Book Descriptions Matter

As a writer, I have often gone back and revised my Amazon book descriptions. It’s not always easy to give an accurate sense of your own work. Sometimes it seems like boasting, or more often the description becomes too long and rambling or too short and terse.

A client recently asked me for help with his book description. He’s the author of the fine memoir Diary of a Bipolar, which has always had steady sales, but had a rather short and basic blurb. (The author is also a non-native English speaker.) Since I’d edited the book recently and had emotionally connected with the material, I was happy to assist. Here’s what I wrote for him:

In 2001, George Ison was a young, well-educated, middle-class entrepreneur with a lovely girlfriend and a great life. But then, out of the blue, bipolar disorder hit. In honest, intimate, sometimes agonized diary entries over the course of several years, Ison charts the beginnings of his illness, from choosing doctors and med regimens through times when his close relationships foundered and family pulled away, and he was close to suicide.

Immensely relatable, Diary of a Bipolar is a fascinating read told from a male perspective. It will educate both those with the disease and their loved ones, as well as readers who are curious about what having bipolar disease is like—day in, day out.

When I asked the author for feedback on whether the improved book description had improved sales, he confirmed happily that it had: “Sales are up around 15 percent since we improved the description.”

I am glad to be able to offer this as an additional service for clients whose books I work on. After all, when you edit or proofread a book, you become quite intimate with its subject matter and of course you want to see the book do well! You can find more info about book descriptions in the Rates section.

2012 in review–Happy New Year!

I am touched that got quite a bit of traffic in 2012, especially as I only started blogging in February. Thanks to all the clients who made this year a success. I hope to work with some of you again in 2013. (And also to blog more!)

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Edit for Indies Gets Interviewed by LLBR

My good friend Shannon Yarbrough over at LL Book Review, a thriving site that reviews authors who publish through Lulu, CreateSpace, and the online platforms, recently posed some very comprehensive questions to Edit for Indies!

If you’d like to learn more about my work style—and what it would be like to have me work on your book, you can read it here.

A thought that came to me later after I’d finished the interview: I don’t do content editing/developmental editing, because it really isn’t my forte. I love polishing what’s already there, but get leery about making big, momentous decisions about an author’s work… where to cut, where to add a particular plot line, what that plot line should be. It just isn’t what I do best.

But for authors looking for a content editor, it can be hard to find them! I would suggest trying either the Bay Area Editors Forum or the Editorial Freelancers Association. I’ve been a member of both of those organizations in the past and know that they are full of skilled people with a lot of integrity. On both of their websites, I believe, you can do a search for particular skills you want your editor to have.

Me, I love copyediting and feel like I should stick with what I do best!

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my services.

I edit for indies

Hi, and welcome to Gabriella West’s editorial site! I offer careful, thorough editing services for independent authors. You can read more about my background on the About page, and check out my rates. Please feel free to contact me at

Need a testimonial? Here is a recent author’s comment:

I just opened up the manuscript. Wow, what a brilliant editor you are—you make me look polished.  I am so pleased.  Just had to let you know.

… Again, thank you so much for your hard work and fast turnaround of the manuscript. I so appreciate it. You made me look like I know what I’m doing.

– Kelan O’Connell, author of the YA novel Delta Legend (2011).

Check out my new Testimonial page here…