Your Book Page
Most online sellers pull your book’s summary and other information from online catalogs published by an ISBN registrar like Bowker, or a physical book distributor like Ingram. That means the information you enter when you register your ISBN shows up on sites like Barnes and Noble, Bookshop.org, Indiebound, and others.
If you publish your print title through Ingram, your Ingram data will appear on the Amazon detail page for your print editions.
Amazon, however, offers two tools to give indie authors more control over their book listings, and you should take advantage of these tools.
The first of these is the KDP book details editor. This page lets you edit your book summary, and choose your book’s categories and keywords. Categories are the primary genres or topics your book falls under; for example, “Murder Mysteries” or “Retirement Planning.” Keywords are words you expect reader’s to search for when trying to find titles like yours; for example, “female detective” or “stock market guide.”
KDP allows you to choose two categories and up to seven keywords, which can be individual words or phrases. You’ll find Amazon’s official guide here.
Amazon’s Author Central gives you even more control over what appears on your book’s detail page. Here, you can add editorial reviews, reader reviews, excerpts, expanded summaries and more. This is where you’ll want to go to fiddle with your book listing, add new review blurbs, etc.
If you publish your book through anyone other than Amazon’s KDP, you may be able to edit only parts of your book listing, or none of it, through the Author Central site.
For example, Author Central lets me edit every aspect of the listing for Kindle books I published through KDP. (Except price, categories, and keywords, which must be edited through the KDP title page.)
For print books I published through IngramSpark, Amazon pulls the editorial reviews from my Ingram listing. (Whatever I entered on my Ingram title setup page appears verbatim here.) But I can still edit other fields, like the book description, about the author, and whatever additional editorial reviews I added through Author Central.
For formats that I turned over to a third party for publishing, such as an audiobook (not published through ACX), I can edit nothing. The audiobook publisher controls this listing’s details.
What to Put on Your Title Page
Aside from your book cover and star ratings, which Amazon automatically populates, your title page should include:
- A short, engaging summary. This is usually the same summary that appears in the back cover of your book, though you can edit it as you please through Author Central. Note that only a few lines appear above the “Read More” link. You should try to grab your reader’s attention in those few lines so they do read more. If your book has earned awards or honors (like a starred review), mention it at the beginning or end of your summary.
- Editorial Reviews Include excerpts from editorial and reader reviews. Editorial reviews come from professional services like Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Reader reviews can come from Amazon, Goodreads, NetGalley and other sources. If your review excerpts are too long, readers will tune out or skim over them. Each excerpt should convey one distinct point; for example, that your book is well-informed, or a page-turner, or laugh-out-loud funny. Use bold to highlight phrases to catch the reader’s eye.
- From the Back Cover Ebooks don’t have back covers, so put whatever you want here. Reader comments work well here, as do recommendations from other authors. Or add an excerpt from your book, or an expanded or alternative summary.
The detail page for Gate 76 has done well with little promotion. There reviews and awards are enough to encourage people to look inside, and from there, many Kindle Unlimited readers plow through the whole book, generating as much revenue as a sale.
Amazon recently gave authors the ability to add rich content, such as images and videos, to their book detail pages. I haven’t had time yet to experiment with this, but you’ll find a quick overview of how to add A+ Content here.
This can especially useful for book trailers and professionally designed images.
Disappearing Reader Reviews
You may occasionally see some of your Amazon reader reviews disappear. This happens when Amazon’s internal algorithms sweep through and remove reviews that may violate company policies.
The most common reason for removing reviews is that Amazon has determined the reviewer is a close friend or family member of the author. How can they tell this? There most common ways are:
- The reviewer posted their review from a computer or network address that you also use.
- The reviewer shipped Amazon orders to you, or you have shipped Amazon orders to them.
While Amazon is up front about disallowing friend and family reviews, their algorithms are often very aggressive, deleting legitimate reviews without explanation. On one of my titles, they deleted 50% of all the reviews ever posted, even though none were from friends or family. This reduced the title’s overall rating from four and a half stars to three and a half, which had a disastrous effect on sales.
Amazon won’t restore these reviews. Your best course of action is to periodically snapshot reader reviews. If they disappear, you can copy excerpts from the deleted reviews into the “Editorial Reviews” or “From the Back Cover” section of your book’s detail page.