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Alexis Radcliff

Thanks for this post! Do you know of any sites or tools that help you optimize your keywords in addition to Amazon? Or do you recommend always going with what Amazon suggests?

Penny Sansevieri

First off Jane thank you so much for sharing this! I really appreciate it! So Alexis I recommend that you keep your searches to Amazon, because that is they key way to find out what folks are searching on within that site. You can use sites like to find great keywords, but in order to find what folks are really looking for on Amazon, you should follow their search suggestions. Hope that helps!


Great info! Thanks!

Seeley James

I constantly ask book clubs how they find their next book. The overwhelming answer is, recommended by a friend, followed by best seller lists, eye-catching covers, etc. I’ve never heard of, and I’ve asked, anyone searching Amazon keywords. When does these keywords come into play? What are the searchers doing when these keywords kick in?


I appreciate this post. Where do you see moods and themes? I’m not seeing them.

Penny Sansevieri

Off to the left side of the screen when you’re previewing fiction books.


Thanks, Penny! I see it is only in some categories that there are themes – like romance. I bought your book and read it. Lots of great info. Thanks! I was wondering if you have an insight you can share about how to get a book discounted?

Penny Sansevieri

Anne, hi – so you mean discounting the price of the book on Amazon? You bet. just go into the KDP dashboard – you can discount the eBook there. Does that help?


Hi Penny, I must say that I used the keywords on Amazon from the word go for my first ebook novel and will use any other tool that they recommend. I am still feeling my way with Amazon Kindle but learning as I go along. I have finished my second book in the series of three I am writing, would you recommend uploading a “taster” for the second book or just upload the book in its entirety?

[…] Linda White presents 50 fabulous ways to kickstart publicity. Penny Sansevieri gives some pointers on how to improve Amazon book description and metadata. […]


Penny, no, sorry, I wasn’t clear. I think it’s another help if amazon decides to discount your print or ebook off of your list price, which they have a right to do. If your book is listed for lower price elsewhere and they discover this, they will match that lower price. However, you’re not supposed to list your book lower anywhere else. Dilemma. (I discovered this when they did lower the price on one of our books and it sold better. I’m sure the lower price was a big part of that, but I also think the discounting makes it… Read more »

Penny Sansevieri

Anne thanks for the follow up – so a couple of things. Amazon told me they no longer price match to other e-tailers – however if the book is free somewhere, they will (eventually) list it free on their site. They can price the book (or lower it) however they want though. So often I hear authors tell me that Amazon has discounted the price without any kind of notification. I do not know about listing it lower anywhere else actually –


Good info. Thanks, Penny! I’ll leave a review for your ebook.

[…] Sansevieri at Jane Friedman’s blog has a good set of tips for enhancing your book description here. She includes these essential tips for HTML […]


Thank you so much. Keywords are definitely one of my weaknesses although I know their importance. I’m heading over to KDP to work on keywords right now.


Nice info here. The one thing I would balk at is the suggestion to add your own review to your Amazon book description. That seems highly dishonest to me. I can understand quoting from reviews you’ve already received elsewhere (like on Amazon or Goodreads), editing your description once you have them. But adding your own is just a little too sleazy for my taste.


Jane Friedman

Hi Djuna – I think you may have misinterpreted or misread the advice here; Penny isn’t suggesting you write and add a review you’ve written about your own work, but adding reviews from third parties, as you’ve indicated.

David Floren

I see where you’re getting thrown, Djuna. It’s the phrase “your own” in the last sentence of this excerpt from Penny Sansevieri’s blog entry: “Dressing up your Amazon book page should be a high priority. Previously, you were at the mercy of whoever reviewed the book on Amazon and whatever details the publisher decided to add. Not anymore. Now you can go in and add your own reviews to help dress up the page.” Read by itself, that last sentence does indeed suggest creating one’s own reviews. A sleazy enterprise to be sure. But the 2d sentence changes things …… Read more »


Thank you! I realize this was written 3 years ago, but I’m just getting started. I also was a bit confused as to “your own reviews”….

[…] How to Improve Your Amazon Book Description & Metadata […]

Michael Anthony

I have one friend who’s also a writer and I try to talk about this kind of stuff with him, but he’s of the mindset that a writer should focus on just writing and not have to “sell out,” and learn how to “market,” their work. You guys all know the friend I’m talking about. They love writing, but reading a single book on how to market/sell their work is betraying the craft. “Good writing should sell itself,” he’ll say. Which is true, but there’s nothing wrong with giving ourselves a head start and helping hand.

[…] fiction or non-fiction work, then you’re going to turn a lot of narrators off. You need to channel your inner Don Draper and describe your book in a compelling […]

[…] How to Improve Your Amazon Book Description & Metadata […]

[…] sales copy. The book description can make the sale for you, if you do it right. There are many blog posts about how to make your description work for you. This is your reader’s first taste of your writing. Get it […]

[…] How to Improve Your Amazon Book Description & Metadata […]

CC Hogan

When it comes to the HTML, I have put together a little help page and an online editor to guide people through the process. Might be of some use:

[…] How to Improve Your Amazon Book Description and Metadata (Penny Sansevieri) […]


Thanks for this great post. I have a question – when I am adding HTML codes to my description – is there some way I can review it before I hit publish? I keep making mistakes but can only see them once I publish. Obviously I’m missing something 🙂

Jane Friedman

No preview as of yet—wish there were!

[…] How to Improve Your Amazon Book Description and Metadata (Penny Sansevieri) […]

[…] you prefer a pairing of very short and a longer one, two sizes for various uses? (Do note that some publishing experts say use a longer description on Amazon, at least 500 words, for […]

Tom Willmott

Jane. This post was really helpful to me. For the beginner, there are a dizzying array of items on the self-publishing checklist. The first time through, it is difficult to know how far to push the envelope, which formats are acceptable and, in general, how to connect the dots. Your tips on keywords and the range of layout options for the description were invaluable. Thanks very much!

Tom Willmott

There was a question about how to identify the best keywords. Although I am not an expert on search engine optimization by any means, I had one idea that worked well. I bought a $5 FIVRR gig to do a search and tally of important keywords for my Forex trading. Although I still don’t really understand all the category definitions, the report gave me a million ideas and a great sense for which words and phrases had the highest conversion impact. Then your tip about how a phrase can be one of the seven keywords was the final piece in… Read more »

Jane Friedman

Interesting approach – thank you for sharing!

[…] ‘no’ responses that apply to your book and start researching how to make these things happen. The info is out there, I personally have written about most of these things. If you still need additional help you should email us and we can put you back on […]

Dave Chesson

Hey Penny, great article and you’re absolutely right. There are some people that say that Amazon’s A9 algorithm does not search book descriptions – they’ll give you the example that if you copy a full sentence from someone’s description and place that in the search bar, Amazon will come back blank. But to those people, I’d respond that Amazon’s Algo doesn’t work in complete sentences like Google. It doesn’t even do Boolean searches. Instead, it breaks down particular words or phrases – because that’s what shoppers type in…anything else, is probably unnatural. It’s their checksum to ensure it’s not being… Read more »

[…] How to Improve Your Amazon Book Description […]

[…] authors have learned by now that it’s critical to have a great Amazon book description and metadata. But incredibly often, authors don’t take the time to also leverage their Amazon […]

[…] authors have learned by now that it’s critical to have a great Amazon book description and metadata. But incredibly often, authors don’t take the time to also leverage their Amazon Author Central […]

[…] authors have learned by now that it’s critical to have a great Amazon book description and metadata. But incredibly often, authors don’t take the time to also leverage their Amazon Author Central […]


Thank you so much for this post! It was extra helpful in my editing of my dad’s book page. Your link to and explanation of how to edit the book page was lithe in its helpfulness. 🙂


I liked the Amazon description highlighting section. Thank you.

Janet M Perez

Hi Jane! After you publish just a paperback with CreateSpace (not KDP/Kindle), how can you change your Keywords once you published the book. I could not find a link anywhere. Thank you so much! Janet

Jane Friedman

Hi Janet: You’ll need to log back in to your CreateSpace account, go to the book’s “project homepage,” and edit the description. There you’ll find options to choose your BISAC category and search keywords.