You may not realize it, but each Amazon book page is a wealth of information, much of which you probably don’t even see or notice. Or if you do, perhaps you’re not sure how to interpret it all.
BadRedhead is here to help!
Amazon has always had brilliant retailer marketing. They make it as easy as possible for us to spend more money without much effort (Prime membership and 1-click ordering are just two examples).
Let’s start at the top and work our way down. It might be helpful to visualize this, so open up my book page for Broken Pieces (shameless plug), and follow along:
1) Search bar: At the very top of every Amazon page is the search window. Duh, you probably already know this. But did you know: if you type in the name of your books(s) and/or author name, you will move up in Search? Yea, truth. So get on that. Books at the top of search tend to get more hits.
2) Book Title: In black type is the book title, and just below that, author name. I also suggest adding your editor, graphic artist, and, if applicable, who wrote your forward. It’s nice to give people credit who work so hard for us.
3) Top left: Book cover. This is key. Amazon’s background is white. If your cover is also white, it can fade into nothingness. My suggestion: add a splash of red if possible. Red draws the eye in. If red doesn’t work, add a splash of a bright shade, like green or purple. Even yellow works. Avoid: all grey or black without a splash of color (think Twilight – all black with a bright red apple or ribbon – despite what you think of the writing, the covers rock).
Tip: Be sure to activate the Look Inside feature (You should find the Look Inside feature enabled one week after your book is made available to readers for purchase. If you have a print book enrolled in the Look Inside the Book program, both print and Kindle versions will be available for online previewing). This not only provides a free sample for readers (either to read right then or download to their Kindle), but it also helps your Search rankings.
4) Review count, Stars: Here’s where you see the yellow stars (draws the eye in, remember?), and if you hover over the stars, you’ll see an average rating. Also the total number of reviews. From a metadata perspective, the overall number of reviews is most important – few people will click on each star and read every single review. This is why getting 1 to 2-star reviews is not that big of a deal because it actually helps your overall review count (even though, yes, it brings down your average ranking).
5) Price: Price is listed below and to the right. On bright orange buttons (again, bright color).
6) Book Description: This is where you write your book description. I recommend keeping it short and sweet – a few blurbs, a few bullets as to the content, and a call to action (purchase this book today and see why … etc.). Only a few lines show without the customer pressing ‘see more,’ so make what they see incredibly interesting! Most importantly, include the same keywords you entered into your KDP (where it says ‘keywords or key phrases’). Again this ties to search.
7) Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought: This is called the ‘recommendation queue’ and tells you what customers like. This is helpful as a reader so we can take a risk on other books that seem to be like the one we just bought. No guarantees of course (except that you can always return the book for a refund). Tip: If you copromote with other authors, you will commonly pop up in the same rec queue.
8) Editorial Reviews: If your book has been reviewed by a reviewer from an editorial publication (Kirkus, San Francisco Book Review, etc.), this is where you put these reviews.
9) Product Details: Key info like date of publication, page count, etc. is listed here. What’s most important is your Amazon Best Sellers Rank. This is where your book is ranked at that particular moment in time. This is updated hourly. Below is a snapshot in time of where Broken Pieces is at the moment I’m writing this. Given that there are millions of books on Amazon, I’m okay with this. I can also tell if the categories (see below) I’m using are the same lists I’m ranked on.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,827 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #8 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Women’s Studies
- #38 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Gender Studies
- #47 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Women’s Studies
10) Customer Reviews: this is the breakdown of reviews. If you as a reader have traveled this far down the page, most likely you want to know more, right? They also pull out quotes from reviews, because most of us simply scan a page rather than read the whole review.
11) Most Helpful Customer Reviews: While you can’t influence how people feel about your book, you CAN affect this particular area of the page. How? Simply click YES on what you feel are the most helpful, and NO on the ones you feel are not. Ask others to do the same. (Some people call this ‘gaming;’ however, according to Amazon’s own guidelines, they encourage people to do this. The point is to be ‘helpful.’ Take that as you will.) If this bothers your sensibilities, don’t do it. In conversations with Amazon directly, they encourage this practice.
12) Most Recent Customer Reviews: On the far right is a sidebar that contains the most recent six or seven reviews. The will automatically update as more reviews come in.
13) More About The Author. Here’s a snapshot of mine:
More About the Author
Email: [email protected]
I’m a chick who writes stuff that sometimes makes you laugh, other times makes you cry…or at least think.
My top nonfiction books are as follows:
This is all you see unless you click on ‘see more.’ While Amazon doesn’t allow you to have a website URL on your Book Description, they will allow website and social media info in this ‘about the author’ section. Tip: you enter this info on Author Central.
14) What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item? This is a wealth of information for you as an author (and as a reader!). This doesn’t tell you if someone purchased your book after viewing your page, but it tells you what else they’ve purchased. This is helpful in knowing if your keywords and categories are resonating. (Despite the removal of tags, we now have less knowledge about what people are using tags for, but this info is helpful. The ‘tag cloud’ is still available also.) Check to see how these books are ranked, their cover, their book description, everything.
15) Shared Notes and Highlights: This is great! If people are reading your book on ANY Kindle-enabled device (remember, they have free apps), you can see which highlights ring true with your readers. Look over to the right: they also list the ‘most popular highlights.’ This is also helpful, to know what stands out the most to readers.
16) Look For Similar Items By Category: This is also very helpful. Not sure which categories a similar, bestselling book is using? Check here – easy. This is on every single book page. Amazon lists the categories for both their overall book list and the Kindle-only book list. I use this frequently to help authors figure out which categories are popular and seem to be ranking well.
17) Forums: I haven’t had much luck with this feature for my own books. People seem to use social media more often (IMHO) for book discussions, I’ve found. If you can provide more helpful info on practical ways to use this feature, please let me know.
This is only the actual retail or catalogue page I’m reviewing here. As an author, you also need a KDP (eBook) or Create Space (paper/hard cover) account to check sales, and an Author Central account to enter your bio, connect your blog and social media. I’ve review those in future posts.
There are few other features on the page I didn’t mention (this post is long enough as it is), but this gives you an overall glimpse of what you may not be seeing. And it’s a lot of stuff!
If you have any questions, do contact me here at [email protected] or leave a comment below.
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