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27 Comments

  1. It’s a changing game!

  2. P.C. Zick says:

    Thanks for some great tips.

  3. Dale Furse says:

    Thanks for more great tips. Jackie. Yep, we have to run really fast to keep up. Glad to hear Amazon Central helped with you problem.

    DaleFurse

  4. Amy Vansant says:

    Anyone not reading your tips and moving on them is missing out!

  5. Wow, so many new tips to check out! Thank you, Jackie, and for the mention. Scammers seem to be everywhere. I got the shock of my life the other day when an author friend informed me a writer was banned from the author forum she frequents for copying someone else’s entire manuscript, changing the names of the characters, the title, the cover, and publishing it as her own! So shameless was she that she kept trying to re-enter the forum to steal ideas and tips with different handles and kept getting blocked. So you hit it on the nail when you said we have to know who we’re talking to. I also agree it’s useless to pay someone $$$ for promo if they have less Twitter followers or email subscribers than you. Personally I keep alternating the sites I give my few and precious $$$ to as to keep exposing my work to new audiences.
    Effrosyni

  6. Rosie Dean says:

    Great stuff! Thanks, Jackie.

  7. Julie Frayn says:

    Awesome. Heading over to genrepulse and yonndr (oh… now I get that name) now. 🙂

    Julie Frayn
    Author of Mazie Baby

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Julie Frayn! laffin’ at you. In the South we always say “yonder.” As in: “Where the heck did I park my car?” Ans: “Over yonder by that light pole.”

  8. KJD says:

    Great info here Jackie.
    Thanks millions.

  9. Insightful as always!

  10. TJ Shortt says:

    Always so much info! Thanks for offering your knowledge so freely. Authorly altruism at its finest.

  11. Mary Smith says:

    Thanks, Jackie, for more useful info. Off to check out the link to Rebecca Hamilton.
    Mary Smith

  12. Traci Hall says:

    Jackie, great tips. Yes, I try to follow links in the blogs–from your posts. I trust that they are worthwhile. But time is at a premium so I have to be careful where I spend it, and going off on blog hops can get me into trouble, lol–you vet these places and share the relevant information. Thank you a thousand times over!

  13. EM Kaplan says:

    Great info. I just started tweaking my blurbs every couple weeks with a fresh eye. I’ll go look at my author page again, too.

  14. Susan Tarr says:

    Have listed my books on yonndr, and asked if there might be a historical genre to list on some time. Yes, and soon. So we will be waiting patiently, and it will happens.

    That’s a great article, Jackie. Your blogs are a mine of information this young woman never would have discovered without your researching. Thank you!

  15. Viv Phoenix says:

    Thanks for the tips. Your review tips have been a great help, too.

    I got tired of questions in blurbs and I’ve been finding other ways to express conflict. Intrigued to see you’re nixing the questions, too. I’m curious: What prompted you to make that change?

    I agree about white space breaking the flow in blurbs. It bothers me not to have paragraphing, yet I’ve noticed top-selling book blurbs without paragraph breaks and I’m making the change. I don’t use large headlines or breaks at the top because that limits how much of the blurb is visible.

    As for HTML in blurbs, if you haven’t seen this, you might find it to be a major help: http://ablurb.github.io/
    It gives a preview of how the blurb will look and has a cheat list of allowed tags. I have no connection to this site. I use it often to avoid unpleasant surprises on my listings.

    What do you think of a call to action in Amazon listings? Pro blurb writer Bryan Cohen’s cheat sheet advises using a CTA, yet I’ve seen comments on Kboards that CTAs look stupid in a blurb. I don’t like the ones that say “Scroll up and click buy,” as though the reader doesn’t know how to navigate a webpage, yet I can see the psychology of making a direct, yet not condescending, buy request.

    Thanks for your wonderful, generous site. Best to you.
    Viv

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hello, Viv Phoenix. Nice to meet you. Thank you so much for commenting and especially for adding to the discussion. The link you provide about blurbs…that guy is WRONG. We can preview our book descriptions on Amazon inside Author Central to see what it looks like and will show on the book page before we save it. As far as I know, we cannot create html in the book description when uploading. At least I can’t. I’m not tech savvy. I have to wait for a book to go live, claim the unit in Author Central where I can edit every feature on my book page.

      We don’t need para indents in a book description. A single paragraph is fine. We are not writing an essay for a grade in school. Many authors compose a book description as if it is a book report. That is bad news. The description is the hook. I don’t put anything in the hook to distract the reader. You mention Call to Action in book descriptions. That’s like a waiter asking for a tip before he’s served a meal. I don’t put anything in a book description that gets in the way of the viewer clicking that buy now button.

      Yep. I’m trying to avoid rhetorical questions in book descriptions. It is challenging to compose a declarative sentence that captures the essence of the conflict but much stronger than a rhetorical question. I try to avoid author intrusion too; sometimes, carefully composed, it can work. i.e. he/she/it “is going to find things out the hard way.” IMO a CTA is author intrusion. I don’t make any direct buy requests. Not even in back of book matter. I mention one or two other books. Here’s why: If the reader enjoyed my book, I trust she will go look for another. I don’t feel the pull to dictate her behavior.

      Thanks again, for commenting. Don’t be a stranger.
      Jackie

      • Lurker111 says:

        “As far as I know, we cannot create html in the book description”

        The italics [i] … [/i] and bold [b] … [/b] markers work (replace the brackets with the less and greater-than symbols). I’ve done this myself. Whether an actual hyperlink is permitted, I don’t know.

        Do be aware that you must be certain to CLOSE any italic or bold section, for otherwise the italic or bold characteristic may bleed over into the Look Inside (nothing in the actual Look Inside will have changed; it’ll just LOOK LIKE it did).

        All the best.

        • Jackie Weger says:

          Hello, Lurker111: You are correct that we cannot use html in the book description during the publishing process in KDP.
          However, once published, one may revise the book description from inside Amazon Central.
          One may revise or edit our Amazon Author page, and all of the elements on our book pages. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion. Always appreciated.

        • Viv Phoenix says:

          Hi,
          Sorry I missed your response until now. The tricky thing is that the KDP dashboard and Author Central have different abilities. I like that changes I make in Author Central go live faster than if I use the dashboard, but as you noted, it’s of no use until I claim an already published book and the book becomes available there.

          The blurb preview tool is for use *before* the book goes live. In the KDP dashboard, it isn’t possible to preview the blurb before publishing.

          As Lurker111 noted, html does work in in the KDP dashboard in the book description field. The sweet thing is you don’t have to be tech savvy. The html tag list on the blurb previewer I linked makes it easy, although not all of those tags work now. Amazon doesn’t support the orange headlines it used to use, previously , I think. That’s just as well. I saw complaints that those were difficult to read on phones. You’re right that Author Central doesn’t support html.

          The way the blurb tool works is you enter your text, add the tags, and you see the preview with the bold, italics, line breaks and anything else, just as it will appear live on the listing. You can use for italics and to end the italics for a book title: No Perfect Secret
          Good points that extra paragraphing isn’t needed in the description. Your mentioning that white space breaks up the flow helped me become more conscious of it. Catching and keeping reader interest is crucial, and all the the distractions Amazon puts on the listing page adds to the challenge.
          Thanks for expanding on the use of questions. I’ve been experimenting, and I agree, a declarative sentence about the conflict is stronger than a question.
          I appreciate your take on CTAs. Enjoyed your analogy of a waiter asking for a tip before providing service. 🙂 I have that reaction to books that start with a bunch of ads in the front.
          As simple as it should be to create an effective book description, it’s easy to get distracted and try to do too much with the blurb.
          I like how you boil it down to focusing on getting the reader to click buy and leaving everything else out. I need to do another round of fine-tuning.
          Also, thank you so much for your excellent example of a request for reviews. It made a major difference. I value your posts.
          I’m going to put ‘the description is the hook’ at the top of my work log. You’re terrific.
          Best,
          Viv

          • Viv Phoenix says:

            I entered the html tags and they’re invisible, but making parts of my post italicized. Oh, well. They’re visible at the blurb tool. Now we know they work in comments.

            This time I remembered to mark the boxes, so I’ll get an email if you have any questions about using tags in blurbs.

  16. caroleparkes says:

    Thank you for these tips, Jackie. It’s so generous to let others in on the secrets of your success. I’m in awe of your sales figures so I’ll follow all the advice you give. I’d love to have four or five sales a week, never mind every day, like you.

  17. Barbara says:

    Some amazing reading. I will be honest and say my head is spinning. I am new to writing as such, as of yesterday actually and ebook only at this stage. The yonndr.com was fascinating as I fall into this category. I subscribe to your newsletter, but your blogs and the info you provide is fantastic.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Welcome, Barbara and congratulations on publishing your first book. You are on a new journey. It is hard work, a massive learning curve, yet rewarding. I’m happy if my blogs provide you with a leg up in our indie universe. My best suggestion to a new author is: Think for yourself. If you make the best decisions you can for your book, your career as an indie author is assured. Thank you so much for commenting. Don’t be a stranger.

      Wishing you all the best ~ Jackie

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