Something Newish from Amazon

I am hip deep in the final week before publication, so looking for blog topics completely slipped my mind. Every writer out there knows where my brain is. It is deep in Victory from Ashes, making sure I haven’t missed anything, that all the edits have been input, that it’s getting one last pass through the proofreader, etc. Part of it is also making sure promos have been done and I’m not forgetting anything–and I always do. And that actually led me to today’s topic. Amazon recently gave indie authors another tool to use to help drive interest in our books. It’s called A+ content and it is basically a promotional tool we can create and place on our product page.

So what is A+ content and how do we use it?

A+ Content allows you to add images, text, and comparison tables to your Amazon detail page to engage readers and give them more information as they consider buying your book. Add A+ Content to your detail page to make your book stand out, connect readers with your books, and share more about your author story.

A+ content can run the range from a graphic where you introduce yourself and your book to a comparison with other books or series out there to basically whatever you can think of. You are only limited by your imagination and by the templates Amazon requires you to use. If you check out the examples Amazon supplies in the FAQ, you will see one featuring the author’s picture and bio, another detailing a series timeline and reading order to another that is little more than a series of images used as a teaser for the book being promoted.

When considering using A+ content, you have to keep one thing in mind: these are visual representations, static “ads” of a sort to engage your readers and encourage them to buy the book or other books in the series. If you’re smart, when you set them up, you do so in a way that you can use them not only on your product page but also as promo pieces on your own social media accounts. Think of it as killing two promo birds with one stone.

Yes, there are already sites

out there willing to build these new content forms for you–for a fee. But before you go that route, take time to go through the information you can find on A+ content via the KDP help center. Look at Youtube as well. There are a number of videos there explaining what A+ content is and how to create and then post it. Derek Murphy, who has a number of excellent videos out there for the indie author, has one such A+ content video.

Yes, I’ve put one together for Victory. It is no where close to perfect and it will be coming down next week. I’ll be replacing it with a new one that focuses on the series and hints at what’s to come. That will go up on all books in the series. There might be minor tweaks to the verbiage for each book, but that will be about it. But until this book is uploaded for release, I can’t worry about it right now.

Now here’s my caveat, for lack of a better word. First, you have to get this A+ content approved by Amazon. I want to say it took a week or so from time of upload before the content was approved and went live. That process needs to speed up. Second, it does take time to decide what suits the book and genre. It will also take time to see if it actually helps drive sales. This is why I would recommend you NOT pay someone to make the A+ content for you–or at least to limit payment to low double digit figures until the system shakes out and it is proven–or disproven–to be financially worth it. That said, taking advantage of this content makes your product page look more like a “pro” page. It does so because it goes under the “From the Publisher” section which too many of us (and I’m guilty of this) leave blank.

And this takes me to a pet peeve that I’m seeing more and more of on indie product pages. Yes, we need to be putting something in that “From the Publisher” section. A lot of authors and small presses are adding the first scene or chapter of the book. Okay, fine. But why? You’re already giving the reader that when they click the preview function at the top of the page. That is going to look better than what they see if they scroll down to where you have slapped it into the Publisher section.

All the scene or chapter does is add a wall of text to your product page, something that will have most eyes glazing over. This is especially true because too many don’t look at the page after they hit enter and don’t realize there are no spaced between paragraphs. (This is a common mistake on book descriptions too.)

So don’t do this. If you want to add text here, talk about the next book in the series or how the series got to this point. Give information about how to find out more about the series, etc. Hell, talk about the office cat. But keep it short and engaging.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now.

So here are my questions for you. As a writer, have you started using the A+ content yet? If not, are you considering it? Second set of questions. As a reader, does the new A+ content possibly help intrigue you enough to buy or borrow a book? Why or why not?

Now I need to get back to work. Until later!

Oh, wait. Promo! I need to promo!

amazon plus 1

Victory from Ashes will be out 9/21 on Amazon and 9/28 everywhere else. You can pre-order it now.

War is hell. No battle plan survives the opening salvo. When the enemy is set on the total destruction of your homeworld, how far will you go to protect it and those you love?

This war has already cost Col. Ashlyn Shaw too much. She has lost friends and family to an enemy that doesn’t know the meaning of honor. Marines under her command have died doing their duty. Her enemies at home conspired and brought her up on charges, sending her and members of her command to the Tarsus military penal colony. But they didn’t win then and she won’t let them win now. She is a Marine, a Devil Dog, and they can’t take that away from her.

Ashlyn is determined to do all she can to protect her homeworld and end the war. She will lead her Marines against the enemy, knowing that if they fail, Fuercon will fall. But will it be enough and will those who have conspired behind the scenes to destroy her and all she stands for finally be brought to justice?

Duty and honor. Corps and family. That is what matters. It is all that matters.

Snippet 1 Victory

Featured Image by Thomas Budach from Pixabay

9 comments

      1. Which is what this is meant to help, at least where Amazon is concerned. But I hear you. I have a real problem with marketing. I’m better, but not near where I need to be.

        1. We really need to find someone that is looking for a side-hustle for marketing people like us and handles us all together somehow. Not quite an agent or a publisher, but somebody that is the difference between one of us that has read and taken a few classes and someone that knows the tricks.

  1. My question is when will it be in paper? I’m moving around the 8th of Oct. and would like to order it and get it before I move. Leaving Colorado Springs heading to calmer waters(taxes) Missouri.

  2. Some countries still use the old format where the text you wrote to well the book was fully visible, instead of truncated at four lines. This wouldn’t be quite as necessary if they just expanded that text again.

    1. Somebody famous or successful truncates at four lines, therefore everyone else must. It’s like sympathetic magic. Even a lot of blogs are doing that.

      The web designers probably consider it “forcing user engagement” or similar. For me, it means clicking off to somewhere else that doesn’t want me to dance like a performing monkey.

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