Tips on Annotation for the Self-Publishing Author

Last week we discussed the book marketing value of professional cover scribing. Annotation provides an avenue to use that externally to enhance that marketing online.

ANNOTATION is used by Ingram during the distribution process. When the book is listed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website, it’s the annotation that fills the PRODUCT DESCRIPTION/OVERVIEW section.   The ANNOTATION is also restricted in length, although very often can be substantially longer than the Back Cover Copy.  Ideally, the ANNOTATION should be as long and as detailed as possible, perhaps requiring multiple headings to separate elements of the ANNOTATION.  The total character count, including spaces, should be as close to 4000 as possible without exceeding it.   It’s okay to include the author biography again in the ANNOTATION, provided a separate heading (Like “About the Author”) separates the content. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the capability of understanding basic HTML formatting tags, so judicious use of several tags can help an ANNOTATION really stand out.  Two specific tags that should be used are the <b>BOLD</b> tags and the <em>italics</em> tags, both of which can help draw a reader’s attention to specific words and phrases within the ANNOTATION. Bullet point and numbered lists are good here, too.

Whew. Have fun. Keep writing.

– Karl Schroeder