the difference between selling books…and not selling books.

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

30 thoughts on “ Book Descriptions”

  1. You can do so much with Author Central–I’m amazed at the number of authors who don’t take advantage of this fine resource. Great tutorial, Kat!

  2. K.S., I just knew that picture was you pulling your hair out over my book synopsis/description/logline. If I apologize, grovel, bring you chocolate–anything?

  3. Massive help delivered with your lovely sense of humour, as always, Kat – thanks!

    If I could point out, though, that Author Central pages are different for the US and UK, so if you have books for sale in the UK, you’ll need to go to and set up the account again. They may also be different for Amazon in other territories. You know how the Zon hates to make us Indies jump through hoops 🙂

    1. Absolutely true, Chris. Each country’s author page is different, and some you have to “request” – I think I cover that in my initial tutorial, but honestly, I can’t recall at this point.

  4. An unfortunate downside of separate Author Central pages is that the US version is the only one that lets you amend the book description and add editorial reviews. I hope they roll it out to the others eventually as I like being able to go there rather than having to put the whole book back into review just to update the description.

    1. It is too bad. And I’m having the darnedest time with my UK page – I have 15 books, and have claimed them all, yet only 3 show up and they tell me they’re all there. They are certainly not as sophisticated or user friendly as the US version.

  5. One thing I found out… if a book is on your Author Page, you can’t take it off. It doesn’t matter if it’s out of print. Or if you hate it. Or, in my case, if it is a rip-off with fake author names on it that doesn’t pay me a dime.
    So be careful what you add. Once on, you’re stuck with it.
    I wanted to build up some bulk when I started out, but no I can’t get rid of the dreck and it shows up first… I end up advertising rip-off books of Mexican slang, when my own title is on the second page.

    1. Actually, the issue is, as far as I’m aware, that if you have more than one edition linked together, removing one of those from your author page will remove all of them. They do give you the ability to remove a book – but I haven’t had to try it.

  6. As someone Kat has saved from a fate worse than death, I say – LISTEN TO HER!
    I thought I’d done a great job with my book description until Kat quietly pointed out that my interest in biology could be…um… misconstrued. So I know whereof I speak. And the nice thing about Amazon is that boo-boos can be fixed quickly and easily. Why make the first impression someone gets of your book a bad one?

    Thanks Kat. 🙂

  7. The book is approximately 9 inches high, pale blonde coloring with no visible scars. There is a photograph on it, apparently a young woman with few clothes waving an assault rifle. It has writing on it, but too small to be seen.

  8. Author Central is a valuable tool. Your post will really help folk find their way around. Let’s hope they realise the benefits. 🙂

  9. Yes – one should attend to fixing all Author Central pages regularly.

    I use my birthday to mark a place in the year to replace all my kitchen tea towels, bathroom hand towels, and face washers. A similar system can be used to mark the spot when author and book descriptions are updated to reflect new publications, more accurate descriptions, and more.

    1. Thanks Rosanne, got it: change the sheets, do the laundry, polish the book description. 🙂
      Actually, now that I’ve become a believer in their importance, I find I am polishing book descriptions, aka book synopsis, or logline (in the movie industry) almost as frequently as I polish a short story. Thanks to Kat for this post.

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