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Book Discoverability: The 5 Biggest Mistakes Authors Make on Amazon

As we head into the holiday season, it’s essential to maximize your book’s presence on Amazon. With hundreds of thousands of competitive titles for potential buyers to sift through, it’s important to make sure you’re not making basic mistakes that can impact your book’s success!

1. Not Having an Author Page: It’s no longer just about having a brief bio on your book page. You want to be sure you are taking advantage of Amazon’s Author Central program. If you don’t, you’re missing out on some of the great tools Amazon makes available to authors. It’s here where you update your bio, publicity placements, upload author photos, incorporate your twitter and RSS feeds, claim your author URL, and add video. When a reader clicks on your name next to your book title, you want them to automatically get linked through to your Author page where they can learn more about you, your expertise, how to connect with you, and why buying your book is important.

2. Not Highlighting Editorial Reviews: Through your strategic marketing activities, you may have reviews from professionals, bloggers, media, etc. Don’t make the rookie mistake of hiding these reviews at the bottom (or top) of your book description. Utilize the Editorial Reviews section of your Author Central account! You can excerpt the best of the best so they jump out at the reader on your Amazon book page. Don’t forget—those Editorial Reviews should appear on your Kindle and print book page(s) too!

3. A Bad Book Description: A well-written, edited book description can still be a “bad” book description when it comes to search. Your book description must include key words and phrases that a potential reader will type in to Amazon’s search. Don’t get so clever that you forget the basics. If you wrote a book on job interviews, the phrase “job interview” belongs in your book description (likely more than once!). Also, your book description is just that—a book description. Don’t include your TOC, editorial reviews, etc. where the book description belongs. It will only muddy your message. Present your book in a clear and concise way while paying attention to key search term words and phrases.

4. Not Having Search Inside: Many authors actively work with Amazon to remove Search Inside from their book. This is a HUGE mistake! Search inside provides readers with a sneak peek at a book that will, hopefully, convince them to purchase. Buying online is different than brick and mortar retail. Consumers can’t pick up your book and flip through it on Amazon like they might in a Barnes & Noble or other retailer. This is a selling feature. Use it!

5. No Reviews (or Unprofessional Reviews): Reviews matter. Quality reviews matter more. Reviews help consumers make buying decisions. If comparing a book with 25 reviews to a competitive book with 1 review, the consumer is more likely to choose the product he or she can learn more about before parting with their money. It’s important that the reviews for your book are real reviews. Quality matters even more than quantity. Having your family and friends bulk up your book page with 5-star reviews that are 1-3 sentences will not be as helpful. You want to be sure that the reviews on your book page are thoughtful, full and provide real insights in to your book’s content. This likely means you will be sending your book out to Amazon reviewers, book reviewers, media and bloggers and requesting a review. Because you don’t know these reviewers personally, that may mean you get some 1, 2, 3 and 4-star reviews. Remember, all of the reasons that one reader may dislike your book could be the same reasons that another reviewer will love it.

***Bonus Tip****
For authors self-publishing using Amazon’s CreateSpace or KDP programs, the biggest mistake you can make is not utilizing all of the tools that CreateSpace makes available to you. Be smart about the key word and phrases you are using. Don’t be shy about changing them up (multiple times if need be) to help maximize your book’s visibility during search. Be just as strategic with category and try to narrow your target category as much as possible so that your book is easier to find.

For more information on Amazon Optimization, Amazon Top Reviewer or other book publicity services, email info@smithpublicity.com

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