19 common author platform mistakes that are killing your book sales

I talk a LOT about best practices for author websites and your Amazon page, but people keep ignoring me.

I know this because I review author platforms and websites almost daily, to help authors find places they can improve conversion.

Conversion is IMPORTANT.

Amazon and Google are keeping track of how long people stay on your page, and whether or not they take action.

Sending traffic to your Amazon page with paid ads can actually hurt your sales rank if that traffic isn’t buying the book.

Less traffic with more conversion is better than more traffic and less sales.

SO – here’s a big long list of common problems I routinely have to tell authors to fix.

Author websites

  1. Popup comes up too early – it should be set to ‘exit intent’
  2. Popup or optin form says “subscribe for updates” – you need a specific offer tailored to your ideal audience, and probably an image of what they actually get
  3. Big ugly banner on top crowded with author name, clever quote AND tagline – and no keywords. You need one clear tagline that says what you write and for whom clearly.
  4. Then you need a short introduction on the homepage, welcome, this is what I write and for whom, here are my best books/best offer.
  5. Have a specific offer above the fold on your homepage. Steer the experience. If you write multiple genres, show them the FIRST book of each series, offer them the first 5 chapters and/or buy now on Amazon links.
  6. Don’t just dump all your book covers and make readers click on them all to find out what they’re about (they won’t). You need to sell your book before the click – even if it’s a free offer – with a short teaser or tagline and a couple of your best reviews + your amazing book cover. They won’t click unless they have enough information to decide whether they might want to read it.
  7. Keep your menu simple and clean: home, about, books, contact
  8. Your about page will be the 2nd most visited page – it’s important. You need a long author bio, why you write, who you write for, what inspires you, your writing process – this is your chance to build rapport with your audience by being personable.
  9. You also need a short author bio/photo on your homepage or sidebar, linking to your about page
  10. Your “books” page shouldn’t just dump all your books. Structure the experience. Help them decide what they should read first. Get them on your LIST with an offer – you can sell your books later.
  11. Your blog needs to be full of keyword-rich topics that match what your audience is searching for. Use a keyword-title generator to come up with dozens of potential blog posts. Write 5 of them. Write at least one new post every month, even if it’s just an update on what you’re working on (but still, use keywords – “almost done with my new scifi fantasy trilogy!” not “I’m still writing!”)
  12. The uglier your website, the worse conversion and traffic will be. You want things to load quickly, and you don’t want lots of distractions or graphics or options. Your book covers should be the main graphics, and a nice image for your optin offer.

 

Amazon page

  1. Add keywords into your author bio – what you write, for whom. Which authors inspire you. Your favorite genres.
  2. Add keywords into your book description. Make it super clear what kind of book it is and what kind of reader will like it.
  3. Add a stronger hook, in bold, on top.
  4. Add a few shortened reviews that suggest quality and genre “this is a thrilling murder mystery that kept me up all night!” not “great book!”
  5. If you have less than 20 reviews, get more. This is your problem.
  6. If you have reviews and a great description with lots of keywords already, and you still can’t sell books, it’s your cover. You need a well-designed cover that makes your genre immediately obvious while attracting the right readers.
  7. If your Amazon page is perfect, you can drive traffic with AMS or Facebook ads and see reasonable (profitable) conversions. If you can’t advertise profitably, your Amazon page doesn’t convert well enough yet – or you’re targeting the wrong audience.

 

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About Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book editor turned book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors write and publish bestselling books. FREE GUIDE: Sell your work without selling out.