3 Common Mistakes Authors Make With Amazon Books Listings (and how to fix them!) by Karon Thackston
It is finished! You’ve completed your book and it’s time to show off your moves with a rousing rendition of the Happy Dance. As part of your marketing plan, you decide to list your new publication on Amazon. With glee and excitement, you post your book listing, click “submit” and walk away with visions of record-breaking sales spinning around in your head. Then. Crickets.
What happened? Why didn’t the millions of shoppers on Amazon.com come racing to your sales page? And what stopped them from buying? While there are numerous elements to creating a successful book listing on Amazon, I want to focus specifically on your book description for this article. It is here that we find three extremely common (and often fatal) mistakes that you need to overcome in order to generate more sales.
Mistake #1 – Not Giving Credentials
With the dawn of self-publishing over a decade ago, many readers have found the quality of books on a decline. Some have become wary and even suspicious (especially regarding digital books) about buying from authors they may not have heard of.
Give them a reason to believe in you before they invest money in your book. Include some of your accomplishments with your book description. This is easy if you’re a New York Times best-selling author, a famous celebrity or CEO of a national corporation. But what about the rest of us? Here’s a good example.
Notice how the author is positioned as an “exercise dynamo” and someone who is “known for her popular” workouts. The description mentions her trademarked routines and rabid fan base as well, which indicates (without saying as much) that she’s kind of a big deal.
There are a couple of items I’d change in this description, however. For starters, “fanbase” is two words, not one. Watch those typos! If you want to be a grammar nazi, the trademark routines should be written as “trademark 5- to 10-minute.” There is something worse, however, that causes this description to be a little stand-off-ish, leaving the reader on the outside looking in.
Mistake #2 – Not Relating To Your Target Customers
As I read through this description, I gasped under my breath four times. Why? Because I felt alienated. I didn’t feel this book was written for me, but rather like it was written for some other group of people.
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I’m not a big fan of book descriptions that are written in third person. Have a look at the four pink-highlighted areas above. “Practitioners”? Really? First of all, that word sounds very clinical to me. Second, who is this group of practitioners and where do they practice? “Women” gives me the same impression. How about “you”? I find “keep you engaged and active” much more inviting and appealing than talking about some arbitrary group of people.
Then we reach the phrase “Cassey’s followers.” What if I’m not one of Cassey’s followers, but have happened on her book for the first time? Again, this term makes it sound as if the book is for an elite group of people to which I do not belong. Can we just end it with “make it a must-buy”?
The last instance is the word “readers’,” which again gives us that feeling of being an outsider. Another perfect place to use “you.”
Relate to your target audience when you create your book description. Think about them as actual people (they are, you know!) and consider what they will be thinking and feeling when browsing through the 32 million books on Amazon. (Yes, that’s an accurate number.)
Write specifically to your target customers and communicate what they’ll get from reading your book, whether it’s a momentary escape from reality, a new skill they can use to build their business, tips for handling life’s stresses or an outlandish adventure the revs up the imagination of their child.
Mistake #3 – Being Afraid To Market Your Book
The style of writing most genres and that of writing marketing copy are completely different. Many authors shy away from using language in their book listings that is enticing and compelling (no, I don’t mean full of hype). However, this is necessary to draw in readers and show them what they have to look forward to.
If you lean too far to the right with an ultra-conservative list of facts, you’re likely to lose readers who can’t draw conclusions themselves about what they’ll get from your book. Too far to the left with outlandish claims and you’ll butt heads with people rolling their eyes in disbelief. The key is to experiment and find a good balance so that your listing is informative and intriguing at the same time.
Avoiding or overcoming these three critical errors can quickly allow you to convert more of the traffic from your Amazon listing into paying readers. What’s more, those who choose to buy are more likely to reward you with their loyalty the next time you publish.
If you’re struggling to create an Amazon book listing that draws in readers and stimulates sales, Karon’s new ebook is a quick fix (at only 60 pages) that lets you move from commonplace to compelling in no time.
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