4 Tips to Set Your Book Up for Success on Amazon
These days, it’s not enough for an indie author to just write a good book; you need to be able to sell it. And with Amazon as the dominant retailer in the self-publishing industry, chances are that you’ll want to — at minimum — know how to self-publish your book on the retailing giant.
Luckily, it’s not as tough as it may sound! This article will reveal four evergreen tips and tricks for publishing a book on Amazon. If you want your book to succeed on Amazon, read on.
1. Nail the content (and the cover) of your book
First things first: your book needs to be great in order to sell.
All the Amazon hacks in the world won’t do you any good if the quality of your book isn’t professional. Sure, you might convince an unsuspecting first-time reader to pick up and purchase it. But do you think they would become a repeat customer if they encountered pages upon pages of typos, bad character development, and unsatisfying plot? Chances are, probably not.
So double back and reread your manuscript to get rid of any such mistakes before you publish it. That doesn’t just mean typos; it also means that your characters, theme, and plot should be airtight. Work with a beta reader, or even a professional editor, to make sure that your book is the best possible version of itself and that it’s fit to be read by the wider public.
Perhaps most importantly of all: invest in a standout book cover design! Your cover design is your #1 marketing tool, creating the very first impression that a potential reader will get of your book. Indeed, if you’re spending your money on one thing in the entire publishing process, it should probably be a book cover.
2. Optimize your book description
After your book cover, your book description is going to be the most important factor for converting browsers into buyers. Think about it: once your cover’s gotten the attention of a reader, what are they going to do next? Nine times out of ten, they’ll flip to the back cover (or open the inside flap, or consult the Amazon blurb) to find out the premise of your book.
That means that you’ll need to make your premise as enticing, snappy, and irresistible as possible. Amazon gives you a limited amount of space to write a book blurb, so make sure you do the most with what you get. Take some time to figure out the most intriguing angle of your plot, what makes your characters truly special, and the investment-worthy stakes of your protagonist’s predicament.
And don’t forget to optimize your book description for Amazon specifically! That all starts with your keywords, which Amazon uses to index your book for searches. Don’t keyword-stuff your blurb so that every other word is “thriller,” if, say, your book is a thriller. (Amazon will penalize keyword stuffing.) But do make sure that you repeat your most important keywords in your title and description a few times to make your book more discoverable in the eyes of the Amazon search engine. (If in doubt about which keywords to choose, check out books similar to yours!)
3. Understand Amazon categories
During the process of publishing an eBook on Amazon, you’ll be asked to pick categories for your book as well. Now, there are quite a few Amazon categories — more than 10,000! So you’ll want to make absolutely sure that you select the right ones.
What makes for a perfect category on Amazon? Well, you want a category that isn’t too competitive (then your book would be crowded out), but neither should it be too obscure (then that would mean fewer buyers). The sweet spot in between is what you want to aim for, so be sure to do your research before you pick. If a category is already flooded with bestsellers, it’s probably too competitive; on the other hand, if the pickings are extremely slim, it means there’s no market for that category.
One more thing: Amazon will prompt you to pick two categories when you publish through the KDP dashboard, but you can get up to eight additional categories if you contact Amazon after your book’s been published! Don’t forget to take this step, as it’s definitely worth it. The more discoverable your book is, the more eyeballs — and therefore more sales — you’ll get on it.
4. Decide whether KDP Select is right for you
All authors face a crucial choice when they publish on Amazon: whether or not to enroll in KDP Select, Amazon’s exclusive program for self-publishing authors. Entering the KDP Select program will give you a number of promotional perks for 90 days, including access to:
- Kindle Unlimited
- Kindle Countdown Deals
- Kindle Free Promotions
- And increased royalties for sales in select countries
The catch? You’ll need to agree to remain exclusive to Amazon — meaning that you can’t “go wide” and sell your book through other retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, or Google Play.
Whether you decide to bite the bullet and go for KDP Select depends on individual factors, especially your book’s genre and your preferred marketing strategy. If, for instance, you notice that there are only a few KU titles in the Bestsellers List for your particular genre, it might not be worth it to join KDP Select and gain exclusive access to KU.
Luckily, KDP Select is only a 90-day program, so it’s not as though you’ll be committing for the rest of your days! Nevertheless, you should definitely be informed before you sign up for it. You can read more about the pros and the cons in this post by David Gaughran Best of luck!
Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors and publishers with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories. She tries her best to be funny in writing and very occasionally succeeds.
© 2020- Desiree Villena Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.