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I have two useful (and free) author tools to share with you today, courtesy of authors John Logsdon and MM Jaye respectively.

Amazon blurb preview

Author tools: Amazon blurb preview | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Author Central’s formatting toolbar

I’ve often shared on this blog my support of Amazon. Despite its occasional missteps, the company has leveled the playing field for Indie authors and is busy changing the publishing industry on a daily basis. It is consistently client-centric in its approach and has invested heavily in making the shopping experience as pleasant and flawless as possible.

Which is why I can’t fathom why it’s so hard for it to build a proper, user-friendly blurb builder.

In effect, there are two separate ways of posting your blurb: the first is to do it through your book details on KDP. This has the benefit of allowing you to use some basic html tags; namely: <b><br><em><font><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><hr><i><li><ol><p><pre><s><strike><strong><sub><sup><u> and <ul>. However, it lacks any sort of preview.

Then, there is Author Central. Posting a blurb through this is a breeze, especially since you can edit both print and Kindle editions with a single click. Also, it doesn’t require you to re-publish your entire book. However, and despite the presence of a formatting toolbar and previewer, it only allows you to add 3 kinds of formatting: bold, italics and lists. As <h2> is the tag that formats a text into the nice orange title font, this renders it useless for me.

John Logsdon alerted me to the Amazon blurb preview, which allows authors to format their blurb using the tags acceptable on KDP. Basically, you type the text, format it using the available tags and copy/paste it into KDP. If the idea of using tags freaks you out, you could format your text in a WordPress post, go to Text (instead of Visual) and copy the code you find there. Paste it into the Amazon blurb previewer and presto-you’re done.

Author tools: Amazon blurb preview | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Yasiv

When you check out a book on Amazon, you will see under the book details several sections, among which Also Bought and Customers who viewed this item also viewed…

I have often wondered if there might be a tool that would allow me to see which books Amazon connects to mine. Author MMJaye alerted me to a tool that does just that: Yasiv. If you don’t know it, it’s pretty cool. You just paste your book’s ASIN and it visually shows you all the Amazon books it’s connected with. Specifically, it shows which books it points at (meaning which books people navigated to and bought after visiting your book’s page) and which books point to your books.

For obvious reasons, the older the publication (and the more promos you’ve run on it), the more the books which will point back and forth. Predictably enough, the busiest map results were for my first book to be published, Pearseus: Rise of the Prince, although it turns out that only 3 books point to it.

You can use this tool to target books on Amazon Marketing Services (see tutorial): Yasiv orders linked books by popularity, so you should make sure to include the top ones in the list of books that you target.

If you have any other favorite tools of yours that you’d like me to feature, just let me know and I’ll post about them!

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