The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Book on Amazon: How to Use This “Rarely Used” Strategy to Blow Past Your Competition
The cornerstone of any sales transaction is to get people deeply interested in your product BEFORE they open their wallets.
Otherwise, you’re just competing on price.
Unless you are world famous like Tony Robbins, Stephen Covey and Tim Ferriss, you would have a tough time beating your competition without having a strong book description.
Before you turn away and say, “Yeah, yeah, whatever,” let me point out a few things for you…
Amazon, as you know, is a behemoth in the e-commerce world. They have literally dominated the world with their products and services.
One of the main features that Amazon has put into place is giving authors like you the ability to write a rather lengthy book description.
Because they know that’s the best way to generate huge sales.
Other websites just use a book blurb—which really doesn’t sell anything.
Amazon, in its infinite wisdom, has allowed for up to 600 words for a book description.
Yet, very few authors write more than 250 words.
They are stuck in the pre-internet era.
Less than 250 words is just a book blurb.
You can’t craft a proper sales argument with so few words.
There is a lot of competition on Amazon, so you need every word to convince your audience that you have the one and only solution to their problem.
Now that I have convinced you that writing a book description is essential to your sales, you now will need to actually get people to read your book description.
And the best way to do that is with a very powerful headline—a headline that hooks people in.
One of the best ways to get people to read your headline is to arouse their curiosity level.
Here’s an example…
“The secret to making people like you comes down to this one facial expression—it’s not what you think!”
At first, this headline seems pretty obvious.
Every knows that a smile is the secret to getting people to like you. But this headline then tells you, “it’s not what you think!”
Do you see the hook?
This hook gets people very curious about what this other not-so-obvious facial expression could be.
Do you see how that can draw people into your book description?
This is why it’s so important to have a very powerful headline.
Here’s another headline that raises the curiosity level:
“How I got over 10,000 Facebook followers in 3 days by using this often overlooked strategy that I learned from reading newspaper ads.”
This raises the curiosity level because people want to know what the connection is with Facebook and newspaper ads.
Now, the important thing to remember is that you need to make these connections plausible. Both Facebook and newspapers are popular forms of media, so there is a plausible connection.
If you said, “How I got over 10,000 Facebook followers in 3 days by using this often overlooked strategy that I learned from eating my friend’s taco salad,” you would lose your audience.
It’s not plausible.
There’s a big disconnect, and it sounds gimmicky. People won’t find this intriguing at all.
(BTW: If you make your headline too gimmicky like click-bait, they might read your book description, but they won’t buy your book!)
Now, you could make it more plausible by saying…
“How I got over 10,000 Facebook followers in 3 days by using this often overlooked strategy that I learned from reading my father’s marketing books.”
This sounds completely plausible…
…but it also sounds like a lot of work!
It’s important to make it seems plausible but also easy!
Do you see how that works?
Reading newspaper ads is easy. And it makes sense that there may be some kind of secret in those newspaper ads that would allow someone to get 10,000 Facebook followers in 3 days.
Let’s look at another example:
“To the single woman who hasn’t had a decent date in two months.”
This one seems like the beginning of a very personal letter to a friend.
This works very well because you are addressing your audience (single women), and you are touching upon a very serious pain point (not finding a decent date).
As you can see here, you don’t have be “clever” to come up with a good headline that arouses curiosity.
This headline seems pretty straightforward.
Since it is addressing women by saying, “To the single woman…,” the reader will naturally assume there is more follow.
It’s like saying, “Dear Abbey, I have this problem with…”
Once your target market reads a headline like this, they will have no choice but to read your book description.
And remember, your book description is your sales page!
And let me emphasize here that you are NOT trying to sell your book in your headline. You are merely trying to get people to invest a little more time in your book description. That’s it!
The more people that read your book description, the more people will be likely to buy your book.
Don’t think of your book description as a barrier to your audience buying your book. Think of it as the pathway to buying your book.
A lot authors default to asking a question in their headline, but they usually ask “yes” or “no” questions that really don’t draw people in.
These questions usually go like this: “Are you looking for the perfect diet?”
Most people will probably say “yes” or “no.”
And then move on.
It’s a lot like someone on the street asking survey questions. People answer the question and then move on. They’re not expecting a prize at the end.
When you ask questions like these, you haven’t revealed that you have the answer. You merely asked a simple “yes” or “no” question.
Here’s a better way of asking a question…
“If you were given the perfect diet plan—isn’t this the kind of diet you would want?”
This works much better because there is a hint that there is a solution if the reader will just simply read the text that follows the headline.
In this example, the “perfect diet” plan is revealed in the body copy.
Let’s look at another example of a headline that will arouse curiosity in your readers…
“They said I couldn’t get my puppy to fetch my slippers, but I proved them wrong…”
This is for a dog-training book titled: Puppy Training: How to Train Your Puppy
Most people have puppies that chew on shoes and slippers, but this headline is claiming that the puppy will fetch the slippers instead of chewing on them!
How’s that for change of pace and raising the curiosity level? It’s a contradictory statement but said in a very subtle way.
It doesn’t make a bold claim like, “Have your puppy fetching your slippers in 7 days!”
This would seem a little unbelievable to most people.
The author is recognizing that there was some doubt among people when he claims, “They said I couldn’t…”
This works on multiple levels. Most people browsing books on Amazon have their guard up and shy away from any bold claims. But this author is revealing that there was doubt—the same kind of doubt a book buyer would have—among his “peeps.”
And no pun intended here, but people generally like to cheer for the underdog.
After showing some transparency by revealing some doubt, he counters that with a proof element by saying, “but I proved them wrong…”
He proved them wrong!
Now people want to do know how he proved them wrong and got his puppy to fetch his slippers.
The reader MUST read the book description to find out how the got his puppy to fetch his slippers.
(I want to make an important point here…
Most authors would be worried about revealing how the author got his puppy to fetch his slippers because they believe that if the “secret” were revealed in the book description, then no one would read the book. Not so.
That’s where you need to raise the level of curiosity by saying, “I used the ‘Command and Sit’ formula for two days, and then I used the ‘Sniff and Fetch’ formula for three more days.”
Here you’re revealing what you said in the headline but raising even more curiosity about what’s in the book).
Another thing that this headline has going for it is that the claim is very specific.
This is important because people will say to themselves, “If the only thing I can get my puppy to do is fetch my slippers, I’ll be happy. And this book will be worth it.” If you were to be general, people wouldn’t have a connection.
This headline also provides a nice visual. People can imagine their puppy getting their slippers. But they would have trouble imaging what “training” actually entails.
Here was the original headline for the book…
Do You Want to Know How to Train the Smartest Puppy Ever?
Unfortunately, this is what most people resort to when creating a headline. They think this arouses curiosity.
It just makes people nod or shake their head and then move on.
There are several problems with this headline.
1) It overpromises. The smartest? And ever? It’s not just the smartest dog in the neighborhood.It’s the smartest
puppy of all time! This overpromise becomes unbelievable. And most people will just move on.
2) It asks a “Yes” or “No” question. It leaves nothing to ponder.Most people will answer “yes” or “no,” but there is nothing intriguing
that will get people
to read the rest of the book description.They’ll just move on.
3) Finally, the focus is on the “training” part. Nobody wants to learn how to train anything.
They want a result!
They want the puppy that fetches slippers! Focus on the result (benefit), not the process.
So in this case, it would be better to just say, “Do You Want to Have the Smartest Puppy Ever?”
At least question will arouse some curiosity because it focuses on the result having the smartest puppy ever versus training the smartest puppy.
Do you see the difference?
This leaves the door open for other possibilities in how you can have the smartest puppy ever.
It could be a book about brain implants, homing devices, puppy pep pills, special diets or anything else that would make a puppy smart. The only way to find out is to read the book description.
These are just a few examples of how to write a really good curiosity invoking headline that you can use for your book description.
If you want to learn more about how to write intriguing “curiosity” headlines, I suggest you download these 27 Templates that I put together.
These templates are based on proven headlines that have worked for direct response copywriters for decades—selling billions of dollars of merchandise.
Ash Waechter is a sales copy writer who specializes in helping authors and speakers sell more books and products.