Wednesday, 13 February 2019

How to become a successful author

The most important factor in author success is one you can't buy—Luck. Despite that there's an old saying which applies—The more I practice, the luckier I get.
Here's what I consider you can do to get lucky as an author:
  • Get a remarkable cover which attracts the attention of readers browsing for books. Few can do this themselves so it is worth spending money on this. A good cover will give a book browser the interest to check out the book.
  • Spend a huge amount of time and effort getting a book description which makes the reader think "Wow! This is a book I have to read." Your description should use emotive language and use your keywords. Try running the sentences through a headline analyser.
  • Use the right keywords/tags. If you have problems here, steal them from the top selling books in your genre. To do that create a blank book in calibre and in the meta tag ID section paste in the ASIN number of a top ranking book in your genre. Then download the meta data. You'll get the tags and the book description.
  • Make sure your book starts with a powerful hook to keep the book browser reading. Your book's first three pages should be gripping.
  • Create promotion pages for your book which get high rankings on Google. If you are not discovered on the first three pages of search results when you enter a keyword and your book's title, you never will be discovered. Use an incognito browser window when doing this. (See http://authorbookpromotion.blogs...)
  • Video, pictures, headlines and subheadings are effective in promotions in that order. Run headlines and sub headings through checkers for emotive language such as and This works for Tweets and Facebook posts too.
  • Make sure promotion pages have a clear 'call to action'.
  • Get the price right. If you've already published your book at Amazon, try Amazon's book pricing beta service. To get to that select your book from the Amazon KDP bookshelf. Find the book you want to modify and in the "Book Actions" column, click "Edit book pricing." Next scroll to the 'Royalty and Pricing' header and under KDP Pricing Support (Beta), click "View Service."
  • Recognise that a promotion at best will produce a spike in your sales but you need to sustain that spike for at least a month for it to produce a rise in your sales rank at Amazon. You'll need to stagger effective promotions.
  • Know that not all promotions are effective and some are downright scams. There is no point in tweeting to fake accounts or putting book links on sites with no visitors. See this post. Learn how to recognise the fakes and how to use UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes to spot those sites which work.
  • Facebook adverts work but NOT 'Buy my book' adverts. Instead make an attractive offer which people can get if they add their email address to your mailing list. Email lists are effective at selling books.
  • Twitter posts work but not until you have 10,000 real, active followers. Few will see your posts. People will unfollow if your posts are solely 'Buy my book' posts. These should never make up more than 10 - 15% of your feed. DON'T auto follow-back because you'll end up with fake followers; vet your followers. Never send out 'Thanks for following me' direct messages. Aim to get 100 new followers per day. Remember people are only on Twitter for short periods of time so the vast majority of your tweets will be unseen. Make sure you have a pinned post there.
  • Twitter and Facebook are NOT the only social media platforms. Get a presence on Tumblr, LinkedIn (if you write nonfiction), Google+, YouTube also. There are also vital forums such as Kboards.
  • Although I dislike Goodreads, it's an essential platform for an author to be on if you want recognition as an author. BUT never sign in to Goodreads using your Facebook account! If you do then Amazon is likely to link the two and may reject reviews from some of your friends on Facebook. Be careful what you say on Goodreads—lots of Trolls there.
  • Amazon paid advertising appears to work.
  • Preorders work for new books, especially if you follow them with promotion during the release week.
  • If you are not using affiliate accounts you are wasting an opportunity to earn at least 4% extra at Amazon and much more elsewhere. You can use this as a sales tool too.
  • Remember there are only 24 hours in a day and you can't do all of this at once. Some can be automated though.
  • Ask people to help you promote! Hey if you have not already downloaded one of my free ebooks (Immortality Gene and Raging Storm) please do so. Even if you don't read them it will help my sales rank.
Darn that all sounds complicated. Maybe there should be a magic promotion button. I'm working on it but it's not quite finished yet. Take a look here.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

How to make a 'Look inside…' link for your book at Amazon

It's easy to create a book link that directs readers directly to the 'Look inside…' view at amazon.

  1. Find your book's ASIN number. You'll see it in the 'Product details' section of the book's page at Amazon. Copy the ASIN number.
  2.  Click this link - Once you are at the page highlight the B004SP6N3Q part in the web page URL and past your ASIN over it.
You now have a look inside link to your book and simply need to press enter to go to that page.

Of course you can add any affiliate code you use. In my example that would make the link:
The &tag=jaydax08 is my affiliate code for - you would need to replace the 'jaydax08' part of it with your affiliate code.

You can also shorten the link using a link shortening service. For Amazon links I like to use links which allows you to use typing friendly links to direct readers to their local Amazon store:

Incidentally these Look Inside links have one other advantage - the Amazon page behind the 'Look inside' window won't scroll down from the top of the page to other parts of the page automatically.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Text to check your grammar checking software

Check your grammar checking software

This is a text document, full of errors, designed to test the capabilities of grammar checking programs of which there are a multitude of different versions such as Autocrit, Ginger, Grammarly, HemmingwayApp, PerfectIt, ProWritingAid and other programs available as both plugins for MS Word and as web applications to be used by pasting the text into a web page so that you can check the grammar of your documents and find examples for things like passive phrase use and run-on-sentences I suggest you copy and past this entire text into your grammar checking software to see how it performs.
Their are off cause many words witch can bee used wrongly. Does the grammar checker draw attention to this?
“Their over they’re with there coffee. Of course that should have been “they’re over there with their coffee". But does it spot the missing speech mark and comma? Dose it suggest the ‘Of course’ could have been eliminated and started the sentence with ‘That’?
Their have now been three paragraphs starting with the word ‘Their’. Each uses ‘their’ instead of ‘there’. Does the grammar checker program detect these as repetition? If you fix the problem in one case does it no longer see the repetition? If you fix all the errors does it re-appear?
What what about typos and repeated words? Doed hte gramar cheker cop welll width then? Word spelling and grammar checker auto-corrects every word in the last sentance and fixes the ‘a’ in ‘sentance.’
Hears a classic mistake which often appears on Facebook. Does the grammar checker find  the four errors? I would expect it to find no more than three but an AI grammar checker or a skilled editor would find four.
70% percent of the
the public cant
spot the mistake
in this text.
Underground would you find a led mime?
On a beech would you find a see shell?
Does the grammar checking software draw attention to idiom which may not be understood in a different country? For example, ‘pavement’ means different things in the US and UK. In the US you drive on the pavement but walk on the sidewalk. In the UK you drive on a road but walk on the pavement. There are many other examples of words or phrases with different meaning. In one bestseller book an English author has an American using the word ‘tarmac’ which an American would understand as ‘blacktop.’
Does the grammar checking software spot plagiarism? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. Does the grammar checking software detect plagiarism? (And repetition?)
Does the grammar checking software check for example missing punctuation such as commas semicolons apostrophe’s used incorrectly question marks over use of exclamation marks!!!! What about punctuation that was a question. Did the software find a missing question mark or semicolon? If; for example, a semicolon is used instead of a comma. does it draw attention, to non-capitalization and comma,s in the wrong place? Should it detect the Oxford comma and the none use of it? What about it’s ability to correct ‘its’ and “should punctuation fit inside or outside parenthesis”?

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Getting your book keywords right

When you publish at KDP Amazon they ask you to provide keywords. So, do you simply type in what you think people will enter? A five-minute task? If you do, then you are setting yourself up for failure.


According to KDP keywords are optional and 'help readers find your book when they browse the Amazon site'
The term ‘keywords’, or tags as calibre calls them, should really be ‘key-phrases’ because they can be up to 50 characters long. The total length of keywords at Amazon appears to be 400 characters. Prepositions (for, with, from, over, through), articles (a, an, the) and conjunctions (and, or) are optional in the keywords.
You would be foolish to consider keywords as optional. Keywords are essential because they help readers find your book. Specifically, they help readers find your book cover and title.

Keywords choice

Amazon ask you to use no more than seven generic keywords that describe sub-genre, mood, and location. They advise authors to consider using the following types of keywords:
  • Setting (e.g. Colonial Africa)
  • Character types (e.g. single mum, divorcee)
  • Character roles (e.g. powerful witch)
  • Plot themes (e.g. coming of age, revenge)
  • Story tone (e.g. dystopian, conspiracy)
Use phrases you think people would use to find your book content as a starting point. There are some words Amazon say you should not use in keywords:
  • Information covered elsewhere in your book's metadata (title, contributors, etc.)
  • Subjective claims about quality (e.g. ‘best novel ever’)
  • Time-sensitive statements (‘new’, ‘on sale’, ‘available now’ and ‘FREE’ – Amazon assumes that such a book will not always be free)
  • Information common to most items in the category ("book")
  • Deliberate spelling errors. (‘sycology’)
  • Variants of spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization (‘80GB’ and ‘80 GB’, ‘computer’ and ‘computers’, etc.). Exception: Words translated in more than one way (e.g. ‘Mao Zedong’ or ‘Mao Tse-tung’, ‘Hanukkah’ or ‘Chanukah
  • Anything misrepresentative like the name of an author not associated with your book. Kindle Direct Publishing has a zero-tolerance policy for metadata that is meant to advertise, promote, or mislead
  • Quotation marks in search terms. Single words work better than phrases, and specific words work better than general ones. If you enter “complex suspenseful whodunit”, only people who type all of those words in that order will find your book. For better results, enter this: complex suspenseful whodunit. Customers can search for any of those words and find your book
  • Amazon program names like as ‘Kindle Unlimited’ or ‘KDP Select
People won’t look for words that relate only to your book unless they already know about it.
Don’t over use the keywords because this can look like “keyword stuffing,” a spammy practice that can get you dropped in ranks.
At Amazon, find out if your selected book genres have keyword requirements and make sure you use those keywords. You’ll find these at
Don’t use your book title as a keyword. That would waste the slot since Amazon already searches titles and subtitles. If you would like to have more than seven keywords an easy way of using extra keywords is to use them in a book subtitle.
Enter your key phrases in a manner that readers would search for. For example, readers are more likely to search for ‘paranormal romance’ than ‘romance paranormal’. If you use them in the wrong order your book may still be found but it will have a lower rank in the search results.

Let’s look at two examples of finding keywords.

Example 1 - Raging Storm by Shelia Chapman

Back in 2013 when I first published my wife's book 'Raging Storm' I used the 'five minute task' method Although it got fantastic five star reviews, its sales were slow. Downloads for this series starter book were not exactly stellar. I decided to return to this book and see what I could do to increase sales by working with its keywords. The keywords I had chosen in 2013 were:
  • Paranormal romance.
  • A Vested Interest - chosen because this book has a following series of this title.
  • Romance - Not a good choice since it is a huge Amazon genre.
  • Telepathy – The book features mind reading.
  • Native American – A protagonist was a member of a ‘Navajo’ clan.
  • Mind-reading
  • Romantic suspense
When I looked at these keywords again, I thought first of the genre or theme of the book. I chose Amazon’s genre Fiction >Romance > Paranormal. Amazon tell you not to type in the genre but to type in words in the order people expect. So, I didn’t enter ‘Romance Paranormal’ and instead chose 'Paranormal romance' as my keyword. Here's what happens when I type the first letter in an incognito browser Amazon search window. I use ‘incognito’ because I don’t want the results to be influenced by previous searches I’ve done. 

You'll notice as soon as you start typing, Amazon starts making suggestions based on what other people are looking for. Nothing useful so far (I’m curious about the ‘Pepper spray’ though.) I continued typing.
By the time I'd entered five letters I started to get results.
It found ‘paranormal romance’ and ‘paranormal activity’ with ‘paranormal romance’ showing in Kindle and books. That indicates my keyword wasn’t a bad choice and was popular.
You can use the same method to get suggestions from a Google Search. Again, I suggest you do this in an incognito browser window to avoid previous searches influencing the results.
Doing the same with my original keyword choices I got:
A Vested Interest – finally found after typing in ‘A Vested I’. This isn’t a good keyword since few people will use it unless they are looking for another of the books in that series.
Romance – ‘rom’ found ‘romance books’; ‘roma’ found ‘free romance kindle books’(Free and Kindle are forbidden keywords); ‘romanc’ found ‘romance novels’.
Telepathy – ‘telepa’ found ‘telepathy books’, ‘telepathy’ and ‘telepath hive mind
Native American – ‘native a’ found ‘native American’ and ‘native American books’. Experimenting I also found ‘native American fiction
Mind-reading – ‘mind-read’ found ‘mind-reading’ and continuing to type I found ‘mind-reading sci-fi
Romantic suspense – ‘romant’ found ‘romantic suspense kindle books’    
That gave me some ‘starter’ keywords to work with:
·         Paranormal romance
·         Paranormal fiction
·         Romance books
·         Romance novels
·         Telepathy fiction
·         Native American fiction
·         Mind-reading science fiction
Since the words in keywords are better not repeated and ‘books’ is a keyword to avoid since so many people search for it, these became:
·         Paranormal romance
·         Romantic stories
·         Romance novels
·         Telepathy fiction
·         Native American ebooks
·         Mind-reading Sci-Fi
That’s only six keywords so I followed Amazon’s advice and added the locations the book was set in and its theme:
·         Louisiana and Arizona coming of age
Next, I use two keyword research tools which are free to use online. One searches for Amazon keywords, the other searches for Google keywords. Both sets of results can be used but there’s a big difference how these Internet behemoths do a search. Google uses an intelligent search which tries to interpret the meaning of what you are looking for. If you enter ‘great paranormal romance’ it will look for popular paranormal romance also. Amazon’s search is just plain dumb. What words you enter must appear in the search results.

Step by step guide to finding better keywords

Here's the process I use to update the keywords. I start by using Google, not Amazon! Google is great at interpreting what you mean when you search and may well find better keywords you have not considered.
Step 1. Use Google’s keyword tool. Find it at
You’ll need to log-on using a Google Adwords account. If you haven’t got one – they are easy and free to create. Once you’ve logged on return to the keyword tool using the Tools menu. Enter your keywords separated by commas. Then click ‘GET STARTED’.

The Google keyword tool is quick and in a matter of moments suggested 2780 possible keywords. Not all of these will be relevant but it’s worth downloading them as a csv file.
At this point it may be worth going through the keywords found to see if Google has made some better suggestions. I picked out:
·         mental telepathy between lovers
·         soulmate romance
·         tragic love story
That gives me 10 keywords – but that’s not a problem.
Step 2 – I used the Scientific Seller keyword tool at and entered my keywords one per line. You’ll need to create an account there but using the keyword tool is free. You’ll find it best to do the search during the night. Leave your computer logged on at the page overnight.

Once you click to start the keyword search you wait – it warns you it will be slow.
Scientific Seller will find lots of keywords for your books but it will also find what it calls ‘stuff’ words. Those stuff words can make a huge difference to how readers find your books. Let me explain further. Look at these two keyword searches and notice how many items are found.

As you can see adding the word ‘great’ has a dramatic effect on the number of items found. It changes that 50,000+ to 129. The word ‘great’ is a stuff word. You normally shouldn’t use these words in your keywords but do use them in your titles, subtitles and book description.
According to Scientific Seller, Amazon makes little use of the product description when it searches for keywords. However Scientific Seller is designed for non-book retailers. Such products offer a bulleted list of product features which are searched for keywords. Books don’t offer this bulleted list (although you can add one if you know HTML) The descriptions for books are searched for keywords and are a good place to include ‘stuff’ words. Google searches book descriptions too so you should use the ‘stuff’ words there.

Stage 3 – Look at the reviews and descriptions of books with a similar theme. See if you can pick out any keywords from these. If your book already has reviews, then go through those too. I picked out:
·         unique people, extraordinary situation
·         beautiful but sad story
·         force of destiny and fate
·         endless romance
·         laugh, smile, cry and love
·         love at first sight
·         mystery, love, jealousy, and sadness
·         combining romance and paranormal
·         adventure, suspense, and romance
That gives me 19 keywords; a lot more than Amazon’s allowance of seven but that’s not a problem yet.

Example 2 - Choosing Keywords for a non-fiction book

For my book 'An Illustrated Guide to Getting Published' I thought of ‘publishing guide’ but ‘guide’ is already in the title, so I looked for alternatives. ‘Manual’ is in the subtitle. Keeping it simple the keyword became ‘publishing a book’. Next, I chose ‘making an ebook’, ‘editing and formatting’, ‘creating a print-on-demand non-fiction or novel’ …and there I got stuck. On to the next step.
I used an incognito browser window to search Amazon for the top ebooks found by my first keyword. I used an incognito browser so that previous searches didn’t influence my results. I made a record of the book ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), the overall book rank and the genres and rank in those genres. I also noted the ebook price. This is probably easier to do for non-fiction books like this one but can still be done for fiction. Here’s the top four I found in August 2017.

Book ASIN/Price
Overall rank
Genre rank & genre

#1 in Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Fiction
#1 in Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Nonfiction
#1 in Business & Money > Skills > Business Writing

#8 in Computers & Technology > Graphic Design
#13 in Business & Money > Skills > Business Writing
#25 in Kindle Short Reads (22-32 pages) > Computers & Technology

#5 in Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Crafts & Hobbies > Reference
#9 in Business & Money > Skills > Business Writing
#15 in Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Publishing & Books > Authorship

#7 in Business & Money > Marketing & Sales > Advertising > Writing Skills
#8 in Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Nonfiction
#20 in Business & Money > Skills > Business Writing
Looking at the book descriptions of each I picked out the following additional keywords (key phrases):
self-publishing success
Write, edit, publish and promote
become a best-selling author
step-by-step approach to publication
promote your ebook
market my book
making book covers
effective book descriptions
selecting book keywords
choosing a genre
sell my book
create best-selling books on Amazon
I needed to select the best of these phrases so returned to an incognito browser window and went to I started typing in each of the phrases in turn. Typing slowly, you’ll find Amazon tries to predict your search based on what people have been searching for. By the time I got to ‘’Publis’ I had some keywords I could use:

I added ‘publishing for profit’ and ‘publishing 101’ to my list of keywords. Continuing to type, I got ‘publishing a book at amazon’ and ‘publishing a book for dummies’ before I eventually got to ‘publishing a book’.
Testing the other keywords in the same way I ended up with this list as the best choices:
·         publishing an ebook
·         editing a novel
·         self-publishing 101
·         become a best-selling author
·         promote your book
·         marketing books
·         book cover design
I also picked out a number of other useful keywords which I could use in the meta tags of an EPUB ebook.
I used the Scientific Seller and Google keyword tool also.

Other methods of selecting keywords

1. Steal them

A good way to learn about keywords is to find some examples of their use in successful ebooks. The problem is they are not listed on book pages at Amazon. One method is to get them using the calibre ebook management program. Unfortunately, this method only works for books which were submitted to Amazon as EPUB files.
1.       In calibre, create a blank e-book - that's the add book dropdown > empty book. Create. Don't add any details.
2.       Find your genre in Amazon and look for the bestsellers in it. If you can, pick out a book with a similar style to your own. Go to its product section and copy the entire line starting ASIN...
3.       In calibre go to your empty book and choose Edit metadata. In the section IDs paste in the ASIN line you copied at Amazon then click 'Download Metadata'.
You'll get the keywords (Tags) and description of a successful book which you can examine and adapt. I suggest you do this with several successful books to see what they have in common. You can delete these dummy e-books once you've examined them.
Pay attention to how the keywords appear in the description and in the preview of the book you can download at Amazon. You might notice some use more than the seven keywords allowed by Amazon. That’s because the author submitted an EPUB file to Amazon and they can have more than seven keywords.

2. Get them from Smashwords

If the book is available there, you can see the keywords used on the book’s page there. You can also download a sample EPUB file and import that into calibre. The keywords (tags) will be displayed when the book is selected.       

3. Use Answer The Public

Answer the Public ( gives you a diagram of questions and search terms that people use relevant to the word or phrase you use as a trigger. There’s a ‘Pro’ version that allows language and location to impact the results so you can, if you wish, make the search more relevant to your location. Initial results are provided as a diagram but you can download a csv file of the results. It works surprisingly quickly.

4. Use

Quora ( is a site where you can ask and answer questions. If you look at the top right though you’ll find a search box where you can enter a keyword. It will come up with a list of relevant questions people have asked. These questions can be used as keywords. You can display your expertise in this area by answering questions but beware of directing users away from the site to your books or blog. That is likely to get you in trouble with the moderators. You can put a link to your web pages on your profile there and can usually get away with a ‘Find more details/information at …’ link.

5. Use the keyword explorer at

You’ll need to create an account first. Then go to:
You’ll find a free tool there where you can enter a trigger keyword to find more keywords. This is a great place to find possible keywords you have missed. For example, for the book ‘Immortality Gene’ I discovered people were looking for ‘What is immortality?’ and ‘Immortality definition’. I added both keywords to my website pages for this book.

Where To Use Keywords

·         Enter the seven keywords you think people are most likely to type in the book details keyword section at Amazon.
·         Use the keywords in your book description.
·         Use keywords in the book’s subtitle if it has one.
·         Use keywords in the first chapters of the book.
·         Enter up to 20 keywords in the meta ‘tags’ section when you add your book to calibre. An epub file does not have the seven keywords limit of KDP and may be used as the source file at KDP.
·         Use the keywords in the book’s webpage.
·         Use the keywords in social media posts about the book

If this post has helped you  will you help me? Download a FREE copy of books 'Immortality Gene' from or/and Raging Storm
Even if you never read them (but I hope you will) - it will help our rankings.

Got any other keyword ideas? Want to comment?
Look - a FREE e-book

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Getting your book description right - Two examples

Let’s take a look at the keywords and descriptions of two best-selling ebooks

Here’s what a reader would see if they looked at Amazon’s page for ‘My Sister's Grave’ by Robert Dugoni which on 18th October 2016 was number 6 in Amazon’s best seller list.
Would that description inspire you to click the ‘Read more’ link? No? I wouldn’t either. Checking I found the full description was 778 characters, none of the nine keywords the book uses are in the description. Eight of them are Amazon categories but one ‘United States’ isn’t and seems rather pointless ('US' might have been a better choice).  I suspect this ebook appears in Amazon’s top listings because of the reputation of the author (Ranked #40 at Amazon at the time of writing) and because of the publisher paying to have it promoted. If I was the author, I would be upset at the publisher (Thomas & Mercer) for doing so little. You can see Amazon’s top 100 authors at:

My second example is ‘A Shade of Vampire’ by Bella Forrest. Here’s what you would see before that ‘Read more’ link:
Notice the use of bold text? You can use limited HTML to do this in a description. Notice also the writer has appealed to Twilight, The Mortal Instruments and Vampire diaries fans also. Be careful here that you don’t mention other author’s names or copyright items since this is likely to get your book a lower ranking. In this case, especially since the description stops mid-sentence, I would read on.
This time the description is 3,070 characters long and includes short review statements. Bella Forrest appears to be self-published. She uses 17 keywords/tags. Here’s how she uses them:
·         One appears in the title (vampire)
·         Romance and fantasy are keywords used in the description
·         Romance, vampire, werewolves, shifters, coming of age, romantic, angels, ghosts, psychics are compulsory keywords for specific Amazon categories
·         Werewolves & Shifters, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Paranormal & Urban, Teen & Young Adult, Demons & Devils, Witches & Wizards, Paranormal & Fantasy are Amazon categories
Seems to me Bella Forrest has done a pretty good job of her keywords and description.
No description is ever perfect though so it’s always worth revisiting and tweaking the next time you produce a new book edition. This is what Bella Forest's description looks like now:
It's certainly worth mentioning those extra 2 million sales and the 5-star reviews but that extra text has pushed out of visibility 'she cannot wake. A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale' It's still effective though but perhaps that blank line could have been made narrower using embedded styles in the HTML Unfortunately Amazon allows none of that 'clever stuff' in their author HTML Only the following tags are allowed:
<b> Formats enclosed text as bold. Use: <b>This text will be bold</b>
<br> Creates a line break. Use: <br>
This text is forced to the next line
<em> Emphasises the enclosed text; generally formatted as italic.Use: Normal text <em>emphasised text</em>
<font> Determines the appearance of the enclosed text. Use: It is possible to use <font face="Courier New, Courier, monospace">a different choice of font</font>
<h1> to <h6> Formats enclosed text as a section heading: <h1> (largest) through <h6> (smallest). Use:
<h1>This is heading 1</h1>

<i> Formats enclosed text as italic. Use: <i>italic text</i>
<li> Identifies an item in an ordered (numbered) or unordered (bulleted) list. Use: See <ol> and <ul>
<ol> Creates a numbered list from enclosed items, each of which is identified by a <li> tag. Use:
<li>This is first</li>
<li>This is second</li>
<li >This is third</li>
This produces:
  1. This is first
  2. This is second
  3. This is third
<p> Defines a paragraph of text with the first line indented; creates a line break at the end of the enclosed text. Use:
<p>This is some text which you want displayed in a paragraph. This paragraph is not very interesting but then… maybe I should tell you about the next book I'm writing. It's about time travel.</p>
<p>Nope - you don't want to hear about that. This is the next paragraph.</p>
This produces:

This is some text which you want displayed in a paragraph. This paragraph is not very interesting but then… maybe I should tell you about the next book I'm writing. It's about time travel.

Nope - you don't want to hear about that. This is the next paragraph.
<pre> Defines preformatted text. Use:
<pre>Here's an example of preformatted text. It's usually monospaced.</pre>
<s> Formats text as strikethrough. See also, <strike>.
<strike> Formats text as strikethrough. See also, <s>. Use: <strike>this text is struck out</strike
<strong> Formats enclosed text as bold. See also, <b>.
<sub> Formats enclosed text as subscript: reduces the font size and drops it below the baseline. Use H<sub>2</sub>O which produces H2O
<sup> Formats enclosed text as superscript: reduces the font size and places it above the baseline. Use: πr<sup>2</sup> which produces πr2
<u> Formats enclosed text as underlined. Use: <u>This text will be underlined</u>
<ul> Creates a bulleted list from enclosed items, each of which is identified by a <li> tag.
. Use:
<li>This is first</li>
<li>This is second</li>
<li >This is third</li>
This produces:
  • This is first
  • This is second
  • This is third
NOT Allowed HTML/CSS <div> <span> and any CSS

Extra keywords

Did you notice that I said both examples of book descriptions used more than the seven keywords Amazon allows you to use? That is possible if you produce an epub book with meta tags and use that as the source document at Amazon. They will still expect you to submit up to seven keywords but also appear to use the extra ones you put in epub meta tags.

Description content

Now - what about the content of your book description? The first five lines of it are by far the most important. In those five lines of text you must capture enough of the readers interest to make them want to click that 'Read more.' Work at those five lines. Use power words - words that have great emotional impact. Above all leave the reader on a cliffhanger where they have to find out what comes next. Try putting the sentences through a headline check - there's a good one at Try and get a score of 60+ for each sentence.


Book descriptions are searched by Amazon for keywords other than the seven they ask for. Try including more keywords in your description to capture those people who search for books like yours but not with your chosen keywords.  There's an art to choosing keywords and if you have only seven, chosen in ten minutes when you came across that section of KDP, then you haven't understood that art yet, But that's the subject of a 'Getting your keywords right' blog.