SFFMP 65: Optimizing Your Amazon Sales Page + Listener Questions Answered

Today Jeff, Jo, and Lindsay discussed how to improve your Amazon sales page so that people are less likely to click away, especially now that there are sponsored results and other distractions everywhere. They also answered some listener questions and shared some of their recent news and helpful tips.

Here are some of the highlights and the links mentioned during the show:

  • Selling to male readers or getting more readers overall as a female author of science fiction
  • How many words do you have to write for your work to be considered a novel, and at what length is it OK to charge novel prices for your ebook?
  • How can you gauge if a series is selling well enough to continue or if it’s better to move on to something else?
  • Using Bookfunnel to make it easier to give out free ebooks (they handle helping your readers with side-loading)
  • The Kevin Kelly 1000 True Fans idea that you don’t need to be a best seller to make a living as an author, just to gradually accumulate enough true fans
  • Whether entering keywords in your KDP dashboard can actually help
  • Using keywords to get into bonus categories on Amazon (here’s the Amazon help page that tells you the words to use for the various categories)
  • Making sure not to get in trouble with the titles and subtitles you use if adding keywords
  • Using Author Central to claim your book, link editions (ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks), and fill out the extras such as the “critical reviews” and “about the author” fields
  • The need for book reviews to provide social proof and also help you compete against the ads for other books that appear on your own sales page
  • Using taglines and hooks to catch people’s interest before they have to “click more” with the new Amazon page layouts



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  • I just listened to this. I am a female writer of Science Fiction (space opera/triller and hard SF). I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered active discrimination from readers, but the editor of a fairly large genre publisher told me in the face not to bother submitting hard SF because I’m a woman.

    I don’t know what goes on in SF but something definitely goes on, and if anything, it’s WORSE in self-pub. I mean, look at the absolute sausage-fest that is the indie non-rom SF writing.

    A little while back, there was an uber-successful SF/space opera box set. I absolutely tore into Phoenix and the other organisers for not having selected a SINGLE woman out of those ten authors. She came back with a lame “there were none that satisfied the conditions”. Well, seriously and FFS and excuse my French but what sort of situation is that? There are a good number of female writers of SF.

    I absolutely refuse to change my name, or even use initials. It’s ridiculous that I should even have to contemplate it.

    • SFFpodcast

      Thanks for responding, Patty! It’s interesting because there have definitely been some hits with female writers in SF, so I wonder if this is a thing where the readers care a lot less than the authors and publishers.

  • Great episode! By all means, keep talking. The longer the episode, the better. Lots of very useful information. Thanks!
    Regarding the Amazon series feature, do you list your bundles as part of your series. If so, how?

    • SFFpodcast

      Thanks, Eric. My bundles and novellas don’t show up as part of my series pages on Amazon, and I’m guessing it’s because I didn’t (couldn’t) give them a number. I listed them as part of the series, but I guess that isn’t enough!

  • Scott

    Important note on the wordcount discussion:

    You can’t get into Bookbub with anything less than “150 pages”, which I believe is going off of Amazon’s “Print Length” estimated pagecount. They rejected my 47,000-word, 129-page novel for being too short. My math says 150 pages at that rate comes out to 55,000 words, so in order to be eligible for promotions in the future I’m going to make sure I at least hit that mark.

    (And I might even go back and flesh out a few scenes to beef up that 47k novel to 55k so I can get a Bookbub on it. It would totally be worth it if I could land a BB promotion.)

  • Great podcast, guys. Have been listening for several weeks now ad I always learn a lot. Keep up the good work!

  • Rebecca

    Thanks for answering so many questions! I have a few more. 🙂 I’ve heard you talk about beta readers (specifically Lindsay), and I’m wondering how you all organize the process. How do you select your beta readers? What do you look for in a beta reader? What do you ask of them? How much time do you give a beta reader? Do you always go back to the same readers or do you try to use new people (or at least some new people) with every book? Do you use a beta reader on every book? How many beta readers do you feel makes a good sample of reader response? Along that line, do you use a content/developmental editor with your novels? If not now, did you with your earlier books?

    Thank you for providing so much information in your podcast! I found it a few months ago and I’ve been hooked!

    • SFFpodcast

      Hi, Rebecca!

      I have two sets of beta readers right now. The first ones I met through the SFF Online Writing Workshop many years ago when we were posting our chapters on there and getting feedback from lots of people. We ended up following each other’s stories to completion and liked each other’s writing and critique style. My second set of beta readers (who work on different series for me) started out as readers that I first met through a fan forum that a gal set up for my Emperor’s Edge series. I was publishing so quickly that I needed some more beta readers, so I wouldn’t wear out my welcome, and they were willing to jump on board for the Dragon Blood books (and my pen name stuff too).

      I do like to work with the same people throughout a series. Ideally, you’ll have a couple of beta readers, each with different strengths (maybe one has a science background and is great at logic while another might be really tuned in with character development). I know some people will use more beta readers, but I find that more people just means that it takes me more time to get through their comments — sometimes you’ll be more likely to get contradictory feedback that way too, and you can end up confused as to which way to turn.

      I do use beta readers on every book. They always end up catching some things that I missed. Plus, my manuscripts tend to need less work that way when they go to the editor. My editor mostly does proofreading and tightening of or clarifying some of the sentences. It’s not nearly as pricey as if you have someone do developmental editing.

      Hope that helps. Thanks for listening!