(as featured on my weekly Huffington Post blog)
What to do if you're not Graham Norton, you don't have a sensationally saucy autobiography to sell, but you're still determined to make your book a success?
This week's blog comes courtesy of Valerie de La Rochette, a former head of digital marketing at HarperCollins.
Your Amazon page is your main window to the world, so you wook coverbant to make it as arresting as possible. This is where that eye-catching book cover comes in, along with the tantalising one paragraph description to make potential readers click on Buy asap.
Keywords are crucial to the discoverability of your book so you should include these in the description. They need to be specific so that your target audience can find your book when they are searching online. They should also rank under popular search terms, i.e be easily recognisable words or phrases (yep, I'm such a techno-dunce that even this had to be explained to me). Google's keywords search tool comes in very handy when checking out how popular your particular selected phrases and words are.
Choosing the right category for your book is also important. You want to tell your readers exactly what they can expect when they buy it. So check out other books similar to yours and see what Amazon categories they are listed under. Remember that it is easier to rank in the smaller categories, rather than the generic 'contemporary fiction' (big fish/small pond scenario). The Alliance of Independent Authors has a good article on categories.
It's also a good idea to include an extract of your book for the Look Inside section so people can sample your writing before they buy. NB You don't get to choose where this extract comes from - it's usually the first 20% of your book.
Make the About the Author section as scintillating as possible. List anything you do/ have done that you believe people will find interesting. You may want to road test this on friends/family/work colleagues to see if they agree! There's also a More About the Author section, where you can go into greater detail and be more quirky and personable. You can also put up a head and shoulders photograph, which apparently helps because it shows you to be a real person, grafting behind the scenes. For more info, visit Amazon's Author Central.
And finally - reviews are essential as social proof, so if you have been lucky enough to wangle any from the press, put them up! If not, customer ratings are also a huge help. As most writers will know. wrestling a review from people can be quite tricky, so give your friends a copy of the finished manuscript as far in advance as possible. Then when your book is up on Amazon, urge/beg/plead with them to leave reviews. Note that these should be honest - a load of just 5 stars looks suspicious. Luckily, the customers don't need to have bought the book on Amazon to be able to leave a review. Phew!
Valerie de La Rochette now works as a digital marketing consultant for self-published and indie authors.