It seems that everyone is talking about making money with Amazon Kindle publishing these days.
It wasn’t long ago that selling e-books online meant offering prospective customers PDF files and having to explain that it’s a “digital book”. Now people are starting to become more familiar with the concept of e-books thanks to the wide proliferation of Amazon’s Kindle reader.
For those of us looking to expand our reach with our internet marketing efforts, this is great news.
It’s never been easier to get into the world of self-publishing and get your work in front of millions of potential customers in a matter of hours.
In some respects, I would say that getting work onto Amazon for sale on the Kindle is almost too easy. Amazon’s editorial requirements are quite loose in terms of content and even formatting. It’s quite possible to buy a book and have it riddled with typos and grammatical errors and just plain poor content. There is no “official” formatting guidelines either so it’s a bit of a crapshoot what quality you get.
On the flipside however, it’s also a simple process for your customers to refund their purchase and/or write a negative review if they aren’t happy.
I waded into the Kindle waters just over a year ago and pretty much made it up as I went along. I made a few mistakes along the way and now have a handful of books for sale on Amazon that sell fairly consistently.
Here are the top 3 things I’ve learned since first hitting the Publish button on Amazon.
1. People DO judge a book by it’s cover. It doesn’t take long browsing the Kindle store to see some really terrible book covers. Now it doesn’t matter if you’ve just written a masterpiece of English literature…
If your cover sucks, it’s going to hurt your sales.
Take a look at this cover comparison:
If you were browsing Amazon and were looking for a book on Acne to read on your Kindle, which book would you take a chance on?
I’m not saying that putting a slick cover on a poorly written book is a way to find success on Kindle. What I am saying is that a well-designed cover can make the difference between mediocre sales and meaningful numbers on an otherwise well-written book.
I’m a graphic designer so I do like to spend some extra time on the visuals of every aspect of what I do online. If you’re not confident or interested in doing this yourself, spend $5 on Fiverr and get it done for you. It will make a world of difference for your sales.
2. Spend time on your title and description. Apart from the “Look Inside” function of Kindle books, people must rely on the both the title and description of your book to make a buying decision.
I like to look at the description area for my books almost like a mini-salesletter.
That’s not to say that you need a 48-pt bright red headline and 5000 words of copy. What I mean is that I like to use the same copywriting principles and capture the readers interest and draw them down through the description of my book.
I will usually write a few sentences describing the overall theme and then list anywhere between 6-12 bullets hitting the strongest parts of what my book is about.
Sometimes I will even clip quotes from some customer reviews and include them in the description as testimonials.
Take a look at the description for some of the big New York Times bestsellers to get ideas on formatting and content for your product description. People are conditioned to a certain style of editorial content on Amazon and making sure your book resonates with the same tone and feeling will go a long way towards helping your book sell and maybe even getting a spot on the bestseller list yourself.
3. Use keywords in your description AND your title. It’s a common mistake for people new to Kindle publishing to only include your keywords in the provided area by Amazon. It’s important to populate this area with well-researched keywords but if you really want to give your book a boost in the rankings, there is a better way.
The secret is to embed a couple of choice keywords in the title of your book. I usually do this with a dash and treat it almost like a sub-headline. Using our example from above, take a look at the title:
Treat and Beat Acne – The 3 Step Treatment to Clear Skin
A quick visit over to the Google Keyword Tool and doing a search for acne gives me a couple of high-volume keywords that I’d like to use for my title.
- getting rid of acne
- clear skin overnight
I will then work those into the sub-title of my book to come up with the following:
Treat and Beat Acne – The 3 Step Treatment to Getting Rid of Acne and Enjoying Clear Skin Overnight
This is something that not a lot of people are doing (or even know about) that can make a HUGE difference in your rankings within Amazon. All it takes is spending a few minutes doing some keyword research and picking some high-volume and mid-volume keywords to include in your title.
In the highly competitive marketplace that is the Kindle store, every little edge that you have can mean the difference between selling 1 book a month to selling 10 books a day – or much more.
It’s too easy to get caught up in all the nitty gritty details of any online business technique so next time I will be talking about my method for researching, writing and publishing a Kindle book in one sitting.
Have you had any success with publishing on Kindle? What worked for you?
Tell us in the comments.
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