As authors in a digital age, we must continually market our work to attract new readers and even entice existing fans to take the plunge on new releases, as well as inject some life into some of our not-so-new titles. There are many aspects to marketing that are obvious show-stoppers when care is not taken, such as the quality of the book cover, the content of the book description, and of course the legitimacy of having good reviews. While the combination of the aforementioned aspects may be considered the panacea of getting a conversion, there's one additional aspect that is also a factor that some authors may not give a second thought to. As I'm sure you've deducted from the title of this blog post, I'm referring to the formatting of the book description—particularly the description as it's displayed on our book's product page at online retailer sites.
If you sell online, then at a minimum you hopefully make your book available at Amazon.com, else you're missing out on a huge share of the online book market. Regardless if you're enrolled in KDP Select or not, you still have to manage your book via KDP, specifically from your bookshelf. In KDP when you specify the details of your book, you're asked to provide a Description. Some authors may not realize that this field accepts HTML markup, which allows authors to format their descriptions, versus settling on just a plain old text display with line breaks. There's one gotcha to this HTML feature though, and that is Amazon restricts the elements you can use. I'm sure this is partly due to security concerns, but I'd venture to say the primary reason is so that they (Amazon) can maintain a consistent look and feel across all of their product offerings. Despite the limitation on what HTML elements you can use, this still gives authors a powerful means to apply artistic freedom to format their marketing copy so that it pops. I've included a screenshot below of how I used this technique to format the description for my novel Black Machetes.
If you're an HTML guru, then this probably isn't a big deal; however, even if you are an experienced web developer, you still need to understand how Amazon styles the limited set of elements they allow, especially if you truly wish to see what your description will look like before you publish it. This can be done in a number of ways, and I (being a software engineer by trade) have used my own tool for this in the past, which finally brings us to the subject of this post.
I recently went through a complete re-write of my author website and during that laborious process, I thought it would be a good idea to start sharing tools and techniques with all of my colleagues who partake in this craft we call writing. And yep, you guessed it. The first tool I'm sharing is one I developed to format and layout my book descriptions on Amazon. So, to my fellow authors out there who are in need, I give you (drum roll please)...the Kindle Book Description Editor! I didn't put a ton of work into polishing or tweaking the tool, but I hope it's self-explanatory enough. If not, or if you run into issues, then feel free to contact me and I'll be glad to help.
Finally, I hope the Editor helps you design the right description for your next best seller! Please do let me know how it works out and what you think via comments on this post.