A Little Kindle Secret That Has Boosted My Book Sales

by aprilm
113 replies
I wanted to share this little trick I learned with you that really helped boost my book sales.

When I first started publishing on Kindle, I wracked my brains out trying to figure out how people were optimizing their book descriptions with formatting like centering, using Amazon's orange color and style font, inserting pictures, etc.

Most descriptions on Amazon look like thisthis . (No affiliation)
Looks like a bunch of text slapped on a page. :p
I wanted my book descriptions to look like thisthis . (Also no affiliation)
Click on the "show more" link on the above description to see how the author has used images.

I searched Google, the Kindle publisher community, and Amazon’s help center to no avail. The best answers I got were to use the very limited HTML you can use when editing your book’s description through Author Central.

I was SO frustrated!

The truth is, Amazon doesn’t make it easy to figure this out! But, it CAN be done. And I want to share this inside information with you!

If you don’t know anything about HTML, that’s ok! All you need to know is how to copy and paste, and insert your own text where necessary.

Below you will find the code that you can insert into your book’s description to achieve this:

Code:
Amazon HTML Coding Guide

BOLD:

<b>YOUR TEXT</b>

ITALICS:

<i>YOUR TEXT</i>

CENTERED:

<center>YOUR TEXT</center>

CENTERED AND BOLD:

<center><b>TEXT</center></b>

CENTERED AND ITALIC:

<center><i>TEXT</center>&lt:/i>

UNDERLINED:

<u>YOUR TEXT</u>

BULLETED LIST:

<ul>

<li>TEXT</li>

<li>TEXT</li>

<li>TEXT</li>

</ul>

NUMBERED LIST:

<ol>

<li>TEXT</li>

<li>TEXT</li>

<li>TEXT</li>

</ol>

H1 Headline (The largest font Amazon allows):

<h1>TEXT</h1>

H2 HEADING (Amazon Orange):

<h2>TEXT</h2>

HEADLINE AND CENTERED:

<center><h2>TEXT</h2></center>

PICTURES ALIGNED LEFT WITH WORDS WRAPPED RIGHT:

<img src="URL OF PIC" align="left"/>
I know I know, if you know anything about HTML, this code looks completely crazy. But it works!

You simply replace the "<" and ">" tags of normal HTML with "&lt;" and "&gt:" respectively. (FYI: "lt" means less than and "gt" means greater than)

I must warn you, however, try to test this out on a book that is not getting many sales first, because even the smallest mistake with this code will leave your description looking messy.

Or if you have a book with a rather lengthy description, stick some of the code at the very bottom to test it out. Not everyone will read your description in full, so if you do happen to make a mistake with the code, not every browser will notice it.

You'd be surprised at how much this affects conversions in a positive way.
#book #boosted #kindle #sales #secret
  • Profile picture of the author DoubleOhDave
    That is absolutely awesome!!! Thank you so much for that :-)

    btw - do you know the html to make the text go gold like the amazon text?

    sorry I just saw the Amazon orange code..

    seriously that is one of the best shares I have found lately! Thanks a million!!!!!


    Quick edit - I tried the Amazon gold colour and when I preview it just puts <h2> and </h2> around the text... is there something I have done wrong? I used the &lt;h2&gt;TEXT&lt;/h2&gt;
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    Wow, I didn't know we can use images in Amazon. This is a golden share...!!
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    • Profile picture of the author fatafat
      Thanks so much for this post!
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  • Profile picture of the author mdc2727
    Thanks for that..My kindle sales have dwindled somewhat and hopefully this will bring them back up..
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      April, you might want to credit the source for that. There's a section in this Kindle book with the copy/paste codes, and the author of the second book you linked is, I believe, a client of the author.

      Make A Killing On Kindle (Without...Make A Killing On Kindle (Without...
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      • Profile picture of the author aprilm
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        April, you might want to credit the source for that. There's a section in this Kindle book with the copy/paste codes, and the author of the second book you linked is, I believe, a client of the author.

        Make A Killing On Kindle (Without Blogging,Facebook Or Twitter). The Guerilla Marketer's Guide To Selling Ebooks On Amazon: Michael Alvear: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
        Hi John, thanks for the reference. I personally tried out the code for myself after reading thisthis book.

        There are actually a couple different books on Amazon that reference this code.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by aprilm View Post

          Hi John, thanks for the reference. I personally tried out the code for myself after reading this book.

          There are actually a couple different books on Amazon that reference this code.
          Fair enough. If you look at the publication dates, Alvear's is in April of this year, Allen's is in August.

          I only mentioned it because what you posted (not just the code) was so close to what's in Alvear's book and the example you used is also used in the book. I thought that might be your source. Now that you've said you've tried it for yourself, I have no issue with it being posted here...
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      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        April, you might want to credit the source for that. There's a section in this Kindle book with the copy/paste codes, and the author of the second book you linked is, I believe, a client of the author.

        Make A Killing On Kindle (Without Blogging,Facebook Or Twitter). The Guerilla Marketer's Guide To Selling Ebooks On Amazon: Michael Alvear: Amazon.com: Kindle Store

        John:

        Technically there may have been other sources as well.

        I read this information about 4 months ago at none of the aforementioned locations. I actually read about it on a website or in a forum. I cannot remember now...

        I started using the technique as soon as I saw it.
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        Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by tpw View Post

          John:

          Technically there may have been other sources as well.

          I read this information about 4 months ago at none of the aforementioned locations.

          I started using the technique as soon as I saw it.
          Yes, and April pointed out the one she found it in. I'm sure there are more. As I mentioned, the only reason I posted what I did is that her example was the same one mentioned in the book I linked, and the wording very close to what was in the book.

          And since April said she actually put the information into practice, I figure the information is now hers to spread as well...
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  • Profile picture of the author contentwriting360
    Banned
    Wow, this is a nice share. I have bookmarked this and copied those codes. I am sure I'll be using those very soon. I'm trying to learn the basics of selling Amazon products.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Nice insight. I'm pretty good with HTML, so i understood everything that you've discussed above. Thanks.
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  • This is a great notice, because I'm getting ready to launch a couple of books but I wasn't aware of this problem, well hidden until you found it

    Thanks so much for your training!
    See you soon,
    Alessandro
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  • Profile picture of the author KenJ
    Very helpful April. Thank you. I have 2000 words description on one of my titles. It needs tidying up and that will help me do so.

    KenJ
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  • Profile picture of the author IM Alex
    Huh... That's some whacky code for sure! First thing to hit my heaf was to write the code with the normal tags in Word and once you're done replacing them with the proper text "tags" to make it a little bit easier to write the code. I myself haven't done anything with book publishing as of yet, but have been playing with some ideas, this sure will come in handy when I get around to get started with it, thanks for sharing
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by IM Alex View Post

      Huh... That's some whacky code for sure! First thing to hit my heaf was to write the code with the normal tags in Word and once you're done replacing them with the proper text "tags" to make it a little bit easier to write the code. I myself haven't done anything with book publishing as of yet, but have been playing with some ideas, this sure will come in handy when I get around to get started with it, thanks for sharing
      If you are doing more than a line or two, and you have at least a passing familiarity with basic HTML, Find & Replace is your friend...
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      • Profile picture of the author IM Alex
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        If you are doing more than a line or two, and you have at least a passing familiarity with basic HTML, Find & Replace is your friend...
        Very true John, that's what I was trying to formulate as well I don't write much code these days unless I'm tweaking some Wordpress theme, WP has made me lazy, but back in the day I'd use to write it all in Dreamweaver, can't remeber if it has a Find/Replace function...
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      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by IM Alex View Post

        Huh... That's some whacky code for sure! First thing to hit my heaf was to write the code with the normal tags in Word and once you're done replacing them with the proper text "tags" to make it a little bit easier to write the code. I myself haven't done anything with book publishing as of yet, but have been playing with some ideas, this sure will come in handy when I get around to get started with it, thanks for sharing
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        If you are doing more than a line or two, and you have at least a passing familiarity with basic HTML, Find & Replace is your friend...

        An easier method is to use any of the tools available online that are referred to as, "HTML to ASCII Converters"...

        One such tool can be found here:
        Online HTML to ASCII convertor » Web Tools » DynamicGuru.com » DynamicGuru.com

        Just insert the HTML code that looks like this:

        Code:
        <center><B>Book Title</B></center>
        
        <center><I>Written by: Author Name</I></center>
        To test it out, copy the above code to the converter...
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        Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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        • Profile picture of the author aprilm
          Originally Posted by tpw View Post

          An easier method is to use any of the tools available online that are referred to as, "HTML to ASCII Converters"...

          One such tool can be found here:
          Online HTML to ASCII convertor » Web Tools » DynamicGuru.com » DynamicGuru.com

          Just insert the HTML code that looks like this:

          Code:
          <center><B>Book Title</B></center>
          
          <center><I>Written by: Author Name</I></center>
          To test it out, copy the above code to the converter...
          Wow thanks Bill! I am going to try this out!
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        • Profile picture of the author epublishingtips
          Here's a list of all supported HTML tags that can be used on your book description/pages.
          https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishi...A1JPUWCSD6F59O
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          • Profile picture of the author MarkR
            To those of you subscribed to this (brilliant) post, or find it in the future, I have some valuable information.

            My story:
            1. I edited my description in plain text in Author Central (AC), then I read this post.
            2. I re-edited my description in KDP with the ASCII text. Worked well, but needed a tweak.
            3. Then I (accidentally) edited it in AC and the description got fouled up (as reported above).
            4. I tried re-editing it in KDP and the edits never took and the AC edited text was the only thing that ever showed (even though I got the emails that said it worked!). I could edit it in AC, but never KDP.
            5. I emailed KDP support and got this response pasted below (totally news to me!)
            6. Now I have to figure out the implications of removing my own book from my AC account. Ugh!!!
            Hopefully this might help some of you that run into this.

            When you update the product description of your book on your KDP account and then on your Author Central account, the description that you have saved in your Author Central account will take precedence over the description you have saved in your KDP account.

            So, in order to have your KDP account's description show in your book's product page instead of that of your Author Central account, you will have to completely remove it from that last account. By doing that, you will then be able to enter the description using ASCII code like you intended on doing in the first place.
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            • Profile picture of the author aprilm
              Originally Posted by MarkR View Post

              To those of you subscribed to this (brilliant) post, or find it in the future, I have some valuable information.

              My story:
              1. I edited my description in plain text in Author Central (AC), then I read this post.
              2. I re-edited my description in KDP with the ASCII text. Worked well, but needed a tweak.
              3. Then I (accidentally) edited it in AC and the description got fouled up (as reported above).
              4. I tried re-editing it in KDP and the edits never took and the AC edited text was the only thing that ever showed (even though I got the emails that said it worked!). I could edit it in AC, but never KDP.
              5. I emailed KDP support and got this response pasted below (totally news to me!)
              6. Now I have to figure out the implications of removing my own book from my AC account. Ugh!!!
              Hopefully this might help some of you that run into this.
              Thanks Mark! This is good to know. I hope you are able to finally get that description in there the way you want it, I know you have been working on it for awhile now.
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        • Profile picture of the author robbhw
          Originally Posted by tpw View Post

          An easier method is to use any of the tools available online that are referred to as, "HTML to ASCII Converters"...

          One such tool can be found here:
          Online HTML to ASCII convertor » Web Tools » DynamicGuru.com » DynamicGuru.com

          Just insert the HTML code that looks like this:

          Code:
          <center><B>Book Title</B></center>
          
          <center><I>Written by: Author Name</I></center>
          To test it out, copy the above code to the converter...

          So this is ASCII! Thank you for this coverter
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  • Profile picture of the author sadneck
    WOW! Thank you so much, how did you find out such a thing? I have a few books I published that I am going to go try this on right now.

    Cheers for that one, I sent you a thanks!
    Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author iSoftware
    This is a great tip. If you are smart you should also consider adding images that have a strong call to action inside the images.

    People are surprised by how often people DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU ASK THEM TO. Example put in bold,
    "Click on the Orange buy now button and grab your copy now!"
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Thank you! Like the other posters say, you are awesome. These tips are pure GOLD we tell you. Great having you post em. All the best to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author xparte
    Thanks. I actually figured out how to use bullets, bold fonts, etc, the hard way by clicking on the code page in Amazon description windows, but using images has never even occurred to me. It should be interesting to try.
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  • Profile picture of the author MaggieDavid
    Awesome thanks so much! A true Warrior, that knows that information shared is POWER!
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  • Profile picture of the author xparte
    There seems to be a bug going on with Kindle Author Central page that doesn't let you add/edit the description. Wondering if you guys have been able to apply the code on the KDP Edit Your Book Details Page. I personally hate using KDP page because it takes forever to update.
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    • Profile picture of the author aprilm
      Originally Posted by xparte View Post

      There seems to be a bug going on with Kindle Author Central page that doesn't let you add/edit the description. Wondering if you guys have been able to apply the code on the KDP Edit Your Book Details Page. I personally hate using KDP page because it takes forever to update.
      In my experience, I have always only added this code to the book edit page through KDP. I tried toying around with it in the Author Central area about a month ago, and I wasn't able to get it right.

      If I remember correctly, my code was stripped when I edited through Author Central.

      However, If I click on the HTML tab within Author Central after I add the code through KDP, I can see all my code the way I placed it in KDP. I just have not yet had luck adding it through Author Central.

      So, in a nutshell, using the KDP edit area has always worked best for me.

      I know it may take longer to update this way, but in my experience, it has never taken the full amount of time Amazon says it will. It's always been like 25 minutes at most.

      Again, this is just my experience.

      Thanks. I actually figured out how to use bullets, bold fonts, etc, the hard way by clicking on the code page in Amazon description windows, but using images has never even occurred to me. It should be interesting to try.
      You can do some of this formatting through the WYSIWYG editor in Author Central, but you're limited to just using bold, italics, numbered lists and bulleted lists. There's no way to add images, colors, or centered text.

      And if I remember correctly, if you try to add just regular HTML (in the HTML area) to try to achieve these extras, Amazon strips them.
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      • Profile picture of the author xparte
        Originally Posted by aprilm View Post

        In my experience, I have always only added this code to the book edit page through KDP. I tried toying around with it in the Author Central area about a month ago, and I wasn't able to get it right.

        If I remember correctly, my code was stripped when I edited through Author Central.

        However, If I click on the HTML tab within Author Central after I add the code through KDP, I can see all my code the way I placed it in KDP. I just have not yet had luck adding it through Author Central.

        So, in a nutshell, using the KDP edit area has always worked best for me.

        I know it may take longer to update this way, but in my experience, it has never taken the full amount of time Amazon says it will. It's always been like 25 minutes at most.

        Again, this is just my experience.



        You can do some of this formatting through the WYSIWYG editor in Author Central, but you're limited to just using bold, italics, numbered lists and bulleted lists. There's no way to add images, colors, or centered text.

        And if I remember correctly, if you try to add just regular HTML (in the HTML area) to try to achieve these extras, Amazon strips them.
        Thanks for letting me know it can be done via KDP. I'm certainly going to try.
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  • Profile picture of the author HimanshuS
    Thanks for the great share. This is going to come handy for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author maggie2
    Wow, that's really generous of you! Thanks so much for the information.
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  • Profile picture of the author mark healy
    great, thanks for sharing, nice one
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  • Profile picture of the author RoseJBell84
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    • Profile picture of the author PopCult
      Ahhh this is great! I was getting frustrated when a number of sources were harping on the importance of a dynamic description but with no explanation of how to do it.

      Does anyone know the original source of this? I feel like Amazon has to have published it somewhere.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by PopCult View Post

        Ahhh this is great! I was getting frustrated when a number of sources were harping on the importance of a dynamic description but with no explanation of how to do it.

        Does anyone know the original source of this? I feel like Amazon has to have published it somewhere.
        As far as I can tell, if Amazon ever published it, it's gone now. It may be one of those things whose origins stay shrouded in mystery. April and I both linked to Kindle books containing the code, so take your pick.
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  • Profile picture of the author gpwilson
    Dear Aprilm
    Thanks for sharing this hidden but wonderful secret with all of us.
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  • Profile picture of the author Royce Space
    Wow. This goldmine april. Thanks for the share!
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  • Profile picture of the author xparte
    Quick question: when you update ONLY the description do you have to re-upload the book again?
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    • Profile picture of the author aprilm
      Originally Posted by xparte View Post

      Quick question: when you update ONLY the description do you have to re-upload the book again?
      No you don't.
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      • Profile picture of the author xparte
        Originally Posted by aprilm View Post

        No you don't.
        Then it's not working for me. The description simply won't update. Been two days like that. In the past when I tried to update the descriptions from KDP it took forever as well, but never this long. Has nothing to do with your tip of course. I already shot them an e-mail. Thanks again.
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        • Profile picture of the author aprilm
          Originally Posted by xparte View Post

          Then it's not working for me. The description simply won't update. Been two days like that. In the past when I tried to update the descriptions from KDP it took forever as well, but never this long. Has nothing to do with your tip of course. I already shot them an e-mail. Thanks again.
          Have you tried contacting Amazon? Or have you tried to get into your Author Central account to view or edit your description there?
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          • Profile picture of the author xparte
            Originally Posted by aprilm View Post

            Have you tried contacting Amazon? Or have you tried to get into your Author Central account to view or edit your description there?
            Author Central has not been working for a while now. There is a bug going on from what I understand. I did contact them and I'm waiting for their response. What's weird, I went ahead and updated the book file as well. So, the new book file posted this morning, but the description hasn't changed. Weird.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianGroan
    Great nugget of kindle info, Thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author colinph970
    For those asking....the Amazon gold colour for text is simply done by using h2 text. This converts automatically into the right gold colour.
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  • Profile picture of the author snippnet
    Great! I am new to the forum and i just love that people on here are so willing to share all of this great/random advice. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author duglus009
    images in Amazon nice find for me thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Antonio J.
    Great share, this will really make things a lot quicker.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mousumi
    Awesome!
    Makes sense to me..thanks for sharing April :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author robbhw
    Thank you for sharing this, this is very helpful information.

    A better description will really help my books standout!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr Bill
    Wow, thanks April, this is a golden share.
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  • Profile picture of the author simoncat
    hi i am new here, first post, I just wanted to check the steps for doing this please break it down for a dummy, thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author simoncat
    seriously now i have a screwed up page, could you please just lay out a step by step on this thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author simoncat
    issues here, serious issues, im not sure if i left anything out or what but my page is really screwed up, can someone please post up a basic walk through on exactly how to do this, thanks so much.
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    • Profile picture of the author aprilm
      1. Erase what you have in your description box in your KDP account. ( make sure you have a copy of your description somewhere on your computer)

      2. Open up an HTML program like Komposer or even a Wordpress post editor.

      3. Write your description in, then click on the HTML tab, copy your HTML

      4. Paste it in here: Online HTML to ASCII convertor » Web Tools » DynamicGuru.com | Dynamic Guru

      5. Copy and paste your converted ascii text into your Book's description edit field

      6. Manually create spaces by using "return" on your keyboard ( I haven't found that HTML will create spaces for you, though I could be wrong)

      7. Hit save, wait till the book is published, and you should be good to go

      Hoe that helps. Let us know how it turns out.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Hooper
    Has anybody used this in the last month or so? Doesn't seem to be working via Author Central anymore.
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  • Profile picture of the author TycoonRob
    Honestly, using the "code" is the hard way of doing it! Just complicates things and you can get the same effect much easier, although you won't be able to do it immediately when you first publish the book.

    What you do is wait until the book gets published, then claim your book in Author Central. Then you can edit your description and it has a set of tools just like the code - bold, italics, lists, etc. to make it look great.

    If you look at any NY Times Best Seller books, they don't use much more than bold, italics, or lists anyway - why complicate matters? If a true best seller does it simply, I think I can to.
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    • Profile picture of the author sweetbribes
      Folks, don't make it more complicated than it has to be for yourselves.

      Granted, Amazon's Kindle platform leaves a lot to be desired from the seller's perspective, or rather they make it more complicated than it has to be from a user-friendly aspect. They are more concerned with making sure the *readers* of Kindle books get consistently positive experiences. I can understand that.

      But I also realize that in the long run, the Kindle platform will continue to evolve and meet more and more of sellers' feature requests. Hang in there, fellow Kindle book sellers! In the meantime, we can continue to help one another with threads like this and the post quoted below. Thank you, BoomBlogger!

      Sadie

      Originally Posted by BoomBlogger View Post

      Honestly, using the "code" is the hard way of doing it! Just complicates things and you can get the same effect much easier, although you won't be able to do it immediately when you first publish the book.

      What you do is wait until the book gets published, then claim your book in Author Central. Then you can edit your description and it has a set of tools just like the code - bold, italics, lists, etc. to make it look great.

      If you look at any NY Times Best Seller books, they don't use much more than bold, italics, or lists anyway - why complicate matters? If a true best seller does it simply, I think I can to.
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  • Profile picture of the author WalkaboutSean
    Has anyone had luck embedding images in the book description? Every time I try, Amazon strips out the "http://" from the image URL, causing the embed link to fail.
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    • Profile picture of the author amakar
      Originally Posted by WalkaboutSean View Post

      Has anyone had luck embedding images in the book description? Every time I try, Amazon strips out the "http://" from the image URL, causing the embed link to fail.
      I've been able to embed images successfully in the description. My advice though is to not go too crazy with changing the description. I stick with the basic H2 tags, bold, italics and one image to help track page views.

      Andy
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      • Profile picture of the author Skywriter
        Just wanted to add that I had no problem adding images to my description either. I used Andy Makar's Better Book Tools editor, which I see he has referenced in the post above mine. This is a dedicated editor for Amazon descriptions which I am very happy to endorse.

        In case anyone is interested, here is a link to my book description with pictures and formatting: Amazon.com: The Festival on Lyris Five eBook:...Amazon.com: The Festival on Lyris Five eBook:... If I've broken any forum rules by posting this, let me know and I'll remove it!

        Nick
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  • Profile picture of the author KevinDasilva
    wow that is awesome! thanks a lot april! you rock!
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    • Profile picture of the author PhilTheForce
      This has been a big help, thanks.
      Just to clarify the process that worked for me. (Since there is some confusion bouncing around, especially on the Kindle Boards)
      • The Ascii tags mentioned in the OP can be used in Author Central.
      • You don't need to edit the book in full KDP mode (which takes ages to go through) At least I didn't.
      1. Login to Author Central and find the book you want to pretty up
      2. Click the 'Edit' next to 'Product Description'
      3. Above the little editing window you will see 2 yellow tabs 'Compose' and 'Edit HTML'. Oddly enough you can ignore the 'Edit HTML' tab.
      4. Enter the Ascii tags from earlier either side of any text you want straight into the normal compose area
      5. Preview, then Save it.
      6. It probably looks terrible. Code tags might remain around the text but don't worry this is just a preview.
      7. Go and have a cup of coffee, or Tea (if you're a Brit like me)
      8. In about 20-30 mins the changes should go through and the formatting will have worked on the Book's actual page. No more tags etc
      Bear in mind this is just what worked for me but I don't see why it wouldn't work for anyone else!


      If you found this helpful feel free to check out the book I'm testing it on and give me a "Like"
      HEART OF THE SELKIE - (Paranormal Romance) Short Story: Sam Asher: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
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  • Profile picture of the author +newportone
    This is one of the best WF posts I have ever seen.
    Very smart & professional.
    Thanks very much!
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  • Profile picture of the author kennytan
    Thanks for the heads up.

    Is good to know this trick. I'll try it out for sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author MMonroe6
    This thread is filled with GREAT information. Thanks for sharing it!
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  • Profile picture of the author ballbag
    I don't think images are working in descriptions any more
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  • Profile picture of the author TonyG23
    Oh very nice Thanks for the share I will have to try it.
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    • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
      But keep in mind that Amazon wants uniformity in their listings. They want things done a certain way. There are lots of books using this code but it is not how they have the site set up.

      I would not be surprised if down the road, they eventually froze the editing process for people using this type of code and made them contact them directly. One of my author friends put a book review in her description (which is not allowed) and now has to contact them for any changes.

      Just something to think about.
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      • Profile picture of the author Syzygy999
        The only thing I can't make work like I want is the bulleted lists. Mine end up with line spaces between each point. I would prefer there not be spaces. I see other people using bullet lists, that do not have the spaces.

        I used the ul and li tags.

        See my book descriptionbook description .
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        • Profile picture of the author motley
          Originally Posted by Syzygy999 View Post

          The only thing I can't make work like I want is the bulleted lists. Mine end up with line spaces between each point. I would prefer there not be spaces. I see other people using bullet lists, that do not have the spaces.

          I used the ul and li tags.

          See my book description.
          How did you get the orange heading? I know that <H2> tag should be used. It worked well a few month back. I even created a table of HTML code samples with a step by step user manual for those authors who aren't familiar with any type of coding. As I said it worked great for me, but doesn't work anymore. In my last attempt to formatting a product description, Amazon just cut down all <H1>, <H2> and <center> tags.

          May I ask you when did you publish the book you're pointing to? I noticed that product descriptions formatted last autumn still keep HTML based formatting, but I wasn't able to format this way last week.
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by motley View Post

            How did you get the orange heading? I know that <H2> tag should be used. It worked well a few month back. I even created a table of HTML code samples with a step by step user manual for those authors who aren't familiar with any type of coding. As I said it worked great for me, but doesn't work anymore. In my last attempt to formatting a product description, Amazon just cut down all <H1>, <H2> and <center> tags.

            May I ask you when did you publish the book you're pointing to? I noticed that product descriptions formatted last autumn still keep HTML based formatting, but I wasn't able to format this way last week.
            Motley, if you look closer, you'll see that all of the <H2> tags are that orange color. It appears to be the default styling for that tag.

            It doesn't surpise me that Amazon may have started filtering those tags in an effort to enforce the consistency of their user interface.
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            • Profile picture of the author motley
              Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

              Motley, if you look closer, you'll see that all of the <H2> tags are that orange color. It appears to be the default styling for that tag.

              It doesn't surpise me that Amazon may have started filtering those tags in an effort to enforce the consistency of their user interface.
              This is exactly what I think. Previously, they filtered the "http://" from URLs used to embed images. I contacted their support and the answer was:
              A limited number of publishers work with our merchandising teams to add video trailers, product images, and enhanced content to book Detail pages, but we are currently not able to offer this feature to all authors.

              To keep the Editorial Review Section simple, which includes the Product Description, we allow only limited HTML formatting within Author Central. While the HTML coding you've entered is correct, the image is not displaying due to the limited formatting supported through Author Central. This is by design.
              The key is "To keep the Editorial Review Section simple".


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          • Profile picture of the author Syzygy999
            Originally Posted by motley View Post

            How did you get the orange heading? I know that <H2> tag should be used. It worked well a few month back. I even created a table of HTML code samples with a step by step user manual for those authors who aren't familiar with any type of coding. As I said it worked great for me, but doesn't work anymore. In my last attempt to formatting a product description, Amazon just cut down all <H1>, <H2> and <center> tags.

            May I ask you when did you publish the book you're pointing to? I noticed that product descriptions formatted last autumn still keep HTML based formatting, but I wasn't able to format this way last week.
            I just used the H2 tag as others have instructed, and it worked for me. I just published the book about a week ago, and have been messing with the formatting of the description ever since. I can't seem to get it just like I want it. But yeah, I wanted the orange color for the heading, and got it with the H2.
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            • Profile picture of the author motley
              Originally Posted by Syzygy999 View Post

              I just used the H2 tag as others have instructed, and it worked for me. I just published the book about a week ago, and have been messing with the formatting of the description ever since. I can't seem to get it just like I want it. But yeah, I wanted the orange color for the heading, and got it with the H2.
              Thanks for replying,

              may I ask you one more question? Do you convert HTML to ASCII code or do you use raw HTML when formatting your book descriptions?
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              • Profile picture of the author dmurphy
                Personally, I convert to ASCII. I don't think the raw HTML works.
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  • Profile picture of the author thedanbrown
    Thanks a lot! I have everything except for pictures in my book descriptions, didn't even know you could do that!! Pictures tell a thousand words right?

    Cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author johnmags
    Thanks for the share. Very helpful indeed
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  • Profile picture of the author phmoisan
    Awesome post and thread, thanks April and the others who shared additional information, I shared the thread on Twitter, on my Fan Page and on Google +
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  • Profile picture of the author Mamooti Exchange
    Thanks for sharing, really appreciated.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingva
    Hi,

    I just added another book to my Amazon account and KDP would not let any of this formatting go through nor would it allow me to add a picture. Darn.

    Bonnie
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    • Profile picture of the author motley
      Originally Posted by marketingva View Post

      Hi,

      I just added another book to my Amazon account and KDP would not let any of this formatting go through nor would it allow me to add a picture. Darn.

      Bonnie
      I have just formatted my recent book description. All worked well except adding a picture. KDP even refused saving changes until I removed an unsupported <IMG> tag. NOTE: I made changes via the bookshelf editing feature. May be it worth trying formatting the book description via the Author page.

      BTW, did anyone try to submit a book sample (larger than Amazon Look Inside feature shows) to a document sharing site and than linking to it from a book description page? Or this is against a KDP Select TOS?
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  • Profile picture of the author JSL Publishing
    Nice write up and very helpful. Thanks, I'll be looking for your WSO

    Originally Posted by aprilm View Post

    I wanted to share this little trick I learned with you that really helped boost my book sales.

    When I first started publishing on Kindle, I wracked my brains out trying to figure out how people were optimizing their book descriptions with formatting like centering, using Amazon's orange color and style font, inserting pictures, etc.

    Most descriptions on Amazon look like this. (No affiliation)
    Looks like a bunch of text slapped on a page. :p
    I wanted my book descriptions to look like this. (Also no affiliation)
    Click on the "show more" link on the above description to see how the author has used images.

    I searched Google, the Kindle publisher community, and Amazon's help center to no avail. The best answers I got were to use the very limited HTML you can use when editing your book's description through Author Central.

    I was SO frustrated!

    The truth is, Amazon doesn't make it easy to figure this out! But, it CAN be done. And I want to share this inside information with you!

    If you don't know anything about HTML, that's ok! All you need to know is how to copy and paste, and insert your own text where necessary.

    Below you will find the code that you can insert into your book's description to achieve this:

    Code:
    Amazon HTML Coding Guide
    
    BOLD:
    
    &lt;b&gt;YOUR TEXT&lt;/b&gt;
    
    ITALICS:
    
    &lt;i&gt;YOUR TEXT&lt;/i&gt;
    
    CENTERED:
    
    &lt;center&gt;YOUR TEXT&lt;/center&gt;
    
    CENTERED AND BOLD:
    
    &lt;center&gt;&lt;b&gt;TEXT&lt;/center&gt;&lt;/b&gt;
    
    CENTERED AND ITALIC:
    
    &lt;center&gt;&lt;i&gt;TEXT&lt;/center&gt;&lt:/i&gt;
    
    UNDERLINED:
    
    &lt;u&gt;YOUR TEXT&lt;/u&gt;
    
    BULLETED LIST:
    
    &lt;ul&gt;
    
    &lt;li&gt;TEXT&lt;/li&gt;
    
    &lt;li&gt;TEXT&lt;/li&gt;
    
    &lt;li&gt;TEXT&lt;/li&gt;
    
    &lt;/ul&gt;
    
    NUMBERED LIST:
    
    &lt;ol&gt;
    
    &lt;li&gt;TEXT&lt;/li&gt;
    
    &lt;li&gt;TEXT&lt;/li&gt;
    
    &lt;li&gt;TEXT&lt;/li&gt;
    
    &lt;/ol&gt;
    
    H1 Headline (The largest font Amazon allows):
    
    &lt;h1&gt;TEXT&lt;/h1&gt;
    
    H2 HEADING (Amazon Orange):
    
    &lt;h2&gt;TEXT&lt;/h2&gt;
    
    HEADLINE AND CENTERED:
    
    &lt;center&gt;&lt;h2&gt;TEXT&lt;/h2&gt;&lt;/center&gt;
    
    PICTURES ALIGNED LEFT WITH WORDS WRAPPED RIGHT:
    
    &lt;img src="URL OF PIC" align="left"/&gt;
    I know I know, if you know anything about HTML, this code looks completely crazy. But it works!

    You simply replace the "<" and ">" tags of normal HTML with "&lt;" and "&gt:" respectively. (FYI: "lt" means less than and "gt" means greater than)

    I must warn you, however, try to test this out on a book that is not getting many sales first, because even the smallest mistake with this code will leave your description looking messy.

    Or if you have a book with a rather lengthy description, stick some of the code at the very bottom to test it out. Not everyone will read your description in full, so if you do happen to make a mistake with the code, not every browser will notice it.

    You'd be surprised at how much this affects conversions in a positive way.
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  • Profile picture of the author GetMoreTraffic
    An even easier way to do this is to use this tool that I found the other day:

    Amazon HTML Kindle Book Description Code Generator

    Much easier than messing about with the HTML...recommended!
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  • Profile picture of the author Stefan Pylarinos
    Pictures and centering tag no longer work. You have to now use standard HTML, such as <b> and <h2> in descriptions.

    Most descriptions SUCK on Kindle. I love it, as I really optimize my descriptions really well (the full 4000 characters), so I'm able to stand out from the other crappy short 1 paragraph descriptions and SELL a lot better. Also, most people don't know how to optimize their descriptions for SEO and Google. You can add a lot of LSI keywords in there. More words you use, more exposure and rankings you get for a variety of keywords.
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  • Profile picture of the author kennyk3
    The <h2> tag isn't working for me in Author Central.

    Stefan Pylarinos, I agree... the fact that most people don't know how to optimize their description gives us an advantage!
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    • Profile picture of the author Stefan Pylarinos
      Originally Posted by kennyk3 View Post

      The <h2> tag isn't working for me in Author Central.

      Stefan Pylarinos, I agree... the fact that most people don't know how to optimize their description gives us an advantage!
      I never edit my descriptions in author central, only in KDP.
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    • Profile picture of the author motley
      Originally Posted by kennyk3 View Post

      The <h2> tag isn't working for me in Author Central.
      But it works in Bookshelf if you convert it into ASCII code. I just did it.
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      • Profile picture of the author kennyk3
        Originally Posted by motley View Post

        But it works in Bookshelf if you convert it into ASCII code. I just did it.
        It seems like you can't use Bookshelf anymore once you edit your description in Author Central (this is my first Kindle book, so I'm not real sure). I've tried the above code and regular HTML in both and don't see any changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lauryn
    I am so grateful for this post - UOENO
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  • Profile picture of the author shnize
    I really appreciate the info you are providing here I am going to use that once I have a couple other books to put those in the description if that is allowed.

    I do have a straight up question for you if you don't mind answering. How many sales do you average on a good book on a monthly basis? I know that doesn't mean I am going to do the same but just curious.

    thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author sweetbribes
      Unsure as to whom your question is directed. Personally, I received this question or ones similar to it so often that I recently wrote a post about it on my blog rather than address the real concerns behind it over and over.

      Especially when it comes to fiction books (my preferred genre and the one that brings home the bacon), this is really not a question that is going to have the same answer for any two authors.

      Even with one author, *consistent* income is non-existent. One of my books may bring an income of 200 USD one month and 600 USD the next. There are *so* many variables involved:

      - Did you research your niche/sub-niche such that your book(s) are virtually guaranteed to rank well on the Kindle platform?
      - Are you producing quality content?
      - Are your books proofread/edited/formatted well (professionally)?
      - Do you author/publish regularly?
      - Have you developed a fan base?
      - Do your books have reviews? Are they mostly positive reviews?
      - Does Amazon promote your book(s) heavily?
      - Do you promote your books outside of Amazon, maybe outsource your book marketing?
      - Was there a full moon the day that your book appeared on the Kindle platform?

      ...and on and on and on...

      Personally, I think that the main reason my first fiction book did so well was due to pure luck and circumstance.

      Yes, I spent quite a bit of time and effort researching the sub-niche/target audience that I wrote for, but Amazon promoted my book so heavily that I felt absolutely no need to do any outside promotion.

      I authored and published my first book on the Kindle platform more than 18 months ago, and Kindle fiction-writing products and services were not nearly as plentiful, not to mention that most of the authors in my sub-niche didn't (and still don't to a great degree) seem to bother to edit their books well so mine stood out - which was one of my goals, but still...

      I look back and wonder how much more success I would have had if I had also marketed my books outside of Kindle. I have since learned my lesson and am now learning how to market my books outside of Kindle.

      I am sure that you can see how hard this question is and how the answers to it will vary greatly. Within six months, I was able to quite my 9-to-5 job at which I made about 4k USD per month. I make more and more each month, partly because I continue to author and publish new books, but honestly I am not that prolific a writer.

      I feel lucky if I am able to produce a new book every two to three months, but I realize (with much gratitude and disbelief sometimes) that the only reason I am able to take my time and work at my own pace is because I was able to develop an anticipatory fan base early on in my "career".

      And the only reason I was able to develop such a fan base was largely due to Amazon's heavy promotion of my first and subsequent books and to a smaller part, I think, due to the entertaining nature of my writing.

      Again, not every fiction or non-fiction writer is going to experience this. Everyone forges their own path.

      Personally, I suffer greatly from writer's block, and none of the Kindle products that I have bought here on the Warrior Forum or outside of it have helped with this particular aspect of my writing process. I have accepted it. It always goes away eventually, and my creative juices start flowing again.

      Do your research, ask some people who are doing what you want to do questions (like this) before you go whole hog on using Kindle to make your fortune or even to just bring some extra income.

      It does take time, effort, and self-discipline (as does almost any business model worth its weight). If writing was easily profitable, many more people would be doing it successfully.

      I wish you all the good luck (and discipline) in the world.

      Sadie

      Originally Posted by shnize View Post

      I really appreciate the info you are providing here I am going to use that once I have a couple other books to put those in the description if that is allowed.

      I do have a straight up question for you if you don't mind answering. How many sales do you average on a good book on a monthly basis? I know that doesn't mean I am going to do the same but just curious.

      thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author feliciayapsl
    Thanks for the share, April
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  • Profile picture of the author HumbleGuy
    That's a really neat and clean trick. Thanks April. Though, I don't use amazon but I love expanding my horizons and perspectives.You never know when it helps you out. Thanks friend.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jgannuny
    Great post about Kindle Description.
    Thanks for sharing and thanks to every body else who post here.
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    • Profile picture of the author dml8131
      Good information. Thanks for the info!
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      • Profile picture of the author amakar
        I thought I'd chime in since my Better Book Tool was mentioned above.

        In KDP, there have been changes to the allowed Amazon HTML characters that you can enter. Images are no longer supported and you need to stick the bare bones HTML.

        However, if you import your book into Author Central, then you can add images, centered text and all the advanced HTML that you used before in KDP.

        My preference is to import into Author Central because I can then do the image and impression tracking and more advanced formatting. That being said, don't over do it.

        The point of the improved description is to drive a better call to action. A H2 tag here or an image inserted properly will help convey the benefits better.

        Andy
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        • Profile picture of the author bhuff85
          Originally Posted by amakar View Post

          I thought I'd chime in since my Better Book Tool was mentioned above.

          In KDP, there have been changes to the allowed Amazon HTML characters that you can enter. Images are no longer supported and you need to stick the bare bones HTML.

          However, if you import your book into Author Central, then you can add images, centered text and all the advanced HTML that you used before in KDP.

          My preference is to import into Author Central because I can then do the image and impression tracking and more advanced formatting. That being said, don't over do it.

          The point of the improved description is to drive a better call to action. A H2 tag here or an image inserted properly will help convey the benefits better.

          Andy
          Thanks for clarifying this, but I have one question:

          I imported my book into Author Central and tried applying this, but when I went to "preview" the edits, all of the code I applied didn't pass through.

          Will it not show on the preview, but actually show up on the books page? I would think that if it worked, it would show in the preview?
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  • Profile picture of the author salnetparadise
    Great share. One of the most informative post I've seen here that I couldn't find elsewhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author GobBluthJD
    Amazon has changed their policies, so most of these are no longer applicable. You can use bold and italics, but you can no longer use the amazon orange font, or the centered, etc. I guess they thought things were getting too spammy looking (and I agree).
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  • Profile picture of the author mcerny
    Looks like this doesn't work anymore.

    I just tried to update my description and the HTML entities were converted to actual HTML chars before saving. Then I got an error saying that the desc. contains invalid characters.

    It worked fine the first time. Anyone else having problems with this?
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    • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
      Originally Posted by mcerny View Post

      Looks like this doesn't work anymore.

      I just tried to update my description and the HTML entities were converted to actual HTML chars before saving. Then I got an error saying that the desc. contains invalid characters.

      It worked fine the first time. Anyone else having problems with this?

      Actually it still work fine. I just used it, but here is what happens:

      When you drop in the ASCII version (&lt; and &gt; ) and save it, Amazon turns it back into HTML. At that point you can preview your book, and before you go to the second page, re-paste the ASCII code.

      Everything works as before - even the orange H2 letters.


      Thanks for clarifying this, but I have one question:

      I imported my book into Author Central and tried applying this, but when I went to "preview" the edits, all of the code I applied didn't pass through.

      Will it not show on the preview, but actually show up on the books page? I would think that if it worked, it would show in the preview?
      Don't use Author Central to create your description if you need or want a long description. For some crazy reason Author Central limits your decscription length to 2,400 characters, while adding a description at the place where you drop in your book allows 4,000 characters.

      :-Don
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  • Profile picture of the author mcerny
    It still doesn't work for me. I dropped the ASCII version, clicked preview, went back to book details. The text was already in HTML. Dropped the ASCII version back again, clicked save & continue, but still got the error. :-/
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    No Will No Skill - Be Better Than Yesterday
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  • Profile picture of the author mcerny
    Had to go back to sh**ty plain text. Still don't understand why it worked the first time and doesn't work now.
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  • Profile picture of the author vieweg
    Banned
    Wow, this is so useful, thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author hbhanot
    That seems pretty nice but the code looks horrible.
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  • Profile picture of the author SmartestSmarty
    [DELETED]
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