Five magic words that sell more books

When writing a blurb for a nonfiction book, there are certain words that can be used to increase the odds of purchase. In fact, five words – you, free, instantly, because and new – have more sway than others, if used in the right context, according to a recent article in Copyblogger. 

Research shows that people generally are more receptive to a sales pitch when their name is used and especially when a message is personalized to them. You can serve as a stand-in for a customer’s actual name. While not as powerful, the writing at least is in the same point of view as when using their name (You’ll find hundreds of backpacking tips included in this book vs. John, there are hundreds of backpacking tips in this book.). Not using you generally means that you are writing in a more objective and impersonal point of view (This book was written with backpackers’ needs in mind.).

People will choose an item that is free over an object that they prefer but must pay for, scientific studies have found. After all, there’s no risk when something is free. At the same time, while free attracts attention, it may not result in a high conversion rate of paying customers. Most people who download a free ebook book don’t later buy books from that author or purchase the author’s services that the ebook hawks. Still, some do, which is more people than if you’d done nothing at all to make them aware of your books or services.

MRI studies show that the brain’s pleasure center lights up when a person envisions immediate rewards. By using instantly, your blurb fires that good feel. A blurb can do this by listing specific skills, knowledge or end results will occur by simply reading the book (Instantly learn how to write gripping opening lines for your stories…)

Anytime we ask someone to do something, we’re more likely to be successful if giving a reason why we want them to do it, research indicates. Given this, you want to sneak the word because into your blurb to answer potential readers’ main question, “What’s in it for me if I buy this book?” (Because you don’t have a lot of time…)

Anyone looking for information about a topic wants the most up-to-date material about it. This is particularly true in an age when technology advances quickly and changes seemingly occur with every new season. You can play off that by showing how your book is the most current on the topic or includes new chapters to address current trends and issues (Includes a chapter about newest online writing software…).


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.