There’s no better marketing tool for your book than your book itself. The quality of your manuscript speaks volumes, communicating to readers that you’re a legitimate author with serious writing chops. To ensure your book sends the best message, don’t hit the publish button before you double check that it’s ready for market.
Here’s a 10-point checklist to get you started:
Have you used a high-quality image for the front cover? Is it eye-catching? Is the font readable? Have you ensured it fits in with your branding? Can readers easily identify the genre? Does it set the right mood and tone? Have you included series information if applicable? Does the cover meet distribution channel requirements in terms of size? If you’re already a bestselling author, have you incorporated that into the copy on your cover? Have you included a review snippet?
Review your book’s front and back matter.
Make sure your book is optimized for shareability and connectivity. A backlist of books, bonus content, teaser chapters, excerpts, recommendations, appropriate calls-to-action for your newsletter, and links to your social media profiles, website, and contact page all form part of your front and back matter. A great tip for improving your book’s visibility is to recommend other big name authors your readers might enjoy. If a reader buys one of their books as well as yours, you have a better chance of appearing in Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” list.
Assess your book’s description.
Is your book’s description clear, descriptive, compelling, and persuasive? Have you strategically included keywords? Treat this area of your product page like a sales page without being overly salesy.
Make sure your book is available in the formats your target audience prefers.
Some distributors require certain file formats, but you also want to be sure you’re offering your book in formats your audience likes to receive. Consider both ebook (i.e.PDF, Mobi, ePub, etc.) and physical formats (i.e. paperback versions, hardcover, etc.).
Make sure your book is translated for international markets where appropriate.
If you’re publishing internationally, would it benefit you to translate your book into various languages?
Make sure your book is listed under pertinent categories
Be as specific as possible. Ranking #1 in a broad category is incredibly difficult to achieve as there’s far more competition for the top spot.
Ensure your book’s product pages incorporate relevant short and long-tail keywords naturally.
Have you used a descriptive title with a relevant keyword? If it’s a book in a series, have you included the series name and book number? Have you scattered other search terms throughout the page to try to improve search rankings?
Make sure your book has an ISBN if necessary.
If you’re just selling an ebook, then you’re good to go in most cases. If you’re putting your book in stores, donating copies to libraries, and offering it as a print-on-demand option, then your book will need a unique ISBN for each edition. Purchasing an ISBN is also a good idea if you want to be identified as the publisher.
Be sure to add other relevant information.
Are there contributors or other publishers involved? Is there anything specific you need to note on your product page or in your actual manuscript?
Enroll your book in Amazon’s Look Inside program if you haven’t already.
This can affect search matches, as well as entice readers to give your book a try.
The bottom line is that you should treat your book as if it deserves to be on bestseller lists. If both your book cover and product page copy look sloppy, buyers will move on to your competitors. Run through this checklist at least 1-2 weeks before your book goes live to ensure you have time to fix any issues.
What do you think is a clear indication that an author hasn’t reviewed his or her book for publication readiness? Think we left something off this 10-point checklist? Let us know by leaving a comment below.