Are you using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to the Max? Are you using it to sell your book? Are you using it to grab readers names for your list, or send them to your website?
Smart book marketers use the “look inside” feature to:
- encourage readers to hit the BUY button
- show potential buyers what to expect
- get readers to join your email list
- get traffic to your website
Many potential buyers use the “look inside” feature on a book as an important part of their buying decision.
When I walk into a bookstore, I browse the aisles either looking for a specific book that I have heard about and have on my list, or I just meander around looking for something in my favorite “topic” aisles.
When in my “just browsing” mode I’ll crank my head to the side and look at titles. When something captures my attention I’ll take the book out and look at the front cover, then I’ll turn it over and look at the back cover to see if there is a description.
If I am still interested I’ll open the book, look at the table of contents (if it is non-fiction) and flip through. Maybe I’ll stop and read a page or even two. Then I’ll put the book back (a definite NO) or I’ll put it in my possibles basket.
On Amazon, the process is basically the same … I’m attracted by the title or book cover. I read the description and then I’ll read a few reviews including both the 5-star and the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews.
Finally, if I’m still interested, I’ll “look inside.” This is where I make my final decision. It doesn’t matter if there are 300 5-star reviews. If I don’t like what I see, I’ll pass. It doesn’t matter if there are 3 horrible reviews, if I like what I see I’ll buy the book.
The part of your book that shows up in the “look inside” section can make a HUGE difference to your book sales and surprisingly to YOUR success as an author or entrepreneur.
There are authors who don’t actually care if they sell any books. Their goal is to get visitors to “look inside” and click on their website link, or download the “freebie” they are offering. The really smart authors will also have this information on their Author Central page(s).
The look inside section of a book can be an amazing sales platform for your book, for your list, and for your website.
Sadly, most self-publishers simply miss out on this amazing “sales” platform. They simply upload their book “as is” and accept whatever shows up inside the “look inside” section.
I’m hoping that after reading this article YOU will strategize and use your “look inside” space to generate more book sales!
Here’s HOW To Maximize This Extremely Valuable Space
NOTE: Some of what I will be talking about depends on whether your are writing fiction OR non-fiction.
I’m going to show you some examples by using the Look Inside Widget. Please DO look inside the examples and analyze what the authors have done — it will greatly influence what YOU end up doing.
The Look Inside feature allows potential buyers to kick a tire and see if they want to buy.
1. The first things people are going to notice, or NOT notice is grammar and formatting.
IF the grammar and punctuation is good … readers won’t even notice it. If there are grammar and punctuation errors, some readers will go ballistic and … you will lose sales. Fix your grammar.
If the formatting of your book is good, proper paragraphs (fiction especially), and the nice use of white space (non-fiction) people won’t even notice it. NOT noticing is is a GOOD thing.
If your paragraphs are longer than a mile, dense and hard to read (fiction) you will lose potential buyers. I have said NO to numerous books simply because even the short look inside was too much “work” to read. Fix your formatting.
2. The TABLE OF CONTENTS
The use of a Table of Contents (or not) is one of MY pet peeves.
In my opinion, a Table of Contents does NOT belong in fiction books ESPECIALLY if you are an author who titles your chapters … Chapter One, Chapter Two and so on.
I’m not saying it is wrong to do this inside your book .. there are many best selling authors who use Chapter One to One Hundred in their books.
What I AM saying is you should NOT have a Table of Contents that lists Chapter 1 to Chapter 100. It adds nothing to the information about your book and it uses up valuable space.
One fiction book I opened … had a list of 150 .. yes, one hundred and fifty chapters. This along with her way too long dedication and front matter took up the entire “look inside” section. There was no room for even the opening page of her novel. If you guessed that I said NO to the book, you guessed right.
Fiction Books = NO Table of Contents.
Having a GREAT Table of Contents in your non-fiction book will help SELL your book. I’ve purchased books immediately after looking at the TOC because I could clearly see it had the information I was looking for.
Don’t use cute or stupid “mysterious” link bate chapter headings. Craft your chapter headings to give a thumbnail of the information the chapter covers OR (even better) the benefits the reader will get from reading the chapter.
Here is an excellent example of the right way to use the “look inside” section of a non-fiction book. It pretty well has everything.
- Editorial reviews
- Table of Contents
- Introduction (sample of the author’s writing style)
- Fabulous formatting (lots of white space and room to breathe)
- A website link
This book has been a steady best seller for YEARS.
Here’s an example of how images can help sell the book.
What you DO see is some enticing images, a detailed Table of Contents and a few pages of text that give you an impression of the author’s writing style.
One thing that would have made this “look inside” preview even better would being able to see ONE recipe. But I was already 90% of the way to buying, so I just clicked on the buy button!
Here is an example of a fiction book from one of the TOP selling Kindle authors, J.S. Scott.
This is book ONE in a series of fifteen Billionaire romances. J.S. Scott writes contemporary steamy romance stories and if you are wondering if they are steamy enough for you, you will know whether or not you will hit the BUY button by the time you’ve read a few pages.
As you can see, there is very little front matter. NO long and boring dedications and no listing of 300 people who helped bring the book to life. No huge copyright notices. All of this “stuff” takes up room and uses up your “look inside” space allotment.
In case you are wondering … there are four short books within this book … as you can see in the short Table of Contents.
Note … the enticing link to Scott’s email list and pay attention to the formatting. The paragraphs and dialogue are easy to read and there is some white space as well.
I’ve given you three good examples … but don’t stop here. Spend an hour or so every day for the next week checking out some of your favorite books and authors to see what they did. Did they use their space wisely? What could they have done differently?
Here are two of MY favorite authors, both of them are published by main stream publishers.
One of them takes advantage of the “look inside” space, the other one doesn’t. Does the fact that THEY are best sellers mean that YOU can afford to ignore the “look inside” space?
Year One: Chronicles of The One, Book 1 Nora Roberts
Blue Moon: A Jack Reacher Novel Lee Child