4 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Amazon Listings

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Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 12.39.21 PMAmazon.com is the world’s largest online retailer. The site receives 65 million visitors each month!

While some people don’t like Amazon.com’s control of the book marketplace, there is no denying the fact that this site forever altered how people buy and sell books.

I once heard an interview with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. In the interview he shared his vision of making Amazon.com the Wal-Mart of books, where people could go to buy books at a great price, 365 days per year. It seems as if Bezos’ vision has now been realized.

Many of us buy all our books from Amazon or its digital arm, Kindle. The last book I purchased at a physical book store was at an airport when I was stranded by a flight delay and did not have my Kindle with me. Can you remember the last time you purchased a book at a store?

While I hate to see the demise of so many independent bookstores, as an author and publisher, I must embrace and celebrate the potential of Amazon.com for my books.

Amazon’s business model is to encourage readers to purchase lots of books, knowing that the books will be sold at a discount price. To that end, Amazon provides several tools to encourage book sales. The great thing is that all these tools are free for authors.

Amazon leaders realize that by providing free tools to authors, they will sell more books so everyone wins. The only wrinkle is that finding these tools on Amazon.com is a little tricky. After you finish this article, you’ll know exactly where to find them and use them to optimize your Amazon listings.

Opportunity #1

Optimize your book listing with key words. When you or your publisher lists your book on Amazon or Kindle, you can submit a description of the book. This description may contain up to 4000 characters describing your book and why readers will enjoy it.

If you have done some simple key word research and know the primary search terms for the topics covered your book, you can include those key words in your book description. For example, if you were writing a book for parents of teenagers and discussed the topics of peer pressure, bullying, substance abuse, dating, and fostering responsibility, you may use the key words: parents, teens, teenagers, drugs, drinking, dating, bullying, and high school in your description. In that way, when a reader places any of those terms in the Amazon search tool, your book will come up.

Opportunity #2

Use Author Central. After your book is listed on Amazon or Kindle, you are eligible for a free account at Amazon Author Central. Author Central allows you to correct or change your book description on Amazon, add your photo and author biography, link your blog’s RSS feed and Twitter accounts to your listings on Amazon and set up discussions with readers. You can also add video, update your list of publications on Amazon and join the Search Inside the Book program.

To set up your Author Central account, go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/. You’ll be asked for your Amazon.com book buyer user name and password and then be able to set up your account. Once your account is created, you can follow the simple prompts to upload materials and use the other features.

Opportunity #3

Set up a Personal Profile and Post Reviews. A personal profile is a related to you as a book buyer, not an author. When you first log in to Amazon to look at books, on the far left you’ll see your name’s Amazon.com. Mine reads Lynne’s Amazon.com. Click there and you’ll see a blue tab at the top of the page that reads “My Profile”. Click on that tab and use the edit function to add your photo, biography, and website.

LynneK#2

LynneK#3

The important things to list on your personal profile are your name, website, photo, and signature. Your signature is like a tag line that shows up after your name when you post reviews on Amazon. Mine reads “Lynne Klippel, Book Strategist and Publisher”. This is a good opportunity for you to do a subtle advertisement of your business and web address.

Once your personal profile is set up, you can post reviews of books you’ve read. When you go, your name and signature will appear on each review. It’s wise to post reviews of the books you’ve read. This will get your name appearing on Amazon.com more frequently and it is good karma. Since you want many glowing reviews for your books, why not give reviews as often as possible?

Opportunity #4

Use the Look Inside Your Book Feature. This feature will allow book buyers to browse and sample a few pages of your print on Kindle book.

Many publisher will set this up for you, but if you have self-published or your publisher did not add this feature to your book listing on Amazon, you can follow this link http://amzn.to/df5IEw , to enroll in your book in the Look Inside program. Amazon’s research suggests that this feature both increases book sales and helps book buyers find your book more easily when they search on Amazon.

These 4 opportunities to optimize your Amazon listings are free, fast, easy to set up, and don’t require much effort on your part after the initial registration. Fast, easy, free, and time saving….what more could a busy author like you want?

Lynne Klippel
Lynne Klippel is a best-selling author, publisher, and book strategist who focuses on books which build a business. Her clients are non-fiction writers who create books on spirituality, business, personal development, relationships, and how to books which delight readers and convert them to clients.
Lynne Klippel
Lynne Klippel

Comments

  1. Thanks to Lynn for this basic, but incredibly important, list for ways to promote yourself and your books. I thought I kind of knew what I was doing in this regard; however, after reading this article, I went right back in and created a far-improved personal profile (#3). Now I need to go in and put in those reviews of recently finished books I’ve been meaning to post.

    Please also note that in the book description that shows up next to your book cover at Amazon, there are ways to boldface the font, use italics, put in bullet lists, even change the color of some of the lines (if you do some research). Many descriptions are fine, but they appear as one long paragraph in “unbolded” print, sort of like being served a big plate of buttered spaghetti with no sauce. It might serve its purpose, but the presentation should be better.

    Finally, I find that most author bios at Amazon are not that interesting. Now if you’ve won Pulitzers or your books have been best-sellers or you’ve received a blurb from Pope Francis, that sort of info would probably suffice. But for most of us, we need a bit more sizzle. Since I write humor a lot of the time, I went with humor. The author profile picture need not be confined to one face shot. Again, that’s great if you’re Hugh Jackman or Beyonce, but for most of us, we could use something… uh, more interesting. You’re allowed up to seven photos, I believe, and captions are optional. Make use of them. See what I did at:
    http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Berenson/e/B006SRNTJI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1371922529&sr=1-2-ent
    to get an idea what is possible. Go through my little photo album (using the arrows under the initial profile picture. I’m not claiming my effort is to die for, but it’s fairly unique.

    Lynn, you know far more about this than I. So please feel free to correct my miscues.

    Thanks again.
    Daniel Berenson
    Freaky Dude Books

  2. I love the fact that I see all my three published books advertised in many places by Amazon. I just pray my publisher remembers to send me royalties for books I know have already been sold.

  3. I have always loved paper books, can’t seem to get into the digital versions. My book is:

    “Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift…Even If You’re a Bad Waiter”

    Thanks for the info.

  4. The last time I bought a physical book was when I was in an airport a couple of weeks ago. I could have bought it for my Kindle which I did have with me, but for some reason I felt like enjoying the physical book during the 4 hour flight. I also buy physical copies of books published by my friends and colleagues. 🙂

  5. Hi Lynne,Thanks for this! Something I\’ve learned for digital books is that anything submitted through Author Central does not get picked up by Amazon\’s search spiders. So, when submitting book descriptions, they must be done through Kindle Direct Publishing to get the benefit of SEO. The kicker is that once you use Author Central to submit or alter a book description, the Amazon system totally ignores what you do in KDP. This is more of a tip for new authors who haven\’t yet gotten too far into all of this. I learned the hard way, but hopefully others can get the most out of SEO by using KDP and staying away from Author Central for some things.

  6. Lynne, I love this post! And I’m one of those people who never in a million years thought I’d convert to all digital…yet here I am. I truly cannot remember the last time I bought a physical book (although I still purchase magazines).

    And yes, I do realize that physical books will probably never completely die out, it behooves us as authors to recognize we simply must make our content available in digital format.

  7. My answer to your questsion: Can you remember the last time you purchased a book at a store? – I bought a book about 2 weeks ago from Barnes & Noble.com. I also Can you remember the last time you purchased a book at a store? I also purchased a magazine.

    We can’t let printed books die away. There CAN be a balance between both. The reason I purchased the book in store was I knew this was a book I was going to be marking up with notes and post-its. Although you can do that on your Kindle – or in my case, on my iPad – it’s far more difficult to go back to find those notes on a reader.

    In regards to the rest of your post – Great reminders for authors to make sure they dot all their ‘I'”s and cross all their “T”s on Amazon in order to make your profile and presence as effective as it can be. Thanks, Eydie 🙂

    • Eydie- you are so right, printed books will never go away- I hope! I live in Ecuador now so get all my books on Kindle. However, I’ve already had 5 printed books sent to my mother’s house to bring back here when I visit the US this summer. There is something special about holding a book in your hands.

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

      • I suppose book stores aren’t as readily available in Ecuador? Enjoy your visit back to the U.S. Eydie 🙂

  8. I bought Dan Brown’s new book last week. I love books, the smell and the feel of paper. The feeling of accomplishment I have after reading a hefty tome. And after spending all day on a computer, the last thing I want to do in the evening is spend more time looking at a screen.