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Edit to the below: Amazon recently changed its allowed HTML by excluding H2 tags. While general principles of writing blurbs apply, the HTML recipe no longer works as shown because H2 won’t appear there.
How do you insert HTML in an Amazon product description?
There are two ways to directly edit your product description: through Kindle Direct Publishing or through Amazon Author Central. I find greater flexibility with HTML tags via KDP, so I explain the process here. But what if you don’t code? I don’t code. But I’ve learned some basic tags and I use these to enhance the appearance and–most importantly, readability–of my product descriptions. This is what my most successful product description looks like:
It’s super-simple, but a little different and a little better than other product descriptions. I won’t pick on specific books, but I’ve seen some uglies from major publishers, such as:
What are common product description mistakes?
- Product descriptions with monster paragraphs, sometimes 10+ lines long. Amazon’s super-wide column layout is already hard to read (our eyes naturally track thinner columns of 2.5-4 inches). Hard to read = reading comprehension tanks = buyers move on.
- Some book descriptions are set only in plain text, which misses the opportunity to call out important info.
- Some book descriptions are far, far, far too long, and force the reader to click “show more” (as I made the mistake of doing here).
- Some book descriptions contain info that should go elsewhere, such as reviews and author details. To pick on myself again, I at first put my review information in the wrong place. I put it in the book description when it should be entered via Amazon Author Central. Oops.
So, how do you make some text show up large and orange, and other text show up bold? Here’s an easy plug-and-play method:
What you’ll need:
- A headline (a short sentence, hook concept, or quote). If you’re stumped, give me the one-liner answer to “what’s the book about?” This generally works better than a conceptual headline such as “A sizzling story of betrayal.”
- You might also want a subhead (optional).
- Your book blurb’s body text–a sizzling, intriguing description that hooks the reader. This is not a synopsis.
- Your kicker/disclaimer text–you might want to mention if your book includes sex or adult language, if it contains material that might be disturbing to some readers, if it is intended for mature audiences, and if it is a standalone, novella, or cliffhanger. Indecision is death to impulse buys, so when readers hesitate, they pass. Your disclaimer actually makes it easier for them to one-click.
- All of the above should total about 140 words/ 650 characters. Keep reading to learn why.
Here’s my HTML recipe for product pages:
- <h2>Header sentence. </h2>
- <b>Optional subhead. </b><br><br>
- First body copy graph. <br><br>
- Second body copy graph. <br><br>
- <b>TITLE </b><i>is insert disclaimer.</i></b>
Here’s what that looks like:
When you’ve plugged in all of the above, delete the line breaks so it all runs together. Do not delete the spaces after the periods. Safety warnings:
- Ensure there is a space after each period. Sometimes authors forget (because they see HTML tags separating sentences) and then when links are populated on sites like Facebook, the sentences run together and it looks like a typo.
- H1 tags are possible, but they look ridiculous. Likewise making everything H2 text.
- Use the TryitEditor to test! If you freestyle beyond this recipe, you’ll frequently forget to close a tag (such as </b>) which will result in all the text after it appearing in bold. You won’t be able to fix that until Amazon re-approves your product page, which can take 12-48 hours in my experience.
- Use bold face and italics sparingly, for emphasis.
- Keep text to a minimum to avoid forcing prospective readers to click “show more” for the full blurb.
Let’s build some HTML.
Here’s what my Tattoo Thief text looks like in a fabulous tool called TryitEditor:
Let’s say I want to italicize my disclaimer text (as I’ve already done for you in the HTML recipe). Below, I added the italics tag <i> just before the title, and another close-code italics tag </i> to stop the italics at the end of the sentence. See the result:
Once you’re happy with your result, copy-paste the code into a reference document for yourself (this works on Goodreads too), and into the “description” section of your KDP publishing interface:
And presto! Your product page is looking better already. Please leave a comment if this article was helpful, and especially if you have suggestions to improve it!