Simple Tips to Make Your Book Description Standout on Amazon

Lessons in Self-publishingConfession: When I uploaded my first book to Kindle many moons ago, dozens of things ran through my mind…

  • Is anyone going to read it?
  • Is anyone going to like it?
  • Will the interior formatting pass Kindle’s inspection?
  • Will the cover be the right size and quality?
  • Did I miss something that will make it not appear on the website?
  • Is the ISBN correct?
  • Am I spelling my name right? (Yes, I worried about this too)
  • Am I choosing the right key words?
  • Is my description good enough?
  • Are there spelling mistakes in the description?
  • Will the power go out before I complete the publishing? (Okay, that’s my worry today because of the blizzard outside.)

Publishing for the first time can be overwhelming. The goal is get the book uploaded and to not get bogged down by unimportant details. Worrying about all these things I listed gave me no mindset to focus on individual aspects of the eBook publishing process.

SpiceSo I followed the guidelines—staying well within their limits—and published my first book. Six years later, I worry a lot less because I have a check list of what needs to be prepared before I hit that publishing page on Kindle. When I arrive, I’m simply plugging in the information (mostly copy and paste).

However, life is a learning journey. Recently, I learned I don’t have to settle for boring, plain text in the Amazon description. My brain knew this when I’d saw other pages with formatting but for some reason, I thought it was reserved for large publishers, not me. The other thing I learned is I’m not limited to a short description. I think Smashwords had me thinking I could use only a few short paragraphs.

Spicing Up Your Description Text

First, too much formatting—bling—creates an eyesore and looks unprofessional. Remember, a little goes a long way. Adding bold and italic texts to emphasize a small amount of information is the goal.

Bold Text

Making a section of text bold is as easy as using <strong> and </strong> before and after the text. In the example below, I made A Child in Need bold. There are no spaces between the formatting text and the text.

<strong>A Child in Need</strong>

Italic Text

This is as easy as making text bold except you use <em>  and </em> on either end of the text. Here’s how it looks. Again, no spaces between < or > and the text.

<em>Isla stared at the food. She had tasted many types of biscuits in her life, but even the worse tasting ones filled an empty stomach. Her mouth watered. She rubbed the top of her legs and realised her hands trembled; they craved to hold the food. </em>

4,000 Character Limit

Spend 4000You read that right. You have 4,000 characters to describe your book and inspire someone to read it and/or follow you. So don’t limit yourself to one or two hundred words. Take advantage of that free ad space.

The second book in the Castle Keepers Series will be releases this spring, and I need to get the word out. What better place than Amazon. Here’s what I added beneath my new description to let readers know.

<strong>SCATTERED STONES: RELEASE DATE MAY 6, 2016</strong>: Continue the journey started in “Shadows in the Stone” with the second book in the Castle Keepers series.

Connect With Me

Let readers know you’re happy to be followed and how they can do that. In some instances—such as in Canada—there are no Amazon author pages. One way readers can find out where you are on the web is to see your website in the description.

Here’s what I added to help them.

Follow Diane Lynn McGyver into the Land of Ath-o’Lea and live the fantasy. To learn more about her books and future adventures, visit her website (dianelynnmcgyver.com) or follow her on Twitter: @DLMcGyver.

To see what the formatting and the description upgrade looks like, check out Shadows in the Stone Amazon page. In the near future, all the descriptions of my eBooks will be updated to promote the release of my next book. While I’m doing this, I’ll tweak the text with bold and italics.

McGyver Blog banner 05a well dated

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23 thoughts on “Simple Tips to Make Your Book Description Standout on Amazon

  1. Thanks, Diane. Helpful post. I would love it if you had something on picking key words. For example, do you use single words or phrases? How do hyphenated words act in Amazon’s search algorithm, etc. Really like your site!

    • Those key words can be tricky, Ted. I’ve been working on picking them to increase my chances of being found in search engines.

      Figuring out Amazon’s algorithms is a challenge. I can’t do it, and I’ve read posts by many experienced self-published authors who don’t know.

      I am working on a post about key words though. I’ll probably cover that topic in the next six weeks as I prepare for the publication of my next book.

  2. Thanks a lot Di for sharing this great info. As a person who doesn’t know much about code, I really appreciate you showing how to use bold and italics here. This is done on our amazon author page, not through our dashboard while entering the book to download, correct? 🙂

    • This is done on the page you publish the book on. Where you enter all the data: author’s name, book title, etc. And where you upload the files for the book and the cover.

      To get there, go to your bookshelf and locate the book you want to update. Then hover your cursor over the grey box to the far right with the three dots in it. A menu will pop up, and the first thing on the list is EDIT DETAILS. Click that.

      Because you’re not uploading a new file for the book or the cover, your book doesn’t go offline until approved. The new description simply appears within 24 hours.

      I like to keep things simple, so bold and italics are all I need. I’ve seen some descriptions with enlarged text and colour but personally, that’s too much for me.

      Thanks for visiting, Debby. I’m glad to be of assistance.

  3. Good points, Diane. The 4000 word limit is something I probably wouldn’t have known even though it may be on Amazon’s Kindle help page.

    I read your blurb at Amazon for Shadows in the Stone. Question: Is it a good idea to label the blurb inside the cover with “Summary”? I haven’t seen that done before.

    • I’ve seen it both ways, but many books do leave out the “Summary” word. I don’t like calling it a blurb. Description sounds better.

      The reason I put a title to it is because it is at the beginning of my eBooks. Many eBooks don’t have their blurb at the beginning. They have it on the Amazon (or buyer page) only.

      I began adding the blurb to the front of the books because of something I read about two years ago. It was stated that many people download books but don’t read them right away. After they’ve completed the book they’re reading, they will scan their eReaders for the next selection. Many times, they’ll see a cover and not remember what the book is about (particularly if it had been months since they downloaded it). They could go online to read the blurb, but it’s easier for them to ‘open’ the book and read it.

      So it was recommended to put the blurb at the beginning. I moved everything about copyright and dedication to the back of the eBook, so when readers sample the book, they are getting more of the story and less of the technical stuff. Smashwords allows us to choose the free percentage, but Amazon doesn’t. I’ve seen samples that included all the tech stuff and ends before I actually get to read the first page of the book. These samples are useless.

      All of this said, I’m always tweaking and changing. This time next year, I might not even include the summary or an exciting clip.

      Thanks for visiting and for leaving a comment.

    • I’ve never had a problem with paragraph formatting before. I just checked my Kobo page. The paragraphs are there without me doing anything extra. I uploaded this book myself though; it is not through Smashwords. Thanks for the link in case others have an issue with this.

      And thanks for visiting my site and leaving a comment.

  4. Diane, thanks for sharing how to bold and add italics to ones description and that we authors should use all 4,000 characters. Another of your posts I’ll keep for reference. Now, I must share this post. Hope you don’t get buried under the snow. LOL

    • I don’t know why I thought the description was limited to that small blurb for the book. It certainly is a great place to share more than the blurb. Thank you for letting others know.

      We received about 41 centremetres of snow. It took all morning to dig out. Now it’s hot chocolate and Internet time. I just read a headline about Atlantic Canada being hit with back-to-back storms. I hope they mean the storm we had last week and this storm that just ended. I don’t want another storm tomorrow. I should read more on that headline.

        • We received about 42 centimetres yesterday. We spent the morning shovelling and cleaning up paths and barn doors. I like snow storms for that reason: nowhere to go. The storm took out our phone, TV and Internet yesterday, so that left only writing to do. I’m okay with that. Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy your day too.

          • Hi Diane,

            Today, Wasaga Beach, here in Ontario is getting blasted with snow. Thanks for sending it my way. 🙂 Do you have an email address where I could contact you? I’m not a stalking. LOL

            • No problem, Tracy. I sent you a message through my usual email.

              Now I thought we sent our snow to Newfoundland…perhaps this is new snow you are having and you will send it to us. Eek!

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