Despite recent criticism of Amazon the company continues to dominate the growing e-book market, accounting for more than 80% of English-language purchases, while their competitors lag far behind with Apple taking a 10% market share, Kobo 2%, Nook 3% and Google Play 3%  and other smaller companies scooping up the remaining 2%.

Given these statistics, it’s essential that authors take the time to properly optimize their book listings, or risk not being found in relevant searches and losing out on potential customer views.  While there are many companies that offer paid optimization services for authors, there really is no reason why you can’t also do it yourself.  Follow the below steps and see how easy it can be to upgrade your book listing on Amazon with optimization.

Step 1: Take Advantage of Keywords & Categories

One of the primary ways that Amazon chooses which book results to display for customer searches is by the category they are listed under and the keywords in the book’s description.  While the old strategy of “less is more” is applicable in a lot of places, optimization of your Amazon book listing is not one of them.  In fact, many Amazon authors make the mistake of trying to keep their product description “short and sweet” and lose out because of it. 

If you are unsure of what phrases to use, check out tools like those offered by Kindle Samurai, or simply browse the “suggested” keywords that Amazon populates when you search a phase that is relevant to your book.  By providing more phrases in a longer, more advanced description, you enhance your chances of being highly ranked on very specific searches.  This, in turn, makes your book more relevant to what the customer is looking for and there is a higher likelihood of a sale.

Step 2: Provide Cover Art & Images

While your book’s keywords and category will help you pop up in relevant search results and get you in front of a consumer, your cover art and other related images are almost always what entice a potential buyer to actually click on the book listing and get more info.  Because images are so important in grabbing the attention of a reader and setting your story apart from other similar search results, be sure to invest in a quality cover art that communicates quality and excitement to the consumer. 

Professionally designed book covers are best, of at least 1000 pixels or larger.  Be sure there are no water marks and carefully follow the guidelines that Amazon has put into place for cover art images to ensure compliance and success.

Step 3: Write a Compelling Amazon Author Page

If a potential customer has found your book in a search result, and then liked the images and description enough to be intrigued, they will often seek out information on the author as a next step.  Having a successful, professional author page may be just the key to converting a browsing potential reader to an avid fan. 

While it may seem overwhelming at first, creating a fabulous author page really isn’t all that challenging.  First, be sure to include a compelling author biography, as well as one or more professional headshot photos of yourself.  Many authors also like to add a listing of their books, along with links to their blog, social media sites, promo videos or trailers, and their official author webpage.

Step 4: Work Hard to Obtain Honest Reader Reviews

While not as much within your sphere of control as the other sections are, book reviews have been shown to make a major impact in purchasing decisions and should not be neglected when optimizing your Amazon listings.  Consumers like to read “real life” experiences from others who have taken the plunge already, and many feel that the information obtained from a well written review is as beneficial as the book description itself. 

Ask readers who have purchased in the past to post an honest review that includes both the good & the bad.  Often times, it will not only drive your book sales, but also allow you personal insight into the lives of your reading audience and how your story influenced them.  If there are negatives mentioned, take time to consider how you may be able to edit your published work or adapt your future writing endeavors to account for these and grow as an author.